David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Studies 149 (2):231 - 250 (2010)
It is intuitively plausible that not every evildoer is an evil person. In order to make sense of this intuition we need to construct an account of evil personhood in addition to an account of evil action. Some philosophers have offered aggregative accounts of evil personhood, but these do not fit well with common intuitions about the explanatory power of evil personhood, the possibility of moral reform, and the relationship between evil and luck. In contrast, a dispositional account of evil personhood can allow that evil is explanatory, that an evil person can become good, and that luck might prevent evil persons from doing evil or cause non-evil persons to do evil. Yet the dispositional account of evil personhood implies that some evil persons are blameless, which seems to clash with the intuition that evil persons deserve our strongest moral condemnation. Moreover, since it is likely that a large proportion of us are disposed to perform evil actions in some environments, the dispositional account threatens to label a large proportion of people evil. In this paper I consider a range of possible modifications to the dispositional account that might bring it more closely into alignment with our intuitions about moral condemnation and the rarity of evil persons. According to the most plausible of these theories, S is an evil person if S is strongly disposed to perform evil actions when in conditions that favour S's autonomy
|Keywords||Evil Vice Moral character|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
John F. Crosby (2001). Is All Evil Really Only Privation? Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 75:197-209.
Luke Russell (2010). Evil, Monsters and Dualism. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (1):45 - 58.
Marcus G. Singer (2004). The Concept of Evil. Philosophy 79 (2):185-214.
Dan Haybron (2002). Moral Monsters and Saints. The Monist 85 (2):260-284.
Michael Gelven (1998). This Side of Evil. Marquette University Press.
Lars Fr H. Svendsen (2010). A Philosophy of Evil. Dalkey Archive Press.
Peter Brian Barry (2010). Extremity of Vice and the Character of Evil. Journal of Philosophical Research 35:25-42.
Peter Brian Barry (2011). In Defense of the Mirror Thesis. Philosophical Studies 155 (2):199-205.
Added to index2009-02-16
Total downloads66 ( #17,735 of 1,004,677 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #28,177 of 1,004,677 )
How can I increase my downloads?