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Does evil exist?

keithprosser
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3/23/2018 12:20:37 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Does evil exist?
I don't think it does. I think that there are things that are evil, but 'evil' per se does not exist. You might say that evil is an adjective, not a noun.

What about 'blue' and 'life'?
Leaning
Posts: 2,779
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3/23/2018 1:53:47 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I don't think you'll find an answer everyone agrees with.

Myself I do not think evil exists objectively.
There are behaviors, acts, and realities that we have defined as evil. Evil does exist within our created morality. Exists within the human body and brain. If you evacuated a continent of all humans, put unpassable walls around it and dumped a bunch of amnesic kids onto it. I believe some of them would survive, and the society that they would create would eventually mirror many of the same concepts of morality, good and evil that we see at large in society currently.

So I would say evil exists, but only because we identified a pattern thus... or something, I'm not making much sense with that part, but I see the hypothetical experiment above as valid to morality patterns being in our body and brain.

Maybe it's that ideas are hard to identify. Some people I know say the economy doesn't exist and we are not able to effect it, which is ridiculous to me. Patterns exist. Laws of physics exist. Just because they can be harder to physically touch or see like a rock does not mean they don't exist.

I do not think that murder is objectively evil. But if I saw it, it would be evil to me, would likely nauseate and frighten me. Just because something does not exist everywhere does not mean it does not exist for us. Does not mean we are not going to react to it.
Wizofoz
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3/23/2018 2:36:21 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/23/2018 1:53:47 AM, Leaning wrote:
I don't think you'll find an answer everyone agrees with.

Myself I do not think evil exists objectively.
There are behaviors, acts, and realities that we have defined as evil. Evil does exist within our created morality. Exists within the human body and brain. If you evacuated a continent of all humans, put unpassable walls around it and dumped a bunch of amnesic kids onto it. I believe some of them would survive, and the society that they would create would eventually mirror many of the same concepts of morality, good and evil that we see at large in society currently.

So I would say evil exists, but only because we identified a pattern thus... or something, I'm not making much sense with that part, but I see the hypothetical experiment above as valid to morality patterns being in our body and brain.

Maybe it's that ideas are hard to identify. Some people I know say the economy doesn't exist and we are not able to effect it, which is ridiculous to me. Patterns exist. Laws of physics exist. Just because they can be harder to physically touch or see like a rock does not mean they don't exist.

I do not think that murder is objectively evil. But if I saw it, it would be evil to me, would likely nauseate and frighten me. Just because something does not exist everywhere does not mean it does not exist for us. Does not mean we are not going to react to it.

This.....
SecularMerlin
Posts: 7,228
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3/24/2018 4:49:29 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/23/2018 12:20:37 AM, keithprosser wrote:
Does evil exist?
I don't think it does. I think that there are things that are evil, but 'evil' per se does not exist. You might say that evil is an adjective, not a noun.

What about 'blue' and 'life'?

Could you define evil for the purposes of our discussion?
The only true wisdom lies in knowing that you know nothing.
-Socrates

Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality
-Lewis Carrol
keithprosser
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3/24/2018 6:49:13 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/24/2018 4:49:29 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
Could you define evil for the purposes of our discussion?

I'd rather not! My point is that sometimes the word 'evil' functions as a noun ('the evil of nazism')and other times as an adjective ('Nazism is evil').
I'm happy with using 'evil' as an adjective, but its use as a noun can suggest that 'evil' is 'the name of a thing' when there is no such thing as 'evil'.

That is to say there is no such thing as evil; there are only things that are evil.

Compare that with 'there is no such thing as life - there are only things that are alive'. In that case the noun (life) and adjective (alive)are different.
SecularMerlin
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3/24/2018 7:12:37 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/24/2018 6:49:13 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 3/24/2018 4:49:29 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
Could you define evil for the purposes of our discussion?

I'd rather not! My point is that sometimes the word 'evil' functions as a noun ('the evil of nazism')and other times as an adjective ('Nazism is evil').
I'm happy with using 'evil' as an adjective, but its use as a noun can suggest that 'evil' is 'the name of a thing' when there is no such thing as 'evil'.

That is to say there is no such thing as evil; there are only things that are evil.

Compare that with 'there is no such thing as life - there are only things that are alive'. In that case the noun (life) and adjective (alive)are different.

So this is mostly a semantic argument?
The only true wisdom lies in knowing that you know nothing.
-Socrates

Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality
-Lewis Carrol
keithprosser
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3/24/2018 7:50:41 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/24/2018 7:12:37 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 3/24/2018 6:49:13 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 3/24/2018 4:49:29 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
Could you define evil for the purposes of our discussion?

I'd rather not! My point is that sometimes the word 'evil' functions as a noun ('the evil of nazism')and other times as an adjective ('Nazism is evil').
I'm happy with using 'evil' as an adjective, but its use as a noun can suggest that 'evil' is 'the name of a thing' when there is no such thing as 'evil'.

That is to say there is no such thing as evil; there are only things that are evil.

Compare that with 'there is no such thing as life - there are only things that are alive'. In that case the noun (life) and adjective (alive)are different.

So this is mostly a semantic argument?

A lot of philosophy is semantic argument! I think its sometimes worthwhile to examine words and how we use them. For example in post #2 Leaning says
"Myself I do not think evil exists...." and a few lines later says "So I would say evil exists..."

I think the problem shows up better with the 'life' example. If you think of life as a thing then you end up with vitalism, and possibly notions resembling 'soul', which take attention away from the true nature of life as a process. If you think (or have your thinking contaminated by half-thinking)that evil is a thing then you might not think as clearly as you could - and you end up with Leanings problem of thinking evil does and doesn't exist. How you solve the problem of evil surely depends on whether it exists or not!
SecularMerlin
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3/24/2018 7:53:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/24/2018 7:50:41 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 3/24/2018 7:12:37 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 3/24/2018 6:49:13 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 3/24/2018 4:49:29 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
Could you define evil for the purposes of our discussion?

I'd rather not! My point is that sometimes the word 'evil' functions as a noun ('the evil of nazism')and other times as an adjective ('Nazism is evil').
I'm happy with using 'evil' as an adjective, but its use as a noun can suggest that 'evil' is 'the name of a thing' when there is no such thing as 'evil'.

That is to say there is no such thing as evil; there are only things that are evil.

Compare that with 'there is no such thing as life - there are only things that are alive'. In that case the noun (life) and adjective (alive)are different.

So this is mostly a semantic argument?

A lot of philosophy is semantic argument! I think its sometimes worthwhile to examine words and how we use them. For example in post #2 Leaning says
"Myself I do not think evil exists...." and a few lines later says "So I would say evil exists..."

I think the problem shows up better with the 'life' example. If you think of life as a thing then you end up with vitalism, and possibly notions resembling 'soul', which take attention away from the true nature of life as a process. If you think (or have your thinking contaminated by half-thinking)that evil is a thing then you might not think as clearly as you could - and you end up with Leanings problem of thinking evil does and doesn't exist. How you solve the problem of evil surely depends on whether it exists or not!

I find the concepts of good and evil dubious. I think we often meanoral/immoral or ethical/unethical when we discuss these terms.
The only true wisdom lies in knowing that you know nothing.
-Socrates

Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality
-Lewis Carrol
Estragon
Posts: 222
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3/25/2018 9:49:30 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I think evil is largely subjective, as is good. Many acts seen as evil have been committed by people whose actions were undertaken in a belief that were doing good. The persecution of witches for example, witchcraft was perceived as harmful and so the actions taken to eliminate it spreading were seen as good. Then there is the Nazi final solution, this was driven by a belief in theories of eugenics, they believed they were creating a superior species which was perceived as being beneficial to humanity, again many who followed the Nazi ideology believed they were acting for the good.

Perhaps the closest thing to evil I can think of is knowingly causing harm to others for one"s own greed and self interest.
Smithereens
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3/25/2018 10:47:43 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
do adjectives exist?
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Smithereens
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3/25/2018 10:49:23 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
The 'floor is slippery,' tells you that a floor exists, not that slippery exists. If you know where I can find a slippery please tell me though. I do love slipperies.
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ken1122
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3/25/2018 5:34:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/23/2018 12:20:37 AM, keithprosser wrote:
Does evil exist?
I don't think it does. I think that there are things that are evil, but 'evil' per se does not exist. You might say that evil is an adjective, not a noun.

What about 'blue' and 'life'?
I agree. Evil no more exist than funny, wise, ugly, or beautiful; they are judgment labels we attach to people, and things that are real.
jessp
Posts: 20
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4/9/2018 8:41:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/23/2018 12:20:37 AM, keithprosser wrote:
Does evil exist?
I don't think it does. I think that there are things that are evil, but 'evil' per se does not exist. You might say that evil is an adjective, not a noun.

What about 'blue' and 'life'?

I have heard the opinion that evil is simply a lack of good. Like darkness is not a thing, it is simply a lack of light. Evil is a negative, so no, it is not a real thing. Hate is a lack of love, greed is a lack of contentment, pride is a lack of humility, etc.

I'm not sure I agree; what do you think?
jessp
Posts: 20
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4/9/2018 8:45:18 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/25/2018 10:49:23 AM, Smithereens wrote:
The 'floor is slippery,' tells you that a floor exists, not that slippery exists. If you know where I can find a slippery please tell me though. I do love slipperies.

Now that all depends on how you define exist. Do concepts "exist"? Because clearly "slippery" is a concept in your mind and in everyone else's mind. I think we can all imagine what "a slippery" would be like if there was such a thing because we all understand and share a similar concept of the adjective slippery.

I would say that concepts do exist, but that is simply an opinion.
Casten
Posts: 2,515
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4/10/2018 2:18:37 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
evil (noun): a sinister external force that influences humans

No. I don't think this exists.

evil (noun): extreme immorality or depravity; malicious intent coupled with malicious action

Yes, I think this exists. Though like morality itself, it is a human construct.
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mjecerick
Posts: 4
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4/12/2018 3:38:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
The best reply to any philosophy topic will be writing paper. https://writemypaper4me.org... can help you with it and I'm sure you will write the best one.
Wawsome
Posts: 6
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4/13/2018 3:19:14 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/23/2018 1:53:47 AM, Leaning wrote:
I don't think you'll find an answer everyone agrees with.

Myself I do not think evil exists objectively.
There are behaviors, acts, and realities that we have defined as evil. Evil does exist within our created morality. Exists within the human body and brain. If you evacuated a continent of all humans, put unpassable walls around it and dumped a bunch of amnesic kids onto it. I believe some of them would survive, and the society that they would create would eventually mirror many of the same concepts of morality, good and evil that we see at large in society currently.

So I would say evil exists, but only because we identified a pattern thus... or something, I'm not making much sense with that part, but I see the hypothetical experiment above as valid to morality patterns being in our body and brain.

Maybe it's that ideas are hard to identify. Some people I know say the economy doesn't exist and we are not able to effect it, which is ridiculous to me. Patterns exist. Laws of physics exist. Just because they can be harder to physically touch or see like a rock does not mean they don't exist.

I do not think that murder is objectively evil. But if I saw it, it would be evil to me, would likely nauseate and frighten me. Just because something does not exist everywhere does not mean it does not exist for us. Does not mean we are not going to react to it.

An interesting point you made, that if we isolated a group of people that knew nothing of human society that they would mirror what we would have now. I agree that patterns exist, yet I will also point it that patterns are not everything. We as humans break patterns each one of us different. Yet I believe that evil is more than just a part of another pattern. Now for the same of text space I will just say I believe everything is not pre-destined (if you want to debate that feel free) but I believe that many choices we make are either good or evil. Now since I believe that we have free will, we always have choices and some of these choices are wrong. Since nothing is pre-planned then we cannot say that there is pattern that covers everything. This is because this supposed pattern hasn't been finished yet so we don't know if it is consistent.
Wawsome
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4/13/2018 3:24:59 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/25/2018 5:34:45 PM, ken1122 wrote:
At 3/23/2018 12:20:37 AM, keithprosser wrote:
Does evil exist?
I don't think it does. I think that there are things that are evil, but 'evil' per se does not exist. You might say that evil is an adjective, not a noun.

What about 'blue' and 'life'?
I agree. Evil no more exist than funny, wise, ugly, or beautiful; they are judgment labels we attach to people, and things that are real.

But yet if we use the word as a adjective then we apply it to this sentence, "Killing is evil", we are not saying the person is evil, we are not "labeling the person" we are labeling the deed. Also an action cannot be defined as ugly. There isn't an "ugly" choice. We have to see that good and evil are not labels, they are something else.
ethang5
Posts: 19,247
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4/13/2018 6:20:36 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/9/2018 8:41:24 PM, jessp wrote:
At 3/23/2018 12:20:37 AM, keithprosser wrote:
Does evil exist?
I don't think it does. I think that there are things that are evil, but 'evil' per se does not exist. You might say that evil is an adjective, not a noun.

What about 'blue' and 'life'?

I have heard the opinion that evil is simply a lack of good. Like darkness is not a thing, it is simply a lack of light. Evil is a negative, so no, it is not a real thing. Hate is a lack of love, greed is a lack of contentment, pride is a lack of humility, etc.

I'm not sure I agree; what do you think?

Im of the opinion that evil does not exist, but by that I don't mean that evis is the opposite of good. It isn't.

Real things cannot have opposites, only concepts can. That is why I think "cold" and "dark" are similar in that they don't actually exist but are concepts we use to classify conditions.
Leaning
Posts: 2,779
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4/13/2018 4:21:51 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Reply to post #18
I sometimes think patterns are everything. For example I don't think there is anything after this life, just a return to dust. So if there is no soul moving me, I'm just the pattern of my brain cells, neurons firing, memories stored in a certain fashion, body too but, eh.

I don't really believe in.... Completely justified behavior.. Because I don't believe in objective good or evil. There is no highest authority that says a person must act in this fashion. I think we have a bubble we have made. Much if it instinct, much of it developed and created since there are a number of variations you see in our patterns of morality.

Free Will seems like a tricky subject to me. The part that seems to cause the most disagreement often seems to be definition. I've been leaning toward no free will since I talked and listened a bit on the forum below about it, still mulling it over though. When I'm feeling willful I deny that I believe in a lack of it.

For me, don't take my posts all that serious. I often stay up far too long and get a bit... something. Now for example I've been up.... I don't know how long but I think more than 24 hours.

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Kevin_Fishcer
Posts: 282
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4/13/2018 5:43:17 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Jesus Christ wrap up it in one summary
"Love thy neighbor as youself"

No better words could be spoken. Everything we deem as wickedness is when one is oppressed while the hypocrite exploit there oppression for their own gain, while they themselves don't wish to be oppressed by that same stone. Companies destroy the environment but since we were born from it, we deem it evil. China montitor there citizens but since their rulers are exempt for said scutiny, we deem them immoral. When one murder another soul, we want to brang them to justice. Because We see ourselves as the next victim.We are socail creature after all.

we are intelligent being that know the magintude of our action, and with that knowledge come responsibility. So "evil" is when we threaten humanity, the natural order, or ourselves.
Kevin_Fishcer
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4/13/2018 5:54:46 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Though I concede we sometime confuse evil with fear and doctrine according to our knowledge.

The Salem Witch trail is a prime example for this; they fear a false belief we can say was stupid. we thought we wouldn't commit such atrocities agian, but time prove over and over again we will. Just look at the red scare and Hilter Germany view in Jews.
3RU7AL
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4/16/2018 7:43:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/23/2018 12:20:37 AM, keithprosser wrote:
Does evil exist?
I don't think it does. I think that there are things that are evil, but 'evil' per se does not exist. You might say that evil is an adjective, not a noun.

What about 'blue' and 'life'?

Qualitative concepts (like love, evil, and god) do not meet the definition of "exists".

ex-ist
have objective reality or being.

ob-jec-tive
not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

fact
a thing that is indisputably the case.
Believing in "objective reality" is just like believing in heaven.
Please adhere to obvious epistemological limits.
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ken1122
Posts: 1,737
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9/8/2018 6:34:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Wawsome said
But yet if we use the word as a adjective then we apply it to this sentence, "Killing is evil", We are not saying the person is evil, We are not "labeling the person" we are labeling the deed. Also an action cannot be defined as ugly. There isn't an "ugly" choice. We have to see that good and evil are not labels, They are something else.

(Ken's reply)
I noticed of the 4 examples I mentioned you picked the one that can"t be applied to an action ignoring the others that can as if that makes your point. In this case, Evil is a label because it describes the noun (in this case the action of killing) just as the other 4 labels I mentioned describe various nouns

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