Good vs. Evil

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Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 12:17 pm
Would good exists if there was no evil?

What do you think?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 12:44 pm
@philosopherqueen,
Of course not. They are opposites, and are defined in terms of each other. Evil is defined by good, good is defined by evil.

This sort of answer my seem too certain for philosophy, but I'm pretty sure Plato was wrong.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 10:26 pm
@philosopherqueen,
I suppose if there were no evil you would have to define things on a sliding good scale from "good to less good than"
 
philosopherqueen
 
Reply Wed 30 Apr, 2008 09:23 pm
@philosopherqueen,
Well if good is on a sliding scale from good to less good wouldn't there then be a type of evil without putting it in those terms?

I personally agree with Didymos, good could not exist without evil and evil couldn't exist without good.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 11:27 am
@philosopherqueen,
There would not necessa5rily have to be a type of evil there would only be levels of less optimal good. It is like the heap problem. One or two grains of sand does not make a heap, but 3 million would, at what point does it become a heap? Just like at what point does one thing defined by its opposite become its opposite?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 11:44 pm
@philosopherqueen,
But what is good? A heap requires a non-heap for us to know what a heap is, even if we have trouble identifying a line of demarcation between heap and small pile.

For us to understand what good is, we have to know what evil is. If we simply have a sliding slope from good to less good and so forth, have we done anything other than rename evil 'less optimal good'?
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Fri 2 May, 2008 12:17 pm
@philosopherqueen,
Exactly, the argument of the heap, Thomas, we really have no idea exactly where a definition, defining a relative concept is drawn.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 2 May, 2008 01:16 pm
@philosopherqueen,
Because concepts like good and evil, heap and not-heap, or anything else, are understood in relation to their opposite. Which is why, in order to understand good and evil we have to understand them in terms of each other. A grade from optimal good to less optimal good is meaningless unless we understand evil, or unless we assume less optimal good to mean evil.

So I do not see your proposal about various degrees of good, instead of evil, being a possibility.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Fri 2 May, 2008 04:25 pm
@philosopherqueen,
With that argument everything has a defined opposite, dog not dog, waffle not waffle, singing not singing so that would mean with the heap and good/evil that the only thing that was evil would be anything which had absolutly no good, and good would be that which absolutly had no evil, leaving no act that had a little of both. So everything would either have to be varying degrees of good, unless it contained no good, or varying degrees of evil unless it contained no evil.
 
Pessimist
 
Reply Sat 3 May, 2008 03:25 pm
@GoshisDead,
What is good, what is evil?

As far as I'm concerned they are both manifestations of the same thing which is the selfish ego.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sat 3 May, 2008 04:55 pm
@philosopherqueen,
Yeah, basically, Pessimist.

Gosh- I think we have to be careful here. Good and evil are just words, there is nothing inherently good, or inherently evil, or inherently any degree of the two. In other words, good and evil as nouns I think is meaningless; they should be used as adjectives.

But, yes, everything has an opposite, though I'm hesitant to call them defined. If they are defined, they are defined in terms of each other. Think about it. How do you know what a computer is unless you know what is not a computer? Dog doesn't mean anything unless you know what is not-dog.

Sorry if these are not the most philosophically refined reflections.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Sun 4 May, 2008 12:35 pm
@philosopherqueen,
[QUOTE]
Because concepts like good and evil, heap and not-heap, or anything else, are understood in relation to their opposite
[/QUOTE]

I don't think good and evil is a concept like heap and not heap. When we talk of heap and not heap we are always relating our concepts with physical items that either exits or don't exist respectively. When we talk of good and evil we are not relating these concepts to any thing physical, and we can't say of them 'Here is good and here is evil', like we do 'Here is a heap, and here is no heap'.

So I ask, in what manner is evil the opposite of good?

[QUOTE]
But, yes, everything has an opposite
[/QUOTE]

While trying to defend the argument that there is no evil only gradations of good, I came up with the analogy of comparing good to heat. I'm sure you have all heard this before, but here goes: Something cannot posses cold, things only possess heat, things feel cold because they are taking heat away, everything possess heat energy. Cold is just a word we use to describe relatively low amounts of heat (for example 3 degrees Kelvin).

Good can be describe the same way, no action is in itself evil, they just become almost absolutely devoid of good. At a certain point we label these actions as evil, but really they are just more devoid of good than other actions.

Now, this argument isn't the best, so I am only using it as a segue to my question:

What about the opposite of Heat? From what I understand everything possesses heat energy, and the theoretical absolute zero has never and can never be obtained, therefore leaving no opposite for heat.

(addendum: I don't have a great scientific background, so I could very well be wrong about heat)
 
Pessimist
 
Reply Sun 4 May, 2008 03:39 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Yeah, basically, Pessimist.

Gosh- I think we have to be careful here. Good and evil are just words, there is nothing inherently good, or inherently evil, or inherently any degree of the two. In other words, good and evil as nouns I think is meaningless; they should be used as adjectives.

But, yes, everything has an opposite, though I'm hesitant to call them defined. If they are defined, they are defined in terms of each other. Think about it. How do you know what a computer is unless you know what is not a computer? Dog doesn't mean anything unless you know what is not-dog.

Sorry if these are not the most philosophically refined reflections.



Quote:

Yeah, basically, Pessimist.

Gosh- I think we have to be careful here. Good and evil are just words, there is nothing inherently good, or inherently evil, or inherently any degree of the two. In other words, good and evil as nouns I think is meaningless; they should be used as adjectives.
Words are utterly meaningless without a person speaking them and intentions are relative.

Quote:

But, yes, everything has an opposite, though I'm hesitant to call them defined. If they are defined, they are defined in terms of each other. Think about it. How do you know what a computer is unless you know what is not a computer? Dog doesn't mean anything unless you know what is not-dog.
Of course. It is only the naivety of religion, mythology, superstitious belief, novelties, metaphysics, and religious like governments under dualistic pretenses that try to define them as such absolutely.

Quote:

Sorry if these are not the most philosophically refined reflections.
They will suffice.

de Silentio wrote:


I don't think good and evil is a concept like heap and not heap. When we talk of heap and not heap we are always relating our concepts with physical items that either exits or don't exist respectively. When we talk of good and evil we are not relating these concepts to any thing physical, and we can't say of them 'Here is good and here is evil', like we do 'Here is a heap, and here is no heap'.

So I ask, in what manner is evil the opposite of good?



While trying to defend the argument that there is no evil only gradations of good, I came up with the analogy of comparing good to heat. I'm sure you have all heard this before, but here goes: Something cannot posses cold, things only possess heat, things feel cold because they are taking heat away, everything possess heat energy. Cold is just a word we use to describe relatively low amounts of heat (for example 3 degrees Kelvin).

Good can be describe the same way, no action is in itself evil, they just become almost absolutely devoid of good. At a certain point we label these actions as evil, but really they are just more devoid of good than other actions.

Now, this argument isn't the best, so I am only using it as a segue to my question:

What about the opposite of Heat? From what I understand everything possesses heat energy, and the theoretical absolute zero has never and can never be obtained, therefore leaving no opposite for heat.

(addendum: I don't have a great scientific background, so I could very well be wrong about heat)


Quote:
So I ask, in what manner is evil the opposite of good?
Excellent question.

Good and evil, right or wrong to me is nothing beyond the three categories of preference, perspective and aesthetics.

I have seen nothing to describe these dualistic positions beyond being likes and dislikes of certain narrow specific things or actions.
 
ltdaleadergt
 
Reply Mon 5 May, 2008 08:40 am
@Pessimist,
yes we just wouldnt know it did.
 
Pessimist
 
Reply Mon 5 May, 2008 01:32 pm
@ltdaleadergt,
<daleader> wrote:
yes we just wouldnt know it did.


Unkowable. Is that what you are trying to say?

( Like moral skepticism? If so I agree.)
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 5 May, 2008 01:37 pm
@philosopherqueen,
Quote:
I don't think good and evil is a concept like heap and not heap. When we talk of heap and not heap we are always relating our concepts with physical items that either exits or don't exist respectively. When we talk of good and evil we are not relating these concepts to any thing physical, and we can't say of them 'Here is good and here is evil', like we do 'Here is a heap, and here is no heap'.

So I ask, in what manner is evil the opposite of good?


Sure, heap usually refers to something physical. But what about happy and unhappy?

In any case, I don't really see the issue. Does it matter if the terms refer to something physical?

As for your questions, I'm not really sure how to answer it. Evil is the opposite of good because we only understand evil if we understand good. Knolwedge of one begets the knowledge of the other. At least, this seems to be true, I could be wrong.

As for the discussion of heat, you make a very interesting point.

But let me ask - how can you know heat if you do not know no-heat? Basically, heat is motion of certain particles, the faster those particles move, the more heat, the slower they move, the less heat, and when they do not move at all, you have absolute zero. You point out that absolute zero is only theoretical, we have never encountered absolute zero. However, we obviously know what abolsute zero is. And it seems that we theorize about absolute zero so that we might have that not-heat point of refernce from which we can understand heat.

Zero implies one, one implies two. Heat implies non-heat, or absolute zero like good implies evil, and evil implies good.

But let's be careful - heat we can measure. Good and evil do not have measures.

Quote:
Of course. It is only the naivety of religion, mythology, superstitious belief, novelties, metaphysics, and religious like governments under dualistic pretenses that try to define them as such absolutely.


Sometimes. But there are also religions, mythologies, ect, that reject this sort of dualism.
 
Pessimist
 
Reply Mon 5 May, 2008 02:21 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Quote:

Sometimes. But there are also religions, mythologies, ect, that reject this sort of dualism.


Where they instead embrace a different kind of dualism but nonetheless is still a dualism.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 5 May, 2008 02:37 pm
@philosopherqueen,
Maybe, but even then, not all religions, mythologies, ect suffer from dualism.
 
Pessimist
 
Reply Mon 5 May, 2008 02:44 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Maybe, but even then, not all religions, mythologies, ect suffer from dualism.


All religions ironically have beliefs about good or evil, purity and impurity.

Righteousness and unrighteousness, worthiness and unworthiness, and ect.

( Insert judgement, prejudice and segragation in there too as a worldly element of global societies.)

All cultures are relatively different in how they apply these sort of things no doubt but remain very similar.

Quote:
not all religions, mythologies, ect suffer from dualism.


When you say that I can't help but feel comedic.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 5 May, 2008 03:03 pm
@philosopherqueen,
Quote:
All religions ironically have beliefs about good or evil,


Taoist texts have passages about good and evil, yet Taoism is not dualistic.

And you laugh at the notion of religion and mythology without dualism, but when you have had your moment, some study would do you good. Even in the Judeo-Christian tradition, we find words against dualism. God told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. When they did, they were cast out of paradise. The adoption of dualism is what pushed Adam and Eve out of paradise.
 
 

 
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