Are people naturally evil

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III. Man is naturally evil

[680] Vitiis nemo sine nascitur. Horat.

The sentence: man is angryAfter the above, he cannot mean anything else than: he is aware of the moral law, and yet has included the (occasional) deviation from it in his maxim. He is from nature Evil means as much as: this is what he regards as a species; not as if such a quality could be inferred from its generic concept (that of a person in general) (because then it would be necessary), but it cannot be judged differently according to how one knows it through experience, or it can be judged as subjective necessary to presuppose people in everyone, even the best. Since this tendency itself is now viewed as morally evil, therefore not as a natural disposition, but as something that can be ascribed to man, consequently must consist in unlawful maxims of arbitrariness; but this, for the sake of freedom, must be viewed as accidental, which in turn does not want to rhyme with the generality of this evil unless the subjective supreme basis of all maxims is interwoven with humanity itself, regardless of where it will and it is, as it were, rooted in it: so we become this one natural tendency to evil, and, since it must always be self-inflicted, we become it ourselves radical, congenital (none the less, but brought to us by ourselves) Angry can be called in human nature.

That such a depraved tendency must now be rooted in man, we can tell from the multitude of screaming examples which experience gives us in the deeds who puts people in front of their eyes, save the formal proof [680]. If one wants to have it from that state in which some philosophers hoped to find the natural benignity of human nature, namely from the so-called Natural status: so one is only allowed to show the appearances of unexcited cruelty in the murder scenes Tofoa, New Zealand, the Navigator Islands, and the never-ending one in the vast deserts of northwest America (the Cape. Hearne where even no one has the slightest advantage to compare 10 with that hypothesis, and one has vices of rawness more than is necessary to deviate from this opinion. But if one is in favor of the opinion that human nature can be better recognized in a civilized state (in which its dispositions can develop more fully): one will have to listen to a long melancholy litany of accusations made by humanity: of secret falsehood, even in the the most intimate friendship, so that the moderation of trust in mutual opening of even the best of friends is counted among the general maxim of prudence in dealings; of a tendency to hate someone to whom one is committed, something a benefactor must be prepared for at all times; of a heartfelt benevolence, which nevertheless allows the remark that "there is something in the misfortune of our best friends that we do not entirely dislike"; and from many other vices still hidden under the certificate of virtue, let alone those vices who do not conceal them because we are already called him good a bad guy from the common class is: and he will be at the vices of the Culture and civilization (the most insulting of all) have enough to turn their eyes away from the behavior of people so that they don't inflict another vice on themselves, namely hatred of people. If, however, he is not yet satisfied with this, he may only take into consideration that which is composed of the two in a strange way, namely the external state of nations, since civilized peoples are in relation to one another in the ratio of the crude natural state (a state of constant war constitution), and also to each other have firmly set in your head never to go out of it; and he becomes the principles of great societies that contradict the public pretense, and yet can never be abandoned, States called, 11 become aware that no philosopher has yet brought into tune with morality, and yet also (which is bad) cannot suggest any better ones who can be united with human nature: so that the philosophical chiliasm[682] who hopes for the condition of an eternal peace based on a League of Nations as a world republic, just as the theological, who awaits complete moral improvement for the whole human race, is generally laughed at as enthusiasm.

The reason for this evil can now 1) not, as it is commonly stated, in sensuality of man, and the natural inclinations arising therefrom. Because not only that these have no direct relation to evil (rather to what the moral disposition can prove in their strength, to give the opportunity to virtue): we must not answer for their existence (we cannot either; because they as created we do not have originators), but the tendency towards evil, which, since it affects the morality of the subject, is therefore found in him as a freely acting being, must be attributed to him as self-inflicted: regardless of the deep Rooted in the arbitrariness on account of which one must say that it is to be found in man by nature. - The reason of this evil can also be 2) not in a corruption the moral-legislative reason are posited as if they could destroy the reputation of the law itself, and deny the obligation from it; because that is absolutely impossible. To think of oneself as a freely acting being, and yet released from that law (the moral) that is appropriate to such a thing, would be so much to think of a cause that works without all laws (because the determination according to natural laws is omitted for the sake of freedom): which itself contradicts. - In order to give a reason for moral evil in humans, the contains sensuality too little; for by taking away the mainsprings that can spring from freedom, it makes man into a mere one animal; but one that absolves the moral law, as it were malicious reason (an absolutely bad will), on the other hand, contains too much, because thereby the conflict against the law itself becomes the mainspring (for without all the mainspring the will cannot be determined), and thus the subject becomes one devilish Being would be made. - Neither of the two is applicable to humans.

But even if the existence of this tendency to evil in human nature can be demonstrated through empirical evidence of the real conflict of human arbitrariness against the law in time, these do not teach us the actual nature of it and the reason for this conflict ; but this, because it concerns a relation of free will (i.e. one whose concept is not empirical) to the moral law as a driving force (in which the concept is likewise purely intellectual), must be derived from the concept of evil, insofar as it is according to the laws of Freedom (of commitment and sanity) is possible to be recognized a priori. The following is the evolution of the concept.

Humans (even the worst) do not, in whatever maxims, renounce the moral law as it were rebelliously (with the renunciation of obedience). Rather, because of his moral disposition, this compels him irresistibly; and if no other mainspring acted against it, he would include it in his supreme maxim as a sufficient determinant of arbitrariness, i.e. he would be morally good. But because of his equally innocent nature, he also depends on the mainsprings of sensuality, and includes them (according to the subjective principle of self-love) in his maxim. But if he than sufficient on its own to determine the arbitrariness, include in his maxim without turning to the moral law (which he does have in himself): so he would be morally bad. Since he now naturally accepts both in the same; since he would also find each for himself, if it were alone, sufficient to determine the will: so if the difference between the maxims were merely based on the difference between the mainsprings (the matter of the maxims), namely, whether the law, or the sensual impulse would give such, would arrive, be morally good and bad at the same time; which (after the introduction) contradicts itself. So the difference, whether a person is good or bad, must not be in the difference of the mainsprings that he takes up in his maxim (not in this matter of theirs), but in the Subordination (the shape of the same) lie: which of the two he makes the condition of the other. Consequently, man (even the best) is only evil in that he reverses the moral order of the mainsprings, in the perception of it in his maxims: the moral law admittedly admittedly admittedly into the same alongside that of self-love, but since he realizes that one cannot co-exist with the other, but one must be subordinate to the other, as must be subordinate to its supreme condition, it is the mainspring of self-love and its inclinations for the condition of obeying the moral power of law, since the latter rather than that top condition the satisfaction of the former should be included in the general maxim of arbitrariness as the sole driving force.

With this reversal of the mainspring by his maxim, contrary to the moral order, the actions can nevertheless turn out to be so lawful as if they had sprung from genuine principles: if reason the unity of maxims in general, which is peculiar to the moral law, only in addition needs to be in the mainsprings of inclination under the name blissTo bring in the unity of maxims that otherwise cannot be attributed to them (e.g. that truthfulness, if one accepted it as a principle, relieves us of the fear of keeping our lies in agreement, and not of getting entangled in the serpentine coils of them ); since then the empirical character is good, but the intelligible character is still bad.

If there is a tendency to this in human nature, then there is a natural tendency towards evil in man; and this tendency itself, because in the end it has to be sought in a free arbitrariness, and can therefore be added to, is morally evil. This evil is radicalbecause it corrupts the basis of all maxims; at the same time, as a natural tendency, not to be closed by human forces to devourbecause this could only happen through good maxims, which, if the supreme subjective ground of all maxims is assumed to be corrupt, cannot take place; nevertheless he has to predominate be possible because it is found in the human being as a freely acting being.

So the malevolence of human nature is not both malice, if one takes this word in a strict sense, namely as a disposition (subjective principle of the maxims), evil as evil as a driving force to include in his maxim (for it is diabolical); but rather Wrongness of the heart, which now, because of the consequence, also a bad heart means to call. This can coexist with a generally good will; and arises from the frailty of human nature, not being strong enough to obey the principles it has taken, combined with the dishonesty not to separate the mainsprings (even of well-intended actions) from one another according to moral guidelines, and therefore ultimately when things come up, only on its conformity with the law, and not on its derivation from it, ie to see this as the sole mainspring. If this does not always result in an illegal act and a tendency to do so, i.e. the Vice, arises: so is the way of thinking, the absence of it already for adequacy of attitude to the law of duty (for Virtue) to be interpreted (since the mainspring in the maxim is not looked at at all, but only to the observance of the law according to the letter), to call itself a radical wrongness in the human heart.

These congenital Guilt (reatus), which is so called because it can be perceived as early as only the use of freedom is expressed in man, and [686] none the less must have arisen from freedom and can therefore be imputed , can be judged in its first two stages (frailty and dishonesty) as unintentional (culpa), but in the third as deliberate guilt (dolus); and has a certain character to her Problem of the human heart (dolus malus) to deceive oneself because of one's own good or bad attitudes, and, if only the actions do not result in evil, which according to their maxims might well have, not to worry about one's attitude, but rather to keep it justified before the law. Hence the peace of conscience of so many (in their opinion conscientious) people when, in the midst of actions in which the law was not consulted, at least not the majority, only happily escaped the evil consequences, and probably even the imagination of merit not to feel guilty of any of the wrongdoings with which they see others afflicted: without investigating whether it was not merely due to luck, and whether according to the way of thinking that they could discover within themselves if they only wanted, similar vices would not have been committed by them had it not been for the inability, temperament, upbringing, circumstances of the time and place which lead to temptation (all things which cannot be imputed to us) to keep away from them. This dishonesty of fooling oneself into a blue haze, which prevents the establishment of a genuine moral disposition in us, extends outwardly to the falsehood and deception of others; which, if it is not to be called malice, at least deserves to be called worthlessness, and lies in the radical evil of human nature, which (in that it upsets the moral judgment of what one should take a person for, and the imputation internally and externally quite uncertain) constitutes the rotten spot of our species, which, as long as we do not bring it out, prevents the germ of the good from developing, as it would otherwise. [687]

A member of the English parliament uttered the assertion in the heat: "Every person has his price, for which he gives himself away". If this is true (which then everyone can make out for himself); when there is no virtue everywhere for which a degree of temptation cannot be found capable of overthrowing it; If, whether the bad or the good spirit wins us for his party, it only depends on who offers the most and pays the most prompt payment: then what the apostle says about people in general would like to be true: "There is none here Difference, they are all sinners - there is no one who does good (according to the spirit of the law), not even one «.12


Like the perpetual war between the Arathavescau and the Dog-Ribbed Indians, there was no other purpose than killing. Brave warfare is the savage's greatest virtue, in their opinion. Even in a civilized state, it is an object of admiration and a reason for the excellent respect demanded by the class in which this is the only merit; and this not without any reason in reason. For the fact that a person knows to have something and to make himself an end what he values ​​even more than his life (honor), in which he renounces all self-interest, proves a certain sublimity in his disposition. But one can see in the comfort with which the victors extol their great deeds (of hitting together, knocking down without sparing, etc.), that only their superiority and the destruction they could bring about, without any other purpose, is what they aim for actually doing something too good for yourself.


If one regards this history of theirs merely as the phenomenon of mankind's inner disposition, which is largely hidden from us, then one can become aware of a certain machine-like course of nature, according to purposes that are not their (the peoples') purposes, but the purposes of nature. Every state strives, as long as it has another next to it, which it can hope to conquer, to enlarge itself through this submission and thus to a universal monarchy, a constitution, therein all freedom, and with it (which is the consequence of this) virtue , Taste and science should go out.But this monster (in which the laws gradually lose their power), after it has swallowed up neighboring old ones, finally dissolves by itself and, through turmoil and conflict, divides into many smaller states, which instead of becoming a state association (republic freer allied peoples), in turn each start the same game anew, so as not to let the war (this scourge of the human race) end, which, even if it is not so incurably evil as the grave of general autocracy (or also a League of Nations, in order not to let despotism come to an end in any state), but, as one old man said, makes more evil people than he takes away from them.


The actual proof of this condemnation judgment of the morally judging reason is contained not in this but in the previous section; this only contains the confirmation of the same through experience, which, however, can never uncover the root of evil, in the supreme maxim of free will in relation to the law, which, as intelligible act before all experience precedes. - From this, i.e. From the unity of the supreme maxim, with the unity of the law, to which it relates, it can also be seen: why the purely intellectual judgment of man must be based on the principle of excluding the mean between good and evil; meanwhile, that of empirical judgment sensitive act (the real doing and not doing) can be based on the principle: that there is something in the middle between these extremes, on the one hand a negative of indifference, in front of all education, on the other hand a positive of being mixed, partly good, partly bad. But the latter is only an assessment of man's morality in appearance, and is subject to the former in the final judgment.