• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In today's society, there is a tendency to associate the concepts of what is bad and what is evil.

Extracts from this document...


In today's society, there is a tendency to associate the concepts of what is bad and what is evil. Only in cases of acute malevolence are we inclined to delineate evil as the more severe condemnation. The only certainty in popular morality is an opposition between the forces of good and evil. In The Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals, Kant discusses his definitions of good and morality. He touches on what he considers to be bad, and he makes a slight discrepancy between bad and evil. In his article, A Kantian Theory of Evil, Ernesto Garcia elaborates on Kant's work by asserting the theory that evil is distinctly different from ordinary immoral acts. Garcia begins his article by discussing our general inclination to regard evil acts as things that more deeply offend than simple misconduct, such as rape, murder, or brutal torture. However, he argues that this view "simply reduces the difference between evil and immoral acts to a mere quantitative analysis". ...read more.


However, in Fundamentals, Kant introduces a new idea into his theory - one in which he identifies two distinct things that must happen with moral action: humanity is the mandatory end that must not be defied, and our own personal happiness must coincide with virtue. This description of morality differs greatly from Kant's description of immorality. Here he makes the distinction between acts that are "heteronymous" and those that are immoral. He says that there are only two guidelines for our actions as humans: self-love and the universal principle of morality, which he characterizes as "the maxim of your will [always holding] at the same time as a principle in the giving of universal law". He clarifies immoral acts as not only something a person does out of context with universal law, but also something he or she creates and defends as universal for personal means to an end. In this way, he suggests that self-love provides a strength superior to moral law itself. ...read more.


At this point, the value of humanity is not ignored. The challenger just chooses to deny that the members of the alternative race are, in fact, human. However, in this case, we cannot claim that we are just following orders, so in essence this type of evil involves a good amount of self-deception as well. This theory of the definition of evil holds true historically as well as modernly. Whether a matter of self-love or the disregard for God's will, it deprives us of our being, our selves. And not only that, but it makes human life a means for our own agenda. By doing this, we have created an entirely new level of immorality, something much deeper and much more inhuman. Innately, we all have the desire to be happy and to do well. However, sometimes our love of self takes over and convinces us that using others to get what we want or what we need is acceptable. We are then morally corrupted, and that natural incentive has begun to dehumanize us. Therein lies the distinction between immorality, and pure evil. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Ethics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Ethics essays

  1. Explain how a Hindu marriage service might guide a couple in their married life?

    Hindu men sometimes perform household tasks, but usually they are seen as women's duties. I agree that there is no need for a couple to get married if they truly love each other, because it is the couple choice if they want to get married or not, and I have

  2. Famine, Affluence and Morality - Peter Singer.

    This leads to an interesting question as to whether it is better or not to create more capitalist societies. Singer, being a bio ethicist and a strong anti-war and animal rights protester, would probably think that a capitalist society would not benefit anybody.

  1. Are all human actions motivated by self-interest?

    the protection of the law, therefore the forming of a social contract is not intrinsically good, it is instrumentally good. However, the idea of ethical egoism contains an inner contradiction.

  2. Problems with Utilitarian and Kantian Ethics.

    of many others, the integrity of the murdered wife is defenseless under this theory. Harwood presents a defense from the standpoint of the utilitarian, that "we need not develop a moral principle that covers every imaginable problem in every fantasy land."1 This argument is responded by saying that regardless of

  1. Discuss whether moral judgments are subjective or objective

    That the distinction made is not one of greatest pleasure the taste and opinions of Mill, indeed who is to say that drinking is a lower form of pleasure that art. Moreover, the argument has also been out forward that 'general happiness' is impossible to calculate.

  2. How can you or your society decide ethically which knowledge should or should not ...

    research would be based simply upon what people want, where demand boosts, because the firms' main objective is to make as much profit as possible. It's because of this, that all countries have some kind of government - to make sure that there is a line, on which you do

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work