Adi Ophir

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Adi Ophir ((Hebrew: עדי אופיר‎; born 22 September 1951) is an Israeli philosopher.

Professor Ophir teaches philosophy at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University. He is also a fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute where he directs an interdisciplinary research project on "Humanitarian Action in Catastrophes: The Shaping of Contemporary Political Imagination and Moral Sensibilities."

Ophir's recent book The Order of Evils offers a moral theory that emphasizes the socially structured existential and political nature of evil.[1] He argues that evils, like pain, suffering, loss, and humiliation, are "superfluous evils" that can often be prevented but are not.[1]

Analyzing seminal works by modern and postmodern philosophers such as Rousseau, Kant, Marx, Sartre, Arendt, Foucault, and Derrida, Ophir submits that to be moral is to care for others, and to be committed to preventing their suffering and distress.[1]

Ophir's focus on understanding particular evils (rather than some transcendentalized Evil) keeps his thought determinedly secular. While a deeply theoretical work, The Order of Evils is informed by Ophir's preoccupation with two major events in recent Jewish history: the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel.[1] He does not compare these two events but instead introduces a typology of disasters that locates them within the wide spectrum of calamities generated by humans to exhibit both the specificities and general patterns that subsequently emerge.[1]


  • Plato's Invisible Cities: Discourse and Power in the "Republic" (1990). Routledge. ISBN 0-415-03596-1
  • "The Identity of the Victims and the Victims of Identity: A Critique of Zionist Ideology for a Post-Zionist Age." (2000) In Laurence Jay Silberstein (ed.), Mapping Jewish Identities (pp. 174–200). NYU Press. ISBN 0-8147-9769-5.
  • 'Genocide lies behind Expulsion: a Response to Benny Morris'. Counter-Punch, 16 January 2004.
  • The Order of Evils: Toward an Ontology of Morals (2005). MIT Press. Translated by Rela Mezali and Havi Carel. ISBN 1-890951-51-X
  • (ed. with Michal Givoni and Sari Hanafi) The power of inclusive exclusion: anatomy of Israeli rule in the occupied Palestinian territories, Zone Books, 2009. ISBN 978-1-890951-92-4


  1. ^ a b c d e "The Order of Evils". MIT Press. Archived from the original on 2006-09-07. Retrieved 2007-12-15.

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