Evil is profound immorality, especially when regarded as a supernatural force, for example in religious belief. Evil is usually perceived as the dualistic opposite of good. Definitions of evil vary, as does the analysis of its root motives and causes; however, evil is commonly associated with conscious and deliberate wrongdoing, discrimination designed to harm others, humiliation of people designed to diminish their psychological well-being and dignity, destructiveness, motives of causing pain or suffering for selfish or malicious intentions, and acts of unnecessary or indiscriminate violence. The philosophical question of whether morality is absolute or relative leads to questions about the nature of evil, with views falling into one of four opposed camps: moral absolutism, amoralism, moral relativism, and moral universalism.
While the term is applied to events and conditions without agency, the forms of evil addressed in this article presume an evildoer or doers.
Famous quotes containing the word evil:
“When we say that pleasure is the end, we do not mean the pleasure of the profligate or that which depends on physical enjoymentas some think who do not understand our teachings, disagree with them, or give them an evil interpretationbut by pleasure we mean the state wherein the body is free from pain and the mind from anxiety.”
—Epicurus (c. 341271 B.C.)
“We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavouring to stifle is a false opinion; and even if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.”
—John Stuart Mill (18061873)