Review of "Malice"

Garnet C. Butchart, University of South Florida


If the objective world appears not as it is, but as it is perceived—the mantra of cultural relativism—then what is the absolute measure of that which can possibly be seen? Are the social and behavioral sciences, in their pursuit of veriWable data, legitimated solely by the empirical presence of visible phenomena? Or is this legitimacy, and the license it grants to the phenomenologically oriented human sciences, itself not determined by phenomena that show themselves as much as they give themselves to the visual Weld? In other words, what are the limits of a knowledge produced through visual observation? Pushing the limits of social-scientiWc research, French cultural anthropologist, François Flahault provides a look into that which, simply put, is impossible to see. Included in Verso’s Phronesis series with a preface by Chantal Mouffe, Flahault draws from literature, religious mythology, psychoanalytic theory, existential phenomenology, as well as personal memory to provide a rigorously detailed “philosophical anthropology” of that which has no objectivity, no visibility, and as such remains hidden at the universal core of humanity: malice, the intention to do evil.