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:
“Some people show evil as a great racehorse shows breeding. They have the dignity of a hard chancre.”
—Ernest Hemingway (18991961)
“The extravagant expenditure of public money is an evil not to be measured by the value of that money to the people who are taxed for it.”
—Chester A. Arthur (18291886)
“However great an evil immorality may be, we must not forget that it is not without its beneficial consequences. It is only through extremes that men can arrive at the middle path of wisdom and virtue.”
—Karl Wilhelm Von Humboldt (17671835)