Monday, February 05, 2018



D. R. Khashaba

I do not see evil as a philosophical problem. Evil is a human product, a disease brought about by the species proudly parading the banner ‘Homo sapoens’and has to be treated by humans.

Evil can be seen as a theoretical probkem only in the context of transcendent theism. On the hypothesis that the world has been created and is ruled by an all-knowing and all-powerful God the existence of evil is an insuperable challenge defying all theologies and all theodicies. The stale argument that to have freewill humans had to be capable of perpetrating wrong is a sham. In the first place, human freedom is best realized not in choice but in the spontaneity of deeds of love and creative activity. Secondly, choice need not be between good and bad; it can be between alternatives that are equally god but mutually exclusive. The alternative to sitting at my desk writing a philosophical essay need not be going to a brothel but going to a concert.

Leaving theologies and theodicies behind, what is evil? Death is not an evil but an ontological necessity, for whatever comes into being as a finite existent has to pass away. Pain is a biological function, not an evil; and although once, under excruciating pain I thought that such pain must be accounted evil, when the pain abated I knew that that passing thought was a misjudgment. I am convinced that only pain willfully inflicted by a human being on a living thing is evil.

But alas! our world is full and overfull of that one inexcusable evil. It is not only that there are the carnages committed by (1) those whose minds have been captivated by superstitions, and (2) those whose minds have been corrupted by various misfortunes in their life experiences, but, leaving aside the acts of terrorism fuelled by superstitions (of religion, of nationalism, etc.) and the atrocities committed by diseased minds — apart from that, our world is full of injustice: (1) advanced countries are usurping the less advanced countries, and (2) within the advanced countries a rich and powerful minority is usurping the poor and powerless majority. As long as these injustices are rampant it is almost impossible for normal individuals to be morally wholesome. In an unjust and insane worrld order even the best of us are tarnished.

When I started to write this paper I had intended to speak of the ordinary sins of us ordinary individuals and to propose that they are all, as Socrates maintained, due to ignorance and to exonerate Socrates’ moral philosophy of the charge of ‘intellectualism’. But I have already done this in my earlier writings and may revert to the subject again in a future paper.

D. R. Khashaba

February 5, 2018

Posted to xnd


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