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Definition Of What Good And Evil Are Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 965 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Hsun Tzu rejected the idea that humans had a natural inclination towards goodness. People were born with an evil mind and if the mind was to be properly trained, only then may it lead to goodness. He believed that all humans are bad by nature but he did not disagree with the fact that personal experiences and interactions could help to cure the evil mind and embody human goodness. For example, he believed that babies’ were evil because as soon as they are born they do not know any better. They do not know the difference between right and wrong. If a baby were to pull its mothers hair, it would not be considered a wrongful action. What humans define evil is the ideal evil of society. Doing something that makes somebody else uncomfortable or unhappy is considered a wrongful action, but whether or not it is, is a different story all together. Society has taught us that babies do not know the difference between right and wrong, therefore even if the action is considered wrong to a grown person, there is no way the baby knows what he or she is doing. Until you live life and are able to experience and interact with others, your mind is set to neutral. If a baby has not been taught the difference between right and wrong, regardless of what people who have been taught the difference believe, there is no possible way the baby’s actions are bad. Although Hsun Tzu believed this way, Mencius believed the complete opposite.

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Mencius believes that people are born ‘good’, and that it is the evil situations/surrounding that people are placed in that cause them to act evil. When discussing the Yi, it is referring to the way one values them self. As soon as a person falls under their own standards as a person, they are a disgrace to themselves as well as to everyone else. Keeping this in mind, because he believes that everyone is born with a ‘good’ mind, they only way to destroy that is yourself. Regardless of the experiences that life throws at you, its up to you to make sure you do not fall victim to the negative aspects that could alter your non-evil mind. A very important aspect to consider is that of societies view on good and evil. Without knowing what is considered truly evil or good, no one can judge others or even themselves for that matter. Ones actions are judged by all, and if society has outlined something such as killing to be wrong, then the actions of a killer are evil. Usually when someone commits a crime, they had to have thought about it first, so its safe to say that thoughts are just as evil as actions. The constant repeating of ones evil actions are also considered wrong or immoral. No one wakes up one day and decides to do something wrong unless they have gone through the experience of seeing someone else doing it or being taught it first hand. Therefore, once you are lucky enough to be given to opportunity to make a suitable life for yourself, it is up to what information humans attain to decide what type of person they turn out to be; good or bad. Plato’s idea of universal goodness and evil however are quite different from the views of both Mencius and Hsun Tzu.

According to Plato, people are representations of things on earth and therefore people are born without being ultimately good or evil. It is impossible for a person to be truly evil, because humans only represent the ideal evil. Nobody truly knows what evil is. Evil is what is taught to us through the personal experiences we encounter throughout our life. It is also learnt through what is taught to us by teachers as well as other people. If someone is considered to be a good person, then it only takes one wrongful act to turn him or her evil, or so we have been taught. According to Aristotle’s Law of Non-Contradiction that states that something cannot be said to be and not be at the same time illustrates that man is good, and if man is good then he is not evil, concluding that good are evil are two opposite things. Nobody is perfect, so it is impossible to say that somebody can be truly good or evil. What everybody knows for sure is that what people view to be good and or evil actions differs from human to human. If there is no universal census or conclusion on what makes a person truly good or evil then it outlines that there is not just one answer as to what people are thinking of when first born. Everybody is born with a neutral mindset and without the experiences that life has to offer, regardless of whether it turns humans into good or bad people, it is what is taught to you in life that defines people as individuals. This concludes that without the knowledge of living life to the fullest, nobody can be considered good or evil because we are all born with neutral minds.

Thee definition of what makes a person truly good or evil is impossible to prove as it differs between different societies as well as over time. No one can be considered truly good or evil, as it is only a state of mind placed on a person in a given experience from his or her daily life. Without the experience of being able to interact with others, it is impossible to consider someone good or evil. It because our nature it is because our nature has taught us to be both good and bad that there is no tangible evidence to prove that one overpowers the other to create the ultimate good or evil person. Furthermore, no one person can be born good or evil as it is against our biological make-up to be evil in the first place. People are born neutral and then learn how to define ones self through personal experiences and interactions.


By: Alexee Simon

Date Submitted: April 2nd 2010

Submitted to: Dr. Brown

Course Code: HZT4U1


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