Defining Evil Wije Analysis

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“Defining Evil” Summary Stephen De Wijze piece titled “Defining Evil” explores the definition of an old saying, “dirty hands” in which people who have committed evil crimes lose moral innocence and have a permanent stain on their morality. The main idea being, what should be considered evil. Wijze recalls three conditions throughout his text to describe what is considered evil, he labels them as A,B and C. Moreover, Condition A is the “Deliberate violation of a person(s) with the intention to dehumanise.” (Wijze 218) Condition B is that “The action or project will inflict one or more of “The Great Harms” to sentient beings with the relevant moral standing.” (Wijze 218) Here, the “Great Harms” is a reference to the ideas that people consider to be evil based on their own beliefs. Consequently, condition C Is “The action or project which seeks to annihilate the “moral landscape.” (Wijze 218) The three conditions help us understand why evil…show more content…
Wijze then speaks on why some issues with evil intentions are accepted and why others are not. Taking drastic measures when faced with evil often results in catastrophic acts. The acts Wijze chooses to talk about are, our wars. The main idea for this section being that wars are often accepted despite what they cause to happen. Wars often result in the deaths of innocent people, but we accept them still, because of what they have earned us. Accordingly, Wijze recognizes his oppressors. However, the “Historical/relativist” argument questions this approach based on its inability to relate to multiple evil actions that have taken place on a large scale, including historical events. Wijze clarifies his ideas stating, that because people use evil actions it does not mean that the society itself is evil. In his last paragraph Wijze repeats his three conditions and goes back to the “dirty hands” scenario clarifying that it is the moral of the person that causes them to feel remorse after taking part in an act
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