Evil, wrongdoing, and concept distinctness

Philosophical Studies 173 (6):1591-1602 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Philosophers theorizing about ‘evil’ usually distinguish evil actions from acts of ordinary wrongdoing. They either attempt to isolate some quality or set of qualities shared by all evil actions that is not found in other wrongful actions, or they concede that their account of evil is only distinguished by capturing the very worst acts on the scale of moral wrongness. The idea that evil is qualitatively distinct from wrongdoing has recently been under contention. We explore the grounds for this contention, and argue that there is a third option that might be useful for a variety of philosophical accounts of evil. The alternate form of distinctness we propose is called quality of emphasis distinctness. We illustrate this form of concept distinctness with a modified version of Hillel Steiner’s account of evil. We then explain how QE distinctness could also be applied to more complex theories of evil, such as the theories proposed by Claudia Card, John Kekes, and Todd Calder.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,480

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Is Evil Just Very Wrong?Todd Calder - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (1):177-196.
Evil and Its Opposite.Todd Calder - 2015 - Journal of Value Inquiry 49 (1-2):113-130.
Is Evil Action Qualitatively Distinct From Ordinary Wrongdoing?Luke Russell - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (4):659 – 677.
He Did It Because He Was Evil.Luke Russell - 2009 - American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (3):267 - 282.
Dispositional Accounts of Evil Personhood.Luke Russell - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (2):231 - 250.
On Evil.Adam Morton - 2004 - Routledge.
The Concept of Evil.Marcus G. Singer - 2004 - Philosophy 79 (2):185-214.
A Conception of Evil.Paul Formosa - 2008 - Journal of Value Inquiry 42 (2):217-239.
This Side of Evil.Michael Gelven - 1998 - Marquette University Press.
Evils, Wrongs and Dignity: How to Test a Theory of Evil.Paul Formosa - 2013 - Journal of Value Inquiry 47 (3):235-253.
A Philosophy of Evil.Lars Fr H. Svendsen - 2010 - Dalkey Archive Press.


Added to PP

141 (#87,752)

6 months
7 (#108,327)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Hallie Liberto
University of Maryland, College Park

References found in this work

The Roots of Evil.John Kekes - 2005 - Cornell University Press.
Is Evil Just Very Wrong?Todd Calder - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (1):177-196.
Evil: A Philosophical Investigation.Luke Russell - 2014 - Oxford University Press.

View all 14 references / Add more references