Forensic Psychiatry: Influences of Evil

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An international panel of experts from diverse specialties examine the idea of evil in a medical context, specifically a mental health setting, to consider how the concept can be usefully interpreted, and to elucidate its relationship to forensic psychiatry. The authors challenge the belief that the concept of evil plays no role in scientific psychiatry and is not helpful to our understanding of aberrant human thinking and behavior. Among the viewpoints up for debate are a consideration of organizations as evil structures, the medicalization of evil, destruction as a constructive choice, violence as a secular evil, talking about evil when it is not supposed to exist, and the influence of evil on forensic clinical practice. Among the highlights are a psychological exploration of the notion of evil and a variety of interesting research methods used to explore the nature of evil.