Necessary Evil: Justification, Excuse or Pardon? [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Criminal Law and Philosophy 5 (3):333-347 (2011)
The problem of necessary evil is a sub-class of the problem of moral dilemmas. In cases of genuine moral dilemmas the agent cannot avoid doing evil whatever he does. In some cases of genuine moral dilemmas, the options facing the agent are incommensurable. But in some other cases of genuine moral dilemmas, though wrong doing is inescapable, there is a rationally best course of action. These are cases of necessary evil. There are several views regarding the doing of necessary evil. On the closure view it is never necessary to do what is evil. This is the view of some utilitarians and of Kant. Then there are people who believe that it is sometimes necessary to do evil. Of these some (like John Gardner) believe that evil in such cases is justified even though it remains an evil; while there are others (like Gandhi) who believe that evil in such cases can never be justified but it can at best be excused or pardoned. Some even think that in some extreme cases the individual who does evil (even if it is the lesser evil) should be punished even though the individual could not avoid doing evil whatever he chose. The paper stresses the significance of the distinction between justified wrong doing, pardonable wrong doing, and excusable wrong doing
|Keywords||Closure view Excusable wrong doing Pardonable wrong doing Justified wrong doing Necessary evil Gandhi|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
J. L. Austin (1979). Philosophical Papers. Oxford University Press.
John Austin (1961). Compiled by JO Urmson and GJ Warnock. In J. O. Urmson & G. J. Warnock (eds.), Philosophical Papers. Clarendon Press.
John Gardner (2007). Offences and Defences: Selected Essays in the Philosophy of Criminal Law. Oxford University Press.
Christopher W. Gowans (1994). Innocence Lost: An Examination of Inescapable Moral Wrongdoing. Oxford University Press.
R. M. Hare (1981). Moral Thinking: Its Levels, Method, and Point. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Vinit Haksar (2012). Violence in a Spirit of Love: Gandhi and the Limits of Non-Violence. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 15 (3):303-324.
Rudolf Schuessler (2013). Violating Strict Deontological Constraints: Excuse or Pardon? Criminal Law and Philosophy:1-15.
Similar books and articles
Lars Fr H. Svendsen (2010). A Philosophy of Evil. Dalkey Archive Press.
John F. Crosby (2001). Is All Evil Really Only Privation? Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 75:197-209.
Michael Gelven (1998). This Side of Evil. Marquette University Press.
Paul Formosa (2009). Kant on the Limits of Human Evil. Journal of Philosophical Research 34:189-214.
Paul Formosa (2008). A Conception of Evil. Journal of Value Inquiry 42 (2):217-239.
Paul Formosa (2007). Understanding Evil Acts. Human Studies 30 (2):57 - 77.
Todd Calder (2013). Is Evil Just Very Wrong? Philosophical Studies 163 (1):177-196.
Luke Russell (2010). Dispositional Accounts of Evil Personhood. Philosophical Studies 149 (2):231 - 250.
Allan Hazlett (2012). Non-Moral Evil. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 36 (1):18-34.
Brice R. Wachterhauser (1985). The Problem of Evil and Moral Scepticism. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 17 (3):167 - 174.
Christopher Hamilton (1999). The Nature of Evil a Reply to Garrard. Philosophical Explorations 2 (2):122 – 138.
Added to index2010-09-13
Total downloads33 ( #49,468 of 1,096,320 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #58,557 of 1,096,320 )
How can I increase my downloads?