Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Objective ‘Good’ or ‘Evil’ – Jackson Lam

Is there an objective ‘good,’ or ‘evil’?

A question that I initially thought would be relatively difficult to answer, I decided to spend time searching through several articles and theories regarding the question. My interest grew as I did not know whether or not my own actions were ‘good,’ or ‘evil’. What I wanted to learn from this question is if society as a whole, all believes there are actions or situations that would always be right, or be wrong.

“…to act morally is to act in accordance with moral reality or moral truth: one’s action corresponds with the way things are, morally speaking. Second, that correspondence cannot be a matter of luck. When an agent acts morally – even if the act is no more than the mental act of willing, deciding or intending something – this cannot be accidental, just the way things happened to turn out.”

After some reading, my attention was given to David S. Oderberg, in his paper: “All for the Good”. From my understanding, Oderberg believes that to claim something is good there are two main factors. There has to be a previous action that results in the conclusion of it to be “good”, and actions we unconsciously make are things that the individual knows is good. However, a key word that is used commonly in the paper is the word “moral” which is what society believes to be the right. The problem I see with this idea is that there are many cultures and societies throughout the world. Is it even possible for everyone to share the exact same beliefs? An example of this could be that we are told to never let food go to waste. In some areas of China, it is rude to completely finish your plate of food. We all grow in an area where we are influenced to act in a specific way and follow the rules. To go further into ‘evil’, a reasonable case to study would be a killing of another human. An idea that is commonly agreed upon is the fact that it is wrong to kill another human. Therefore it must be ‘evil’. What if the person killed was a drug lord, murderer, or a thief? Would the action then be considered ‘good’? It could also be considered revenge, but to answer that, the situation has to be broken down to the point where it is up to a single individual to decide whether or not they feel that it was the right or wrong thing to do. That is why it has come to my conclusion that there will never be an action that can always be good, or always evil. A question that I have now brought upon myself after this would be, how did, or where did cultural beliefs originate?


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