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Theory & Event ; 25(4):958-963, 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-2318610


Each chapter takes as its object of analysis either a pair (for example, Bayle and Malebranche, Leibniz and King, Voltaire and the Deists) or an individual (Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Schopenhauer) who participated in the tradition of theodicean thinking or its critique. Taking the present conditions of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter Uprisings in the spring and summer of 2020, and the conceptual framings of tracking-capitalism, ecological collapse, and civil war as his subject matter, he paints a pessimistic picture of the futureless futures and impersonal dominations of the contemporary globalized world. [...]to what extent was it even conceived as a real problem?" (29) Whereas optimists are only interested in the problem of evil in its relationship with good (or God), van der Lugt's value-oriented pessimists reject the necessity of alignment, instead taking reality as it is, discontent, dread, and all. Through King and Liebniz the reader is provided a foundation for Enlightenment optimism that adjusts the Augustinian thesis of responsibility. While King's contribution is given its due, van der Lugt defines optimism by Leibniz's foundation of modern theodicy in his assertion that "we live in 'the best of all possible worlds'" (69): that there is, at the very least, a justification of evil in the world in relation to the good—either through theodicy in that the evil serves the good, or through alignment in that the good outweighs the evil. [...]with the question of whether life is worth living, van der Lugt explains that "the deeper point [schopenhauer] is trying to make […] is that even if the goods of life vastly outweigh the evils, even so, this does nothing to justify existence" (348).