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Learning from Lucifer

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Via Daily Nous, I came across this funny comic on "Effective Villainy", which in turn got me thinking about what we could learn from the apparent symmetry between good and evil.  After all, it might be clearer what evil calls for, in which case we could -- if we accept symmetry -- then draw interesting conclusions about what's right and good.Consider side-constraints, as in this evil transplant scenario: a car crash victim is about to bleed out, but then their healthy organs would save five transplant patients -- unless Lucifer sweeps in and "heroically" stems the bleeding, saving the car crash victim (and ensuring the other five die).  What should_[subscript evil] Lucifer do?  It seems clear that a side-constraint against saving lives would make no sense, from the perspective of evil: the rational pursuit of evil would lead Lucifer to do whatever ultimately proves most harmful, regardless of whether he had to get his hands "dirty" helping (ick!) various individuals along the way.   Better_[sub evil] to save one than to allow five to be saved.Or consider aggregation. Opponents of aggregation may ground their view in either axiological intuitions (e.g. in Scanlon's transmitter room case, it just seems worse for the one person to suffer from electrocution than for the billions to miss out on seeing the football game live), or in hand-waving claims that aggregation somehow fails to respect the "separateness of persons".  Parfit showed the former to be incoherent, and I've argued that the latter is baseless, but suppose you're not yet convinced. Let's learn from Lucifer!In the transmitter room case, it's natural to assume that Lucifer would want the guy to be electrocuted, which I think reveals our intuition that this is (seemingly! but we need not endorse this seeming upon reflection) the worse outcome -- not actually a case in which what's right diverges from what's consequentially best.  So that seems like a problem. . .

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