Chapter

Utilitarian Attack and Stoic Withdrawal: Two Extremes

Claudia Card

in The Atrocity Paradigm

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780195145083
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833115 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195145089.003.0003
 Utilitarian Attack and Stoic Withdrawal: Two Extremes

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The classical utilitarians regarded all suffering as evil, regardless of source, and aimed to eliminate as much suffering as possible from the world. Stoics, in contrast, regarded as neither good nor evil what eludes our control and held that the only thing we can be sure of controlling is our own will; hence, for stoics, evil consists simply in wrongful uses of the will and it is a mistake to place importance on suffering that has external sources. The atrocity theory of evil, combining features of utilitarianism with features of stoicism, treats both harm suffered and wrongful willing as essential to an evil, specifies that evils have sources in culpable wrongdoing, and recognizes as evil only those wrongful willings that also cause intolerable harm. John Rawls's theory of justice, also intermediate between stoicism and utilitarianism, emphasizes primary good rather than basic harm and consequently, unlike the author's theory, does not distinguish evils from lesser injustices.

Keywords: agency; culpability; intolerable harm; primary goods; Rawls; stoicism; utilitarianism; willing

Chapter.  11166 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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