David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (4):659 – 677 (2007)
Adam Morton, Stephen de Wijze, Hillel Steiner, and Eve Garrard have defended the view that evil action is qualitatively distinct from ordinary wrongdoing. By this, they do not that mean that evil actions feel different to ordinary wrongs, but that they have motives or effects that are not possessed to any degree by ordinary wrongs. Despite their professed intentions, Morton and de Wijze both offer accounts of evil action that fail to identify a clear qualitative difference between evil and ordinary wrongdoing. In contrast, both Steiner's and Garrard's accounts of evil do point to qualitative distinctions between kinds of action, but it is implausible that either account correctly characterizes evil. The most plausible accounts maintain that evil actions have a necessary connection to extreme harms, and this suggests that evil is not qualitatively distinct from ordinary wrongdoing.
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