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Most people would characterize a person who steals $100 from another person as bad or evil. That person might be expected to pay a $200 fine and maybe spend a day in jail.

But imagine an organized group of criminals who all go around stealing money. Instead of stealing from an individual, Mr. X is now part of an organization that steals from society.

Is there a philosophical term or concept for this magnification of evil, or "group evil"?

  • I have found the adjective "very" helpful... – Canyon Aug 16 '17 at 2:44
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this seems to be a question about English language and usage for which english.SE would be more appropriate. – virmaior Aug 16 '17 at 4:35
  • There's a relatively new branch of philosophy that looks at "collective action". This seems to just be collective evil action. – virmaior Aug 16 '17 at 4:35
  • heinous? this isn't a philosophical answer – user28660 Oct 15 '17 at 1:42
  • I think I know what you would call it. – Obie 2.0 Jan 10 '18 at 2:34
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This writing strike me as it could answer https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/concept-evil/ It suggest that what you are asking is the answer.

I would correct your statement (if we would be talking about this say 20 years ago) then I would claim most people would say "Good or Bad" (not evil) and as @Canyon suggested word VERY bad or even Very, Very bad... however it could still not be enough and for these occasions we would have use word EVIL.

I know you can't go back to the past, where word EVIL would be used for the most horrific things that could happen to you in life, nowadays word evil is used everywhere (not so often in news, probably due to its religious connections but in other poplar media, movies and everyday talk). But EVIL is the very very very very bad..

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It isn't the individual thief who is considered "evil," but the action of theft. There, then, isn't need for a concept of "collective evil." Evil is a conceptual attribute humans apply to an action or idea.

For example, instead of "Evil Mr. A stole from dear Mr. B." you should think of it as "Mr. A manifested evil when he stole from innocent Mr. B." Thus, "It was so evil when the Nepalese Mafia stole from Corporation Corp." would be the way to think of the situation rather than "The Nepalese Mafia is collectively evil for having stole from Corporation Corp."

Extended note: Biblically, "sin" means a failing or mistake and "evil" means adversity or hardship.

  • This is an interesting take, and one I'm not familiar with. Do you have any literature on that? – Canyon Aug 16 '17 at 21:22

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