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Defining evil

srehtiw
Posts: 491
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5/22/2016 3:33:19 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
I'm sure most of you will agree that defining ethical concepts, such as good and evil, is incredibly difficult. So I wanted to just ask everyone, how you you define evil?

I think I would define it as knowingly committing an act that you believe is morally wrong, with no justification other than self gain. But I am interested to see what you would say.
A1tre
Posts: 223
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5/22/2016 4:32:51 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/22/2016 3:33:19 PM, srehtiw wrote:
I'm sure most of you will agree that defining ethical concepts, such as good and evil, is incredibly difficult. So I wanted to just ask everyone, how you you define evil?

I think I would define it as knowingly committing an act that you believe is morally wrong, with no justification other than self gain. But I am interested to see what you would say.

I can't say I have a good solution to this question.

But I wanted to ask if you think Hitler was an evil person. According to your definition he was not (I'm making the assumption Hitler was doing the morally right think in his mind) .

Also sorry for proving Godwin's law, I can't resist.
srehtiw
Posts: 491
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5/22/2016 5:16:35 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/22/2016 4:32:51 PM, A1tre wrote:
At 5/22/2016 3:33:19 PM, srehtiw wrote:
I'm sure most of you will agree that defining ethical concepts, such as good and evil, is incredibly difficult. So I wanted to just ask everyone, how you you define evil?

I think I would define it as knowingly committing an act that you believe is morally wrong, with no justification other than self gain. But I am interested to see what you would say.

I can't say I have a good solution to this question.

But I wanted to ask if you think Hitler was an evil person. According to your definition he was not (I'm making the assumption Hitler was doing the morally right think in his mind) .

Also sorry for proving Godwin's law, I can't resist.

This is an interesting question that I sill don't have an answer to. On an emotional level I certainly want to say yes of course he was, but as you have said my definition says that if he really believed it was for the best then the answer has to be no. I suppose I would say that the things he did were definitely evil, but as much as I hate to admit it I'm not sure if I can class him as an evil person.
Bob13
Posts: 706
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5/22/2016 7:20:54 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/22/2016 3:33:19 PM, srehtiw wrote:
I'm sure most of you will agree that defining ethical concepts, such as good and evil, is incredibly difficult. So I wanted to just ask everyone, how you you define evil?

I think I would define it as knowingly committing an act that you believe is morally wrong, with no justification other than self gain. But I am interested to see what you would say.

An action is evil if it is committed with bad intentions.
I don't have a signature. :-)
skipsaweirdo
Posts: 1,861
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5/23/2016 9:15:09 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/22/2016 3:33:19 PM, srehtiw wrote:
I'm sure most of you will agree that defining ethical concepts, such as good and evil, is incredibly difficult. So I wanted to just ask everyone, how you you define evil?

I think I would define it as knowingly committing an act that you believe is morally wrong, with no justification other than self gain. But I am interested to see what you would say.

Should a reasonable person not demand that philosophy should not be foolishly purveyed before people incompetent to see the point of it, as pearls before swine? For Nietzsche is utterly correct: philosophy is only for the healthy and whole-minded, the sick it has always only made even sicker. By means of philosophy they dig themselves even deeper into their pathetic delusions.

Kenneth Smith
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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5/24/2016 10:16:10 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/22/2016 3:33:19 PM, srehtiw wrote:
I'm sure most of you will agree that defining ethical concepts, such as good and evil, is incredibly difficult. So I wanted to just ask everyone, how you you define evil?

I think I would define it as knowingly committing an act that you believe is morally wrong, with no justification other than self gain. But I am interested to see what you would say.

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?
janesix
Posts: 3,436
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5/24/2016 10:22:20 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/22/2016 4:32:51 PM, A1tre wrote:
At 5/22/2016 3:33:19 PM, srehtiw wrote:
I'm sure most of you will agree that defining ethical concepts, such as good and evil, is incredibly difficult. So I wanted to just ask everyone, how you you define evil?

I think I would define it as knowingly committing an act that you believe is morally wrong, with no justification other than self gain. But I am interested to see what you would say.

I can't say I have a good solution to this question.

But I wanted to ask if you think Hitler was an evil person. According to your definition he was not (I'm making the assumption Hitler was doing the morally right think in his mind) .

Also sorry for proving Godwin's law, I can't resist.

I would have to say hitler wasnt evil if his intentions werent to inflict harm. But his intentions surely had to be intended to inflict harm so he was in all likelyhood evil.
srehtiw
Posts: 491
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5/25/2016 6:27:50 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:16:10 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/22/2016 3:33:19 PM, srehtiw wrote:
I'm sure most of you will agree that defining ethical concepts, such as good and evil, is incredibly difficult. So I wanted to just ask everyone, how you you define evil?

I think I would define it as knowingly committing an act that you believe is morally wrong, with no justification other than self gain. But I am interested to see what you would say.

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

What if someone attempted to commit a harmful act, or committed an act they believed would be harmful? For example if I gave someone a banana and told them it was a gun and they attempted to shoot someone with it would that be an evil act even though they did not actually have a negative effect on anyone?
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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5/25/2016 3:17:15 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/25/2016 6:27:50 AM, srehtiw wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:16:10 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/22/2016 3:33:19 PM, srehtiw wrote:
I'm sure most of you will agree that defining ethical concepts, such as good and evil, is incredibly difficult. So I wanted to just ask everyone, how you you define evil?

I think I would define it as knowingly committing an act that you believe is morally wrong, with no justification other than self gain. But I am interested to see what you would say.

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

What if someone attempted to commit a harmful act, or committed an act they believed would be harmful? For example if I gave someone a banana and told them it was a gun and they attempted to shoot someone with it would that be an evil act even though they did not actually have a negative effect on anyone?

Good question and I think it brings up a good point. I think the answer could be debatable.

If someone commits many evil acts and no "good" acts, I think that would classify them as evil. If someone intended on committing many evil acts yet failed, I think they could still be considered evil. Since evil people do evil things by definition, I think their failed evil acts could still be considered evil regardless. If that is true, then intention is a critical factor in determining whether and act is evil or good.

Another way to look at it is if you gave a starving person your last bit of food, would that act be considered good? If, unbeknownst to you, the food did not contain any calories, would it still be a good act? If so, intention matters.
PetersSmith
Posts: 5,805
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5/31/2016 9:51:35 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/22/2016 3:33:19 PM, srehtiw wrote:
I'm sure most of you will agree that defining ethical concepts, such as good and evil, is incredibly difficult. So I wanted to just ask everyone, how you you define evil?

I think I would define it as knowingly committing an act that you believe is morally wrong, with no justification other than self gain. But I am interested to see what you would say.

According to "just war", evil is defined as the loss of value, that is, as death, injury, physical and psychological suffering, misery, and so forth.
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ken1122
Posts: 458
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6/1/2016 1:11:07 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/22/2016 3:33:19 PM, srehtiw wrote:
I'm sure most of you will agree that defining ethical concepts, such as good and evil, is incredibly difficult. So I wanted to just ask everyone, how you you define evil?

I think I would define it as knowingly committing an act that you believe is morally wrong, with no justification other than self gain. But I am interested to see what you would say.

That's like asking to define funny, beautiful, or silly. People have different opinions on what is evil. Evil is just a subjective term people use to describe something they find very bad.

Ken