RE: Evil ? (was: Hypostases (was: Natural Order & Belief)

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Sun, 17 Dec 2006 13:26:43 +1100

>>> Democratic system are
> >> more
> >> efficient to explore the political landscape and thus more efficient
> >> in
> >> probability to satisfy "soul's natural attraction" toward the "good".
> >
> > The soul's natural attraction towards the good might be compared to
> > the body's
> > natural attraction to keep dry.
> OK.
> > You might predict that every society would use
> > umbrellas of some sort.
> OK.
> > If a society did not use umbrellas, that would be surprising.
> OK.
> > If they did not use them because they did not believe that rain is wet
> > or because
> > they believed that God in his mercy would make the raindrops miss
> > them, then they
> > would be *wrong*.
> OK.
> > If they did not use them because they didn't want to despite the
> > discomfort that getting wet causes them then they would be strange and
> > foolish, but
> > they would not be *wrong*.
> OK.
> > There is a fundamental difference.
> ? OK. (I don't see the point).
The analogous statements are:
a1. umbrellas keep you dry
a2. feeding the poor reduces their suffering
We can agree on the definition of the words and on the facts asserted. If
there is disagreement on the definition, for example if you were thinking of
a teapot when you heard the term "umbrella", then it would be a simple matter
to show a picture of an umbrella and a teapot and resolve the misunderstanding.
If there is a disagreement on whether umbrellas do in fact keep you dry, or
whether feeding starving people reduces their suffering, then we could go out
into the rain with and without an umbrella or interview a starving person before
and after he has been fed, and reach agreement that way.
In contrast, consider:
b1. we should use umbrellas when going out in the rain
b2. we should feed the poor if they are hungry
We might expect that most people would agree with these statements. However,
if there is disagreement, there is no way to resolve it. I could say that I don't care
if I get wet, despite the discomfort, and I don't care if the poor starve, despite the
fact that this will cause them suffering. I could even say that I do care about these
things, but as part of my personal ethical system I don't believe it is good to use
umbrellas or feed the poor. Moreover, I don't have to justify it in terms of other
ethical principles or commandments from God: what I feel is what I feel, and that's
all there is to it. You can try to persuade me that I should feel differently, but you
can't do this by persuading me that I am wrong in my facts, my reasoning, or that
we are defining terms differently.
Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Sat Dec 16 2006 - 21:27:01 PST

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