On some days it can seem that we find ourselves in a world marked by malignity with no motive--we learn that some of our fellow citizens conspire with others to murder ordinary people in their places of work, or creep around under cover of darkness preying on defenseless people, or use their offices to conceal losses in a way that ultimately deprives lesser employees of any hope for security in their retirement. Reading newspapers, watching television, or listening to reports on the radio, it can be very hard to understand why. You survey the damage and think, 'How could someone do that?' In this article, Candace Vogler addresses this sense of mute incomprehension in the face of wrongdoing as one root of an old philosophical question about whether it is irrational to be immoral. Copyright 2003 The University of Chicago.