Evil and the Possibility of the Conversion into Good Essay

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Evil and the Possibility of the Conversion into Good

According to Kant, radical evil is the deep inherent blemish of our species that does not spare even the best of people. Despite judging the extirpation of such evil as an impossibility, Kant holds out the possibility of converting evil into good by means of human forces. But how can this be given the radical evil of human nature? I articulate various problems that arise from Kant’s conception of conversion while exploring certain resources in his thinking in order to clarify and resolve this difficulty. The difficulty nears an aporia when Kant asks: how can a bad tree bear good fruit? Two arguments will be presented as answers. The first maintains that free will is not definitely
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The first one is stronger and fundamental as it maintains that free-will is not definitely committed to any maxim generally accepted. The second argument is subsidiary, pointing out a possibility of compromise between free-will and a good ground maxim in the way of building up a coherent system of maxims, what would be clearly impossible if a bad ground maxim were to be chosen. On the basis of such arguments one can demonstrate how conversion may be possible, although not as definitive and complete.


First of all we will bring forth the central question in its most dramatic formulation, pointing out a difficulty it brings. Here lies the disturbing problem: "How can a bad tree bear good fruit? "

The reader of "Religion within the limits of reason alone" knows that the radical evil of human nature or its propensity towards evil-the subjective ground for the possibility of a morally bad inclination, contingent to mankind as a whole-is not an essential and objectively necessary characteristic of man. (2) Actually it is a contingent trait, though imputed to every man without exception. Evil is also innate, to the extent that doesn't possess temporal origin, for in terms of a moral point of view, it should be imputable and hence originated from a non-temporal free-will act. A free-will act is the rational origin (free, non sensitive and non temporal) of the moral evil and this original act

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