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02 Bad Wrongdoing & Evil - Three concepts the idea of...

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Unformatted text preview: Three concepts: the idea of something that is bad, something that is wrong, and something that is evil. Bad The first philosopher in the western philosophical tradition: Socrates, brought up the bad and the evil in dialogues. Socrates is interested in human life as opposed to the study of the nature of reality – he is the founder of ethics. Socrates is famous for a claim of his that all wrong-doing is involuntary, that evil itself is involuntary. Socrates held that people always go after what seems to be good to them, they always desire the good. But what seems to be good to them might not really be good, it might really be bad. What seems to be good then would really be bad, and this would stem from ignorance. Ignorance is involuntary so wrongdoing is involuntary. What seems to be good seems to be pleasing, but the person is unaware that this good-seeming is full of bad consequences. Socrates recommended as the greatest science of all that of the measurement of pleasure and pain in the dialogue Protagoras . Plato himself has a theory that goodness (all forms thereof) have a common characteristic, and this is what makes good things good. All of these different types of goodness is some kind of pattern that constitutes their goodness, which runs through their particulars (a form of the good). Digression into a discussion of the Eide now……… Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics – no universal pattern for goodness. “Piety requires us to honor truth above our friends.” The common idea of the good is the end to which the means go. There is no such thing as a one science of the good. “If there is a form of good, it cannot be achieved or reached by man. Only God can gaze at it.” Aristotle’s good is a polymorphous concept – it takes many forms, no common measure. Generally the opposite of good is bad – we can take a hint and say that bad is a polymorphous concept as well. There is no common measure to the bad as well then. A = Bad B = Wrongdoings a subset of A C = Evil acts, a subset of B Bad >> Wrongdoings >> Evil acts Let us say that in the classes, we are including all things that we call bad or that we call wrongdoings or that we call evil – we are trying to do better. George Henrik von Wright’s The Varieties of Goodness : One kind of good is instrumental goods (good knife, car, house, etc.) Instrumental goods serve human needs and purposes. Turn this upside down – instrumental bads are instruments that fail to serve human needs and purposes (bad knife [not sharp], bad car [doesn’t run properly]). The second kind of goodness is technical goodness: good at doing something (good carpenter, good artist, good dentist, good doctor). All these people are skilled at bringing about some good. Turn this upside down – technical badness is when someone lacks a skill (bad carpenters can’t build things right; bad dentists don’t fix your teeth, etc.) There is medical goodness – good eyes, good memory, good kidneys. The bad is bodily dysfunction (bad eyes, bad memory, bad kidneys). So for each good, there is a standard of proper bodily dysfunction (bad eyes, bad memory, bad kidneys)....
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02 Bad Wrongdoing & Evil - Three concepts the idea of...

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