• Trey
    39
    Is it totally relative to religion/culture you were brought up in? Or is there a totally SECULAR way to define it? Well, that’s the biggest question in philosophy! Ex: is killing Evil? What if you kill a person who has hurt many people? My definition of Evil is “That Which Increases Suffering (in magnitude or in numbers). In my definition for instance, the Catholic Church is evil because it’s No Birth Control policy has caused overpopulation and poverty to MILLIONS! Joe Rogan agrees and he was born Catholic. I deny the Abrahamic god and in my definition that god is Evil.
  • Trey
    39
    PS - in my definition of Evil, ignorance would be considered Evil. Some ignorant religious zealots resist genetic alterations that can make us live better and longer. That witholds something that reduces suffering. Letting people with low IQ vote is Evil. Teaching people to be withering unworthy sheep- evil.
  • unenlightened
    6.2k
    My definition of Evil is “That Which Increases Suffering (in magnitude or in numbers).Trey

    So rock-climbing and football are evil, because people get hurt. Cars are evil because there are traffic accidents. Your definition is the antinatalist definition, and results, when you think it through, in life being evil, and death good. because life increases suffering and death reduces it. This seems completely backwards to me.
  • Trey
    39
    So, yes sometimes I do feel a quick death is better than life here on earth with these talking monkeys. BUT, aside from death - how do you define evil?
  • unenlightened
    6.2k
    Definitions are over-rated. But I would start by saying that good and evil are relations between persons and persons, or persons and things or persons and relations; and the nature of the relation is judgemental.

    sometimes I do feel a quick death is better than life here on earth with these talking monkeys.Trey

    So I understand this to be your judgement of your own life, and possibly by extension, a judgement of life in general. Now if you are in constant terrible pain because of some untreatable medical condition, then I do not presume ... However, I hope this is not the case, and then it will be my judgement of your judgement that it is a misjudgement.

    I would not say it is evil, but perhaps evil could come of it. But the Christian tradition, or a Christian tradition anyway, understands sin to be "missing the mark" (the mark being the target an archer aims at, for instance). I like the flavour of this, because it puts evil in the world of good, as in a sense always a mistake. This is not much taught these days, and it may seem an extravagant idea.
  • Trey
    39
    Have someone read your text - it’s a very haphazard and difficult way of saying stuff. Anyway, you don’t like “definitions”. Sorry bud, that’s part of life - you have to have definitions or language is meaningless!
    The whole point your missing is that Abrahamic Religion is not the definition of good and evil to everyone. I’m reaching for a totally independent definition (not in the Bible). What would an alien see as evil?
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    304


    The dictionaries effectively define evil as that which is immoral. As morals are made up in our mind, evil would be relative to each person.
  • Ciceronianus
    2.2k
    Joe Rogan agrees and he was born Catholic.Trey

    Someone born Catholic disagrees with Church doctrine? Mirabile dictu!

    What would an alien see as evil?Trey

    Other aliens, I would guess, for one thing.
  • Trey
    39
    Joe Rogan thinks the Catholic Church is evil. He said it on his show
  • Trey
    39
    @rabbithole
    So, morality would be RELATIVE to each person’s culture. BUT... can we (as open philosophers) come with a “Universal/Non-Biblical/independent”definition of Evil?!
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    304


    So, morality would be RELATIVE to each person’s culture. BUT... can we (as open philosophers) come with a “Universal/Non-Biblical/independent”definition of Evil?!Trey

    Even people of the same culture sometimes have different morals. It is most accurate to say morality is relative to each person.

    I agree with your definition of evil:

    My definition of Evil is “That Which Increases Suffering (in magnitude or in numbers).Trey

    However this cannot be universal, as other people think there are things that take precedence over suffering. For example, as you have alluded to, taking away the right to vote of those less intelligent, may lead to less overall suffering, but people see democracy as more important than this.
  • ghostlycutter
    67
    Evil is the way we go about committing life crimes against good, but some bad things can be good ~at a future time. A good metaphor, robbing a bank - at the time we are robbing a bank we are not rich, but afterward we are.

    Let's say I want to break a law as determined by good ethics and leadership, such as 'do not kill' - evil (in this case impersonal evil; against another good), is the activity, thought process, or even the passivity and subliminal thought, or further, involved in breaking that law.

    Inherently the best of people are both good and evil, sacrifices are sought after in vein, but balance is ought.
  • Trey
    39
    On stupid people voting - wouldn’t it be better to take away these dumb peoples rights if it meant less suffering overall?! I mean that would be the higher moral. Ex: my dog run run all over the neighborhood if he had HIS Choice - but he would probably get hit by a car if I didn’t be authoritarian and keep him in the fence
  • TheMadFool
    13.9k
    Zinloos Geweld (Senseless Violence)

    Evil is incomprehensible!
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    304


    On stupid people voting - wouldn’t it be better to take away these dumb peoples rights if it meant less suffering overall?! I mean that would be the higher moral.Trey

    I think so, but the only ultimate reason we think reducing suffering takes precedence over democracy is because we feel it should, which is the same reason others have for taking precedence of democracy over reducing suffering. We can't have an objective standard for morality or evil, when they are contingent on our feelings.
  • bert1
    969
    Definitions are over-rated.unenlightened

    I think he is as much asking for a theory of evil as a definition. Although exploring what people mean by the word is interesting in this case. Definition and theory blend I think with this concept.
  • Trey
    39
    @rabbit
    So, if my dog (who I love and is not very intelligent) FEELS like running the neighborhood free is moral, then I should allow that even though he may get hit by a car or kill my neighbor s cat, etc.??
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    304


    So, if my dog (who I love and is not very intelligent) FEELS like running the neighborhood free is moral, then I should allow that even though he may get hit by a car or kill my neighbor s cat, etc.??Trey

    I didn't say we should comply with other people's (and animal's) moral standards. We should fight for ours.

    Just that we can't have an objective moral standard, because each persons morals are dependent on their feelings.
  • unenlightened
    6.2k
    I think he is as much asking for a theory of evil as a definition. Although exploring what people mean by the word is interesting in this case. Definition and theory blend I think with this concept.bert1

    You may be right, but I don't seem to be communicating a theory either.

    I didn't say we should comply with other people's (and animal's) moral standards. We should fight for ours.

    Just that we can't have an objective moral standard, because each persons morals are dependent on their feelings.
    Down The Rabbit Hole

    Do you not notice that folks tell each other and themselves what they ought to do, and they generally contrast it with 'what one feels like doing. A dog ought to do what it is told, and an obedient dog is a good dog. People are a bit more complicated...
  • Alkis Piskas
    675
    Topic: What Is Evil



    Is it totally relative to religion/culture you were brought up in? Or is there a totally SECULAR way to define it? Well, that’s the biggest question in philosophy! Ex: is killing Evil? What if you kill a person who has hurt many people? My definition of Evil is “That Which Increases Suffering (in magnitude or in numbers). In my definition for instance, the Catholic Church is evil because it’s No Birth Control policy has caused overpopulation and poverty to MILLIONS! Joe Rogan agrees and he was born Catholic. I deny the Abrahamic god and in my definition that god is Evil.Trey

    I like your definition of "evil" and I agree with it as a viewpoint. However, there's much more to say about that, which can prove that "good" and "evil" are or should be considered as objective things (attributes, attitudes, acts, etc.)

    Yesterday I wrote a reply on a very similar topic: Thoughts on defining evil. So, if you are interested, you can read that reply at https://thephilosophyforum.com/profile/comments/10626/alkis-piskas
  • Trey
    39
    Thanks for joining my rhetoric! Yes, we need to analyze good and evil totally aside from any religious reference.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.8k

    Oh, I think that I now understand why you started another thread on what is evil. You thought that mine was based on religious assumptions. That is fine, but I will simply reassure you that I was not really coming from that angle, and I, and others in the thread embrace the question in the widest possible way.
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    304


    Do you not notice that folks tell each other and themselves what they ought to do, and they generally contrast it with 'what one feels like doing. A dog ought to do what it is told, and an obedient dog is a good dog. People are a bit more complicated...unenlightened

    Yes, like the "ought" just came out of thin air.
  • 180 Proof
    7k
    ... because, y'know, that other "evil" thread. :roll:

    In a nonreligious / secular context, or discourse, evil amounts to ... indifference to, or inflicting, gratuitous harm that culminates in destroying moral agency.180 Proof
    Well ... if personal conduct (e.g. murder, torture/rape, betrayal) or systemic practices (e.g. peonage/slavery, capital punishment, tyranny/terrorism) or natural events (e.g. psychosis, plague, famine) which, at least in effect, gratuitously destroy moral agency are not "evils", then I don't understand what is meant by "evil".180 Proof
  • Gellert Marvollo Potter
    2
    See what you consider of evil is not completely true , but then again that on itself is not false either.You see the Catholic Church, of which you criticise, was rather evil to your perception or rather evil to you, as you see it. How ever the ones ruling the catholic system think what they're doing is right.
    In an other instance, when a war is raised, one side thinks the other to be evil.
    So I think the perception of good , or evil is just mere words and there are no true definition of good or evil.
    It is how we perceive a situation or a person or anything that gives us the concept of it being good or evil.
    It is because ,that there is no proper definition of good or evil that all kinds of chaos and wars are raised, for one something is good, for the other it is evil.

    in the end "GOOD" or "EVIL" is nothing but just a standpoint , or how we perceive it.
  • MAYAEL
    166
    For a person to be evil it requires them to have good intentions
    but all semantics aside there is fundamentally only growth and decay what we call evil usually fits in the category of decay
  • unenlightened
    6.2k
    Yes, like the "ought" just came out of thin air.Down The Rabbit Hole

    Wherever it came from, it did not seem to come from 'what one feels like', but from 'what one does not feel like'. At the least, it is a divided feeling of 'I want to, but...'

    in the end "GOOD" or "EVIL" is nothing but just a standpoint , or how we perceive it.Gellert Marvollo Potter

    Why the 'nothing but just' there, as if caring about anything is trivial?
  • Cheshire
    1k
    My definition of Evil is “That Which Increases Suffering (in magnitude or in numbers)Trey
    The trouble this runs into is it equates two things. We know not all suffering can be the result of evil. It's a good starting point because it casts a wide net and captures the bulk of what we associate with evil. But, it applies to things that aren't evil and simply result in suffering.

    If I'm walking around the house in the dark and catch my foot on the leg of chair. There is suffering, but no evil. So, suffering alone can not denote evil.

    I don't really have a cohesive theory of evil. It seems like a tool for story telling. To be evil would require the empathy to understand the harm that's been inflicted and desire it. Most of what I think would be called evil by mistake are actions taken without empathy. They are morally wrong in many cases, but to truly capture evil it would have to be something like "causing suffering for the sake of suffering". Evil would have to be an end in itself.
  • schopenhauer1
    6.5k
    The trouble this runs into is it equates two things. We know not all suffering can be the result of evil. It's a good starting point because it casts a wide net and captures the bulk of what we associate with evil. But, it applies to things that aren't evil and simply result in suffering.Cheshire

    Perhaps then, since life as we know it entails evil it is evil to make more of it. Then the widecast net might be correct, but it just encompasses the continuation of life, something people don't want to think about due to their preferences and such.
  • Cheshire
    1k
    Perhaps then, since life as we know it entails evil it is evil to make more of it. Then the widecast net might be correct, but it just encompasses the continuation of life, something people don't want to think about due to their preferences and such.schopenhauer1
    Well, my complaint was casting too wide of a net by equating suffering and evil. The solution you are offering is broadening it and adding a specific implication. Then, supposing the emotional reaction to the implication; then explaining it.

    If I'm thinking all suffering isn't the result of evil, then thinking all life which includes all suffering is somehow evil would require a contradictory logic I can't produce. I'd offer a narrowing down of the term which may still show creating more life is evil, but I don't know how.
  • schopenhauer1
    6.5k
    If I'm thinking all suffering isn't the result of evil, then thinking all life which includes all suffering is somehow evil would require a contradictory logic I can't produce. I'd offer a narrowing down of the term which may still show creating more life is evil, but I don't know how.Cheshire

    I am saying that if you retain that all suffering is evil, and life entails suffering, then we can prevent evil by not procreating. The key here is whether life entails some sort of evil, like suffering. If it is almost a 100% inevitability.

    Of course another ethic would be something like forcing (inevitable and known) bad on other people's behalf.. which procreation is eventually doing to someone else. Do not do that which is known to bring negative states to others if one can prevent it.

    Once alive, suicide is rare, and a struggle, but not because torment and anguish is rare, because getting rid of one's very being in response to it, is a hard move to make unless in extreme psychological distress. Better to prevent the inevitable anguish in the first place rather than cruelly leaving it up to suicide or some sort of suffering-relief scheme once one is already born and must deal with the suffering in the first place. But then "most people" will use the "most people defense".. see here: https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/11469/the-most-people-defense
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