DOES EVIL EXIST?
When a spree killer, such as Martin Bryant or Anders Behring Breivik, commits an atrocity, many people are tempted to say "he did it because he is evil". This explanation of wrongdoing is common, but philosophers ask: should we accept that evil is real? Or should we be sceptical? Is evil an innate and unchangeable feature of someone's character? Is it a supernatural force that can possess and control a human being? Or is the word merely a label used to condemn the worst actions and the most vicious people?
Luke Russell is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sydney. His research explores moral philosophy and he has written about evil, forgiveness, virtue and vice. Luke's book "Evil: A Philosophical Investigation" was published by Oxford University Press in 2014. Luke teaches ethics, moral psychology, and critical thinking, as well as running the University's high school philosophy course, Mind and Morality.
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