Philosophical Studies 149 (2):231 - 250 (2010)

Authors
Luke Russell
University of Sydney
Abstract
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)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-009-9344-3
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,657
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

On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford University Press.
A Materialist Theory of the Mind.D. Armstrong - 1968 - Philosophical Quarterly 19 (74):73-79.

View all 35 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Evil, Monsters and Dualism.Luke Russell - 2010 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (1):45-58.
The Asymmetry of Good and Evil.Philip Pettit - 2015 - In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Vol. 5. Oxford University Press. pp. 15-37.
In Defense of the Mirror Thesis.Peter Brian Barry - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (2):199-205.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Is All Evil Really Only Privation?John F. Crosby - 2001 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 75:197-209.
Extremity of Vice and the Character of Evil.Peter Brian Barry - 2010 - Journal of Philosophical Research 35:25-42.
A Philosophy of Evil.Lars Fr H. Svendsen - 2010 - Dalkey Archive Press.
This Side of Evil.Michael Gelven - 1998 - Marquette University Press.
Moral Monsters and Saints.Daniel M. Haybron - 2002 - The Monist 85 (2):260-284.
The Concept of Evil.Marcus G. Singer - 2004 - Philosophy 79 (2):185-214.
In Defense of the Mirror Thesis.Peter Brian Barry - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (2):199-205.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-02-16

Total views
153 ( #71,982 of 2,462,336 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #119,518 of 2,462,336 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes