• 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. 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.

  2. Problems with Utilitarian and Kantian Ethics.

    one cannot state that the actual amount of pain is any less for me or any more for her. It is strictly in the individual and each situation can only be evaluated on a contextual basis. Pleasure and pain are solely subjective experiences; there is no accounting or disputing matters of taste.

  1. Discuss whether moral judgments are subjective or objective

    Moreover the principal of verification cannot even pass its own test, as it is neither true by definition or by observation. Thus why should we base all moral judgments on a formula that fails its own test? Consequently; the conclusions and results of this principal are largely disagreeable.

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

    if that person died, when they could have at least tried to save them. In other words, people can perform benevolent acts, but they cannot act benevolently. Humans cannot help acting in their own self-interest, even when they are helping others.

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

    only Tom's prides (my feelings are irrelevant as I do not sit on this scale, I find myself instead the fulcrum). Thereby I do not enquire. Whilst the ideologies involved in utilitarianism have many merits, when they are applied to human problems they often become legalistic and calculating, I feel

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

    World population has risen dramatically, and population of India has gone faster than that of many other countries. The Indian government has encouraged people to use contraception and limit their family to two or three children, and Hinduism does not object to this policy.

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