chapter  18
10 Pages

Good and Evil

An Epistemological Paradigm
ByArthur O. Roberts

The terms 'good' and 'evil' connote trans-cultural concepts that qualify verbal configurations of reality. Concepts of good and evil constitute a vital part of humanity's linguistic infrastructure, providing rational parameters for civil and commercial exchanges. Judgments about good and evil are variously calibrated by appeals to consequentialist ethics or to formalistic ones. Augustine's depiction of evil as diminished good avoids a morally enervating good-evil dualism. They spot evil in institutionalized power, consigning to peripheral darkness agencies such as the Pentagon, the Kremlin or the World Trade Organization. Recognizing a common epistemological center in respect to good and evil can help mediate differences that otherwise might be misunderstood and escalate into violence. Believer and secularist can acknowledge good and evil within systems and within the psyche, holding each other accountable while disputing moral foundations. Acknowledging how persons and cultures define moral progressions from good to evil may curb temptations to demonize people in order to justify violence.