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Stony Brook Professor Wins Prestigious “Prose” Award for book Moral Evil
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Andrew Flescher, PhD

STONY BROOK, N.Y., February 26, 2014 – Stony Brook University’s Andrew Flescher, PhD, was awarded first place by the American Association of Publishers (AAP) with a Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE) Award for his book, Moral Evil , in the publishing category of Theology and Religious Studies. Dr. Flescher is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Preventive Medicine and English, and he is a member of the Core Faculty in the Program in Public Health at Stony Brook Medicine. 

The AAP’s annual awards program, established in 1976, recognizes the very best in professional and scholarly publishing in more than 40 categories. The PROSE Award entries are judged by peer publishers, librarians, and medical professionals.

“I'm stunned to receive this award for my book, which is in essence about the subtle but far reaching consequences of human inaction,” said Dr. Flescher. “I am deeply grateful for all of the insightful people at Stony Brook and elsewhere with whom I conferred over the last four years about the topic and those who helped me to refine my thinking at every stage of the project.” 

In the acknowledgements section of his book, Dr. Flescher explains that the book is a result of exploring the nature of evil over the past decade with students and colleagues.

“Rather than asking about its quantitative reduction or qualitative reinterpretation, I am interested in what we do with the fact of evil. What is a morally constructive model for dealing with the problem of evil? What are the best resources within our religious and moral traditions for thinking about evil in a manner conducive to human flourishing? Whence the motivation for another book about evil,” writes Dr. Flescher in the book’s introduction.

Dr. Flescher uses four models to help the reader understand the concepts of moral evil: the presence of badness, the presence of goodness, the absence of badness, and the absence of goodness, which he explores in the first four chapters.  In the fifth and final chapter, Dr. Flescher explores evil as inaction and the achievement of moral betterment to help overcome evil.

In a review of Dr. Flescher’s book, Diana Fritz Cates, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Religious Studies at the University of Iowa wrote, “What is moral evil, and why do people so often fall into its clutches? Flescher's analysis is penetrating and ethically unflinching. At the same time, it reflects great compassion. This book ought to be read by everyone who longs for goodness and is pained by its absence.”

Dr. Flescher has written two other books, Heroes, Saints, and Ordinary Morality and The Altruistic Species: Scientific, Philosophical, and Religious Perspectives of Human Benevolence