What is your definition of evil?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by akoreamerican, Aug 26, 2018.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    12,545
    It does not make people necessarily evil or bad. It is a disability that prevents people from "identifying" with someone else's plight.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy

    IOW, empathy is truly profound ability which starts at an early age and often determines a person's choice in employment. Docters, nurses, caregivers in general usually are people with a well developed ability for empathy.

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    Hugging someone who is hurt

    For a criminal this is not a problem as he doesn't care about the pain he inflicts on his victim. Inflicting pain might even become a game because the perpetrator is unable to "identify" with the pain of his victim and is amused by the victims pleas for merci.

    AFAIK, most people have empathy in some respect, but a total lack of empathy is usually caused by some type of brain damage. Autism is a typical expression of inability to experience empathy without being an "evil" person.
     
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    No. Surely, "evil" is in actions.
    Say he can't empathize, but he goes into a job where he has no contact with people. No evil actions = no evil.

    Also, this:
     
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  5. just me Registered Senior Member

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    my definition of evil, from my own personal experience, is:
    psychologists.
    but that's just a subjective evil.
     
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  7. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    That's not a definition.
     
  8. just me Registered Senior Member

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    evil just means profoundly immoral, and morals are subjective, so you can basically make up what you think is evil based on your version of morals.
    for example, some people think gays are evil.
     
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    5,301
    I don't believe that anything is objectively evil or objectively good. Good and evil aren't the kind of things that one can discover in a scientific laboratory, an astronomical observatory or by field expeditions. I think that physical reality is fundamentally without moral values. It just is.

    Put another way, there doesn't seem to be any better evidence for good and evil than for the existence of God or the supernatural. To some extent, all of it seems to be the product of our feelings, whether individual or collective.

    Moral values seem to me to be human constructs. They appear to me to have arisen in an evolutionary social context where it became important to define behaviors that the group wanted for forbid or to encourage. The former came to be called 'evil' and the latter 'good'. It made for better group cohesion and for improved selective fitness.

    My feeling is that human evolution puts all of us very roughly on the same page in some respects. We all seem to share a sense of social reciprocity and fairness, for example, that may very well be innate. But there is also great variation in social mores and ethics in different cultures today and obviously in different historical periods.

    I'm not sure that there is any objective truth of the matter as to which moralities are correct and which ones are perverted. The best that we can do is say which ones we are more comfortable with and like better.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    There are various measures of prosperity and personal freedoms which can be measured and scaled for technological level - height and lifespan and childbirth mortality and disease prevalence, say. These things are evidence, not proof, but we certainly don't want too high a level of childbirth mortality, or early death via miseries and afflictions.
    There are migration patterns and adopted routines absent coercion, also evidence rather than proof, showing where and how people prefer to live.
    And there is betrayal, especially what people take the trouble to lie about (reliable evidence of preference).

    Focusing on evidence of constraints, rather than specifying causes, notice - discouragements of the obviously bad rather than specifying the ordained good, boundaries of morally ok actions rather than mandates of what must be done. That appears to align better with other theories and structures of human life, provides space for creativity and change, etc.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
  11. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    That has nothing to do with what you said.

    Saying, "my definition of evil, from my own personal experience, is: psychologists," like you did in #183, is like saying, "my definition of fat, from my own personal experience, is: truck drivers." It's not a definition.
     
  12. just me Registered Senior Member

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    220
    yea I could be petty right now and argue that me being wrong depends upon everything being itself and only itself but I wont,
    I was wrong to use that terminology.
     
  13. fess Registered Senior Member

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    Evil is an adjective used by a society to describe an act that they feel is egregiously bad.
     
  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    12,545
    I agree. The concept of evil is a purely human characteristic. In the animal world it is rare to see a predator "play" with his victim. They always kill for food, because they're hungry.

    Any display of what appears torture is actually practise to become more efficient at hunting, sport, not because it satisfies an emotional need to see someone else suffer.
     

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