When you look back in life, you don't regret what you did, you regret what you never attempted.
Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:30 PM
This question definitely deserves to be in the philosophy forum, but I'll answer in my opinion, which is a resounding 'no'.
Good and Evil are descriptors from one point of view on one's actions. Whereas most would say Hitler was evil, some would not. Some would say the Pope is good, I personally would not. Cannibalism is still practiced in some parts of the world, to the western world, some would describe that as evil, some would be neutral, others would see it as good or possibly just a consequence of their conditions.
Let's use something more agreed upon... Is killing someone good or evil. The thinkers (which I hope is most) would ask the context of the kill, they are thinking intent is what matters. I would agree with them that intent is what matters, but it doesn't decide 'good' and 'evil'. Let's say I shoot a man who has a gun to a 5 year old's head, and the guy dies. I think most would say that is 'good'. Let's say that instead of the guy dieing when I shoot him, he's left incapacitated and the child is now safe... but I walk up and double tap the guy in the head. Is that 'good' or 'evil'? Some would say, "well, he was incapacitated, he didn't need to die, so that was 'evil'." Others would say, "you rid society of a dirtbag, that was 'good'."
Personally, I agree with the assessment that intent matters, but it's more of a 'selfish or selfless' thing.
Is someone doing a deed for themselves, or for others. I tend to think that the selfless are the 'good', and the selfish are the 'evil'. On top of that, things aren't so 'black and white'. Sometimes, selfless people make selfish acts, and vice versa. I just strive to stay on the selfless side of the meter.
Whenever someone makes a normative (value) claim, it has to pass three tests.
1) Role exchange: exchange places with someone who you wish to apply the claim/prescription.
i.e. murder and cannibalism are fine, everything's relative, man. How would you like it if someone murdered and ate you?
i.e. pedophilia is ethically ok, everything's relative, man. How would you like it if someone raped your infant?
2) New Cases Test: take the value premise (rule, principle) and apply it across cases to test it's strength.
every new case where the principle doesn't hold up, weakens the principle.
3) Consistency and Universality: inconsistent principles are unacceptable.
i.e. you should make promises with the intent of breaking them.
It's supposed to be Divine and Evil or Good and Bad. That's because people think of evil as worse than bad but not divinity as better than good. Completely different realms are introduced when talking about divinity and evil than when talking about good and bad. So to be all inclusive, and pretty much miss the point, people talk about good and evil when they are probably just meaning right and wrong.
Edited by markprice, 06 February 2013 - 10:01 PM.
"How can someone prove that a rainbow exists to a blind man?"