Are some people really evil?
Albert Ellis, PH.D., President, Albert Ellis Institute
No, we cannot accurately say that some people are essentially evil. Even those who commit many immoral acts would have to do so all the time to be evil people. As Alfred Korzybski wrote in 1933, calling anyone an evil person is to falsely overgeneralize and to completely damn her or him for some evil acts. Invariably, the Hitlers and Ted Bundys of the world, who steadily commit some of the worst crimes, also do a number of good and kind deeds. And some “bad people,” like St. Augustine when young, later achieve sainthood. Humans are fallible – and changeable.
Elizabeth Radcliffe, PH.D., Executive Director, The American Philosophical Association
Throughout human history, it is obvious that there are evil people. The philosopher Rousseau thought society corrupts people, who are naturally good. However, I believe that we develop good or evil characters through our choices.While individual dispositions and environmental factors influence our choices, we can only make sense of our lives by rising above these features. We develop vices, or virtues, by choosing. The more lies we tell, the easier it becomes; and demeaning others becomes easier the more we disrespect them. Those who develop a habit of choosing badly may lose all sense of the good, and this is what we call an evil character.
Como a Dra. Elizabeth define uma pessoa de mau caráter? (Responda em português)
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