Is evil just very wrong?

Philosophical Studies 163 (1):177-196 (2013)

Authors
Todd Calder
Saint Mary's University
Abstract
Is evil a distinct moral concept? Or are evil actions just very wrong actions? Some philosophers have argued that evil is a distinct moral concept. These philosophers argue that evil is qualitatively distinct from ordinary wrongdoing. Other philosophers have suggested that evil is only quantitatively distinct from ordinary wrongdoing. On this view, evil is just very wrong. In this paper I argue that evil is qualitatively distinct from ordinary wrongdoing. The first part of the paper is critical. I argue that Luke Russell’s attempt to show that evil is only quantitatively distinct from ordinary wrongdoing fails. Russell’s argument fails because it is based on an implausible criterion for determining whether two concepts are qualitatively distinct. I offer a more plausible criterion and argue that based on this criterion evil and wrongdoing are qualitatively distinct. To help make my case, I sketch a theory of evil which makes a genuinely qualitative distinction between evil and wrongdoing. I argue that we cannot characterize evil as just very wrong on plausible conceptions of evil and wrongdoing. I focus on act-consequentialist, Kantian, and contractarian conceptions of wrongdoing
Keywords Evil  Wrongdoing  Qualitative  Moral Theory
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2013
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9806-2
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 46,355
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

Morals by Agreement.David Gauthier - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Utilitarianism: For and Against.J. J. C. Smart & Bernard Williams - 1973 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Consequentialism.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Evil, Wrongdoing, and Concept Distinctness.Hallie Liberto & Fred Harrington - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (6):1591-1602.
Was ist eine böse Handlung?Zachary J. Goldberg - 2019 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 66 (6):764-787.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Is Evil Action Qualitatively Distinct From Ordinary Wrongdoing?Luke Russell - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (4):659 – 677.
A Conception of Evil.Paul Formosa - 2008 - Journal of Value Inquiry 42 (2):217-239.
Necessary Evil: Justification, Excuse or Pardon? [REVIEW]Vinit Haksar - 2011 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 5 (3):333-347.
Is All Evil Really Only Privation?John F. Crosby - 2001 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 75:197-209.
Evil Revisited - Responses to Hamilton.Eve Garrard - 1999 - Philosophical Explorations 2 (2):139 – 142.
Dispositional Accounts of Evil Personhood.Luke Russell - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (2):231 - 250.
This Side of Evil.Michael Gelven - 1998 - Marquette University Press.
A Philosophy of Evil.Lars Fr H. Svendsen - 2010 - Dalkey Archive Press.
The Concept of Evil.Marcus G. Singer - 2004 - Philosophy 79 (2):185-214.
Imagining Evil (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Sopranos).James Harold - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 12:7-14.
The Nature of Evil a Reply to Garrard.Christopher Hamilton - 1999 - Philosophical Explorations 2 (2):122 – 138.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2011-09-01

Total views
187 ( #42,435 of 2,286,119 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
12 ( #71,353 of 2,286,119 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature