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Philo1305 March 19, 2012
What Constitutes Good vs. Bad Moral Action
Defined: Evil is the privation of the good.
Evil is the absence of the good – one cannot know evil without knowing good.
Evil is an accident of good – not as in mistake though. It exists in a subject of something
else. It needs something to exist in in order for it to exist. Evil can’t exist in the absence
of the subject in question.
E.g. Murder: Depriving the innocent victim’s family of the killed’s life.
Moral Evil vs. Natural Evil [NOT ON EXAM]
An example of natural evil is cancer. Cancer has to be seen as evil as the thing that
erodes the human body, where consumption would be depriving someone of something.
SELF-DETERMINATION (free will).
Moral evils are functions of the human will (e.g. rape, murder, etc.). DETERMINED.
If any component of the human act is lacking or contains a privation, that act will be said not to
be good. However, the act cannot be understood by itself alone – we have to take into
consideration the circumstances and reasons for which the act occurred.
McInerny is addressing the human acts as follows:
- Object: What am I doing? (What is the term of the external act?)
- Intention: What is my motive? (What is the term of the internal act?)What is perhaps
has been an intention, once it has been achieved, becomes an object. Every object is a
means to the fulfillment of the intention.
- Circumstance: What surrounds the object of my action?
Moral Agent Moral Object (Good) Intention (Good)
The moral agent has a nature and so does the moral object. If there is a compatability between
these two natures, it is a good act. Even if they are good ontologically (both good in themselves),
if they do not agree, the act is morally bad.