Saturday, May 1, 2010

A class of evils

As part of my interest in theodicy, I am interested in classifying evils. Here is a class I haven't seen discussed in the literature: major evils that are an overwhelming aggregation of small evils. What made me think of this was an email from a student who had suffered from a myriad of individually small things over the week, but where the cumulation is really large. In those cases, the whole appears bigger than the sum of the parts.

3 comments:

A_J said...

The evil grows exponentially(-ish) as the duration/number of evils is prolonged...it is not mere addition of evil.

Alexander R Pruss said...

I wouldn't say it's exponential--eventually one might get used to evils. It's a pretty complicated function, with exponential growth initially, and then decay to linearity, maybe.

A said...

thats what the (-ish) was intended to cover. :)

When functions get difficult you can simplify and add an (-ish).