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What is Evil?

Harper
Posts: 374
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3/22/2015 3:18:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
So, this is yet another post on one of Wisecrack's 8-Bit Philosophy videos: https://www.youtube.com...

Since the concept of morality (and thus the concepts of "good" and "evil") were essentially only made to make an absurd and cruel world more hospitable for life, one can define "good" as that which makes life easier/less painful and "evil" as that which makes life more difficult and painful. Of course, good and evil are relative terms, and if something is to be determined as good its net consequences must be that which help life, especially for the long term. For example, exercise is painful. But this isn't to say that it should be regarded as morally wrong or "evil" since its net consequences (good long term health) outweigh the immediate suffering caused. So determining what is "evil" depends on weighing all of its consequences against each other and using rationality to see if it helps or hurts life in the end.

But then it gets a little muddy when you begin to asses complex moral quandaries. For example, I've actually seen someone (http://forbiddentruth.8k.com...) attempt to justify homicide, based on the idea that it is a reflection of the killer's "true reality" (the truth of how society treated him), and that since it is an expression of truth (he argues that truth is the only thing more valuable than individual life) it must be honored and considered a moral good. His evaluation of homicide being a moral good hinges on how he values "truth" above life. Then a critic of his moral logic could say that truth is nothing more than a tool to make life easier, and so while truth may be a moral good, it ceases being so when it begins to threaten the existence of life itself.

Further, I think the idea of holding people accountable for their own "evil" actions is another point of debate, especially since we are pretty much nothing more than a combination of genetics and environment (both of which the individual has very little control over).
Harper
Posts: 374
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3/22/2015 3:37:47 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Further, considering a person evil, to me at least, seems a little absurd since really anyone put into the right circumstances could become evil. Of course, genetic predisposition is included within the realm of "circumstances" that could lead one to act in a morally evil manner. That is because a person who is genetically predisposed to do evil things did not by him/herself choose this predisposition to act that way, so the person him/herself is not at fault and therefore cannot be considered evil. For example, a person with low levels of monoamine oxidase is more likely to commit violent actions. Obviously, that individual never chose to be born that way. It was just by chance that they were born with lower than normal monoamine oxidase levels, had chance been kinder to them, they wouldn't be predisposed to such violence in the first place.

But I guess that depends on how you define what a "person" is in the first place. If a person is simply the sum of their actions, then yes, you could call a person who commits evil deeds evil. If you define a person as they way they were born (meaning that changing the way their brain is structured/their genes changes their essence as a person), then again you can call someone who is psychologically predisposed to commit evil actions evil. But I define a person as a "conscious vantage point", an essence separate from the traits that are then "added on" via specific genetic variations and/or environmental effects/circumstances. So I personally wouldn't consider an evil person "evil" because of their genetic/environmentally (circumstantially) induced actions.
tejretics
Posts: 6,094
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3/31/2015 5:24:40 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/22/2015 3:18:29 PM, Harper wrote:
So, this is yet another post on one of Wisecrack's 8-Bit Philosophy videos: https://www.youtube.com...

Since the concept of morality (and thus the concepts of "good" and "evil") were essentially only made to make an absurd and cruel world more hospitable for life, one can define "good" as that which makes life easier/less painful and "evil" as that which makes life more difficult and painful. Of course, good and evil are relative terms, and if something is to be determined as good its net consequences must be that which help life, especially for the long term. For example, exercise is painful. But this isn't to say that it should be regarded as morally wrong or "evil" since its net consequences (good long term health) outweigh the immediate suffering caused. So determining what is "evil" depends on weighing all of its consequences against each other and using rationality to see if it helps or hurts life in the end.

But then it gets a little muddy when you begin to asses complex moral quandaries. For example, I've actually seen someone (http://forbiddentruth.8k.com...) attempt to justify homicide, based on the idea that it is a reflection of the killer's "true reality" (the truth of how society treated him), and that since it is an expression of truth (he argues that truth is the only thing more valuable than individual life) it must be honored and considered a moral good. His evaluation of homicide being a moral good hinges on how he values "truth" above life. Then a critic of his moral logic could say that truth is nothing more than a tool to make life easier, and so while truth may be a moral good, it ceases being so when it begins to threaten the existence of life itself.

Further, I think the idea of holding people accountable for their own "evil" actions is another point of debate, especially since we are pretty much nothing more than a combination of genetics and environment (both of which the individual has very little control over).

Actually, my theory is "evil" was what once used to undermine a social order necessary to maintain civilization from going into chaos, like "good." Morality isn't real, exactly.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
Harper
Posts: 374
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3/31/2015 1:30:23 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/31/2015 5:24:40 AM, tejretics wrote:
At 3/22/2015 3:18:29 PM, Harper wrote:
So, this is yet another post on one of Wisecrack's 8-Bit Philosophy videos: https://www.youtube.com...

Since the concept of morality (and thus the concepts of "good" and "evil") were essentially only made to make an absurd and cruel world more hospitable for life, one can define "good" as that which makes life easier/less painful and "evil" as that which makes life more difficult and painful. Of course, good and evil are relative terms, and if something is to be determined as good its net consequences must be that which help life, especially for the long term. For example, exercise is painful. But this isn't to say that it should be regarded as morally wrong or "evil" since its net consequences (good long term health) outweigh the immediate suffering caused. So determining what is "evil" depends on weighing all of its consequences against each other and using rationality to see if it helps or hurts life in the end.

But then it gets a little muddy when you begin to asses complex moral quandaries. For example, I've actually seen someone (http://forbiddentruth.8k.com...) attempt to justify homicide, based on the idea that it is a reflection of the killer's "true reality" (the truth of how society treated him), and that since it is an expression of truth (he argues that truth is the only thing more valuable than individual life) it must be honored and considered a moral good. His evaluation of homicide being a moral good hinges on how he values "truth" above life. Then a critic of his moral logic could say that truth is nothing more than a tool to make life easier, and so while truth may be a moral good, it ceases being so when it begins to threaten the existence of life itself.

Further, I think the idea of holding people accountable for their own "evil" actions is another point of debate, especially since we are pretty much nothing more than a combination of genetics and environment (both of which the individual has very little control over).

Actually, my theory is "evil" was what once used to undermine a social order necessary to maintain civilization from going into chaos, like "good." Morality isn't real, exactly.
Morality is "real", it's just not exactly objective truth. It's more of a tool we use to make life less difficult.