The nature of evil

Philosophical Explorations 1 (1):43 – 60 (1998)
We readily claim that great moral catastrophes such as the Holocaust involve evil in some way, although it' not clear what this amounts to in a secular context. This paper seeks to provide a secular account of what evil is. It examines what is intuitively the most plausible account, namely that the evil act involves the production of great suffering (or other disvalue), and argues that such outcomes are neither necessary nor sufficient for an act to be evil. Only an appeal to distinctive patterns of motivation, so it is argued, will allow us to accommodate our intuitionsabout which acts are evil, and hence will provide an adequate account of the nature of evil.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/10001998018538689
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,184
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Michael Slote (2010). Virtue Ethics. In John Skorupski (ed.), Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie. Routledge 325--347.
John McDowell (1978). Are Moral Requirements Hypothetical Imperatives? Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 52:13-29+31-42.
John Kekes (1993). Facing Evil. Princeton University Press.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Alfred Archer (2016). Evil and Moral Detachment: Further Reflections on The Mirror Thesis. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 24 (2):201-218.
Allan Hazlett (2012). Non-Moral Evil. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 36 (1):18-34.
Todd Calder (2013). Is Evil Just Very Wrong? Philosophical Studies 163 (1):177-196.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

146 ( #27,104 of 1,934,834 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #92,052 of 1,934,834 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.