Lord of the Flies: Philosophies of good and evil

Lord of the Flies:
Philosophies of good and evil
Four Philosophers’ Theories:
Bentham, Rousseau, Locke, and
Jeremy Bentham: Utilitarianism
18th century British writer, reformer, and philosopher whose
systematic analysis of law and legislation laid the foundations of
the ethical doctrine that virtue is based on utility, and that conduct
should be directed toward promoting the greatest happiness of the
greatest number of persons.
Jeremy Bentham: Utilitarianism
• Actions are to be judged based solely on
their consequences.
One is good or bad depending upon the
consequences received as a result.
Therefore: if someone steals something, and
no one misses it, it is not wrong to steal it.
Both are happy – no harm is perceived
John Locke: “Tabula Rasa”
• 17 century - Britain
• Tabula Rasa - a mind not yet affected by
experiences or impressions. Anything existing
undisturbed in its original pure state.
John Locke: “Tabula Rasa”
• Children are born as a “tabula rasa” or a
blank slate. Society imprints either
goodness or badness upon the child as
they grow and mature.
• Nature vs. Nurture theory (pro-nurture)
• Therefore: if a child is taught right from
wrong, proper manners, social decorum,
the child will naturally display these
Jean Jacques Rousseau
18th century – Swiss philosopher and writer
Romantic Movement: the late 18th- and early 19th-century
movement in France, Germany, England, and America
to establish Romanticism in art and literature.
His written works include The Social Contract and Émile
Jean Jacques Rousseau
• In one’s pure natural state, people are
good. Social institutions are responsible
for the corruption of people.
• Therefore: if left to one’s own wits to learn
and thrive, one will be good and pure in
thought and deed. If molded by society’s
notions of decorum, one will be corrupt,
and therefore evil in thought and deed.
Thomas Hobbes
17th century – Britain.
Hobbes’s views on power, conflict, sovereignty and religion
are articulated in his political works
(The Elements of Law, De cive, Leviathan and Behemoth)
Thomas Hobbes
• Man’s nature is basically bad or evil
• Government’s laws and society’s rules are
necessary to keep people from lapsing
into a savage existence.
• Therefore: if one was not forced to live by
the rules and laws of a society, one would
lapse into a state of immorality and