Friday, February 24, 2006

Incompetence and Evil
I've been thinking about the relationship between these two things for the last few years thanks to a certain Western political figure. If you define them thus:

incompetence=showing poor judgment

evil=showing poor moral judgment

then evil is a subset of incompetence, which would explain why evil people don't think of themselves as evil. If however you define incompetence as showing poor strategic judgment, then the two don't overlap much. (Or do they?) And you get this:

incompetence=showing poor strategic judgment

evil=showing poor moral judgment

x=showing poor judgment

My intuition is that most people use the second set of definitions and don't have a word or concept for x. At least nothing comes to mind right now. Is there a word or concept that I'm missing?

P.S. I realize that incompetence=showing poor practical judgment also work, but "strategic" encompasses the essence better in the longer view.

2 Comments:

Blogger chutney said...

You should look up Aristotle on phronesis (practical moral wisdom).

12:53 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Thanks. That's relevant, but do you think we've lost that concept altogether? I still can't think of a word in English or any other language that expresses the union of practical and moral wisdom.

5:03 PM  

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