View Single Post
Old 12-12-2011, 01:40 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The sylvan exurbs west of Boston Massachusetts.
Posts: 1,328
Default Re: Lessons Learned: Beyond Good and Evil (Robert Wright & Alan Wolfe)

Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
To perhaps shorten the point I was trying to make in my extended diatribe above, the problem with "evil" in foreign policy discussions is that it's a side step of the justification for the use of force. If someone is "evil," the good must oppose him or her, regardless of the broader discussion about when force can and should be used.
I don't completely recognize the connection between evilness and the justification of force. I would use force when it's beneficial to use force, without direct constraint by religious considerations. I mean, if there are religious considerations, (and I'm not denying there are) they flow for me into the calculation of what's "beneficial".

Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
I do agree with you that complaining about the overuse of the term "evil" is not really the issue, though. The issue is that it's a confusion of categories. Also, it's -- I think -- a failure to be clear about what "evil" is when we talk about it in the correct context, the moral or theological one.
Talking to Ocean has convinced me that I don't have the same response to the word "evil" that some people do. Perhaps it's because I'm not intimately immersed in religious traditions. I certainly do consider "evil" to be a stronger word than "bad", but I haven't grasped this business of word "categories". Categories come from context. I don't think of isolated words as being heavily fraught with categories. I use metaphors freely.

Anyway, I think it's important for everyone to understand that words don't have the same effect on all people.

Last edited by Simon Willard; 12-12-2011 at 01:49 PM..
Reply With Quote