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EVIL AND ENMITY

EVIL AND ENMITY 1. See John Kekes, Facing Evil (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990). For Kekes, any undeserved harm is an evil; I apply a further qualification. 10:2 Copyright 2004 by Duke University Press infections or earthquakes. This usage is not without hazard. Evil is not simply any undeserved harm, whose causes are many, including impersonal misfortune. To suffer evil is to suffer harm that you do not deserve at the hands of another (or others), and not simply at their hands but by the viciousness of their conduct, which is the distinctively human contribution to the misfortunes of the world. Vicious means done from vice (for instance, cowardice, selfishness, cruelty, or fanaticism). Evil — vicious behavior — occurs not when we fiendishly plot, but when we routinely or thoughtlessly reveal a bad character. As vicious injustice, evil requires somebody to do it as well as suffer it. Hence the hazard of calling infections or earthquakes evil: an implication of malice and agency where there is none. Their harm is undeserved only in the sense that desert does not enter into it. They happen and do harm, but there is no purpose, no agency, no moral viciousness, injustice, or evil. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Common Knowledge Duke University Press

EVIL AND ENMITY

Common Knowledge , Volume 10 (2) – Apr 1, 2004

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2004 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0961-754X
eISSN
1538-4578
DOI
10.1215/0961754X-10-2-185
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

1. See John Kekes, Facing Evil (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990). For Kekes, any undeserved harm is an evil; I apply a further qualification. 10:2 Copyright 2004 by Duke University Press infections or earthquakes. This usage is not without hazard. Evil is not simply any undeserved harm, whose causes are many, including impersonal misfortune. To suffer evil is to suffer harm that you do not deserve at the hands of another (or others), and not simply at their hands but by the viciousness of their conduct, which is the distinctively human contribution to the misfortunes of the world. Vicious means done from vice (for instance, cowardice, selfishness, cruelty, or fanaticism). Evil — vicious behavior — occurs not when we fiendishly plot, but when we routinely or thoughtlessly reveal a bad character. As vicious injustice, evil requires somebody to do it as well as suffer it. Hence the hazard of calling infections or earthquakes evil: an implication of malice and agency where there is none. Their harm is undeserved only in the sense that desert does not enter into it. They happen and do harm, but there is no purpose, no agency, no moral viciousness, injustice, or evil.

Journal

Common KnowledgeDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2004

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