The Least Of All Possible Evils,
from Arendt to Gaza
By Eyal Weizman
Groundbreaking exploration of the philosophy underpinning Western humanitarian and military intervention.
The principle of the ‘lesser evil’, which asserts that it is acceptable to pursue an undesirable course of action in order to prevent a greater injustice, exercises a powerful influence on Western ethical philosophy and modern politics, most recently in the invasion of Libya. InThe Least of All Possible Evils, Eyal Weizman examines the dark side of this pragmatism, arguing that too often the end becomes a mechanism for perpetuating the means.
Weizman is the author of the critically acclaimed Hollow Land, which explored the political space created by Israel's colonial occupation. Following on from this, Weizman pursues the problem of the lesser evil – the moderation and minimization of violence as a mechanism of government and control. The Least of All Possible Evils investigates its political consequences and traces its intellectual genealogy from classical ethics and Christian theology, through the political theory of Hannah Arendt to contemporary debates on humanitarianism.
“Weizman’s rigorous account makes it possible momentarily to conceive of... built environment as a tool of liberation.” Frieze
“Eyal Weizman’s work has become an indispensable source of both insight and guidance in these difficult times. He understands the evolving dynamics of war and sovereignty better than anyone.” Paul Gilroy, Professor of Social History, London School of Economics
“Originality, ingenuity, and brilliance do not even begin to do justice to this amazing study, this architectural forensics of battle and human rights as pieced together from the study of the ruin and the terrifying logic of “the lesser evil”. How astonishing to see our new world this new way.” Michael Taussig, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University
“the lesser evil”. How astonishing to see our new world this new way.” Michael Taussig, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University