An exterior view of McKelvy House as well as steps and flowers outside itThrough an interview with the fictitious evil rival Yvlekcm House, Weizhou Ding ’23 will lead the weekly McKelvy Scholars discussion on Sunday at 6 p.m., exploring what makes a person good or bad. Email the group for the Zoom link. Background for the talk:

I want us to talk about good and bad in a way that they do not have to be opposite to each other, and in a way that they do not have to be “good is good and bad is bad”. I hope we can have some new feelings towards good and bad at the end of the meeting.

Please prepare these questions for the Yvlekcm House interview:

  1. What kind of good people do you hate most? Who is the worst (baddest?) good person in your view? Who is the best (“goodest”?) bad person in your view? What’s the difference between them?
  2. Can good traits outweigh the bad, and vice versa?
  3. Identify two or three characteristics that you’d like to see in Yvlekcm residents.
  4. If, say, you had the opportunity to use $1,000 for a non-research-related and morally questionable trip, how would you plan it? Where would you go, and how would you cover other expenses?
  5. Why do you think that you are qualified for Yvlekcm House? (I believe that you all have to make up some nonsense facts or experiences for this question, and it is totally fine if you want to share some real dark facts about yourself.)
  6. Feel free to speak more!

Are you still able to keep yourself sane after having those crazy thoughts? Or do you prefer the bad version of yourself more?

Let’s find it out together through a personality test on Machiavellianism, which is one of the dark triad traits (narcissism and psychopathy are the other two). Read more information. We will score others anonymously as a fun activity, and no need to worry, I will make sure you don’t have to leak any sensitive information if you don’t want to.

By exploring ways of trying to bad people, I hope we can get a better sense of the meaning of good. After the interview, we might be able to answer questions like “Are good and bad always opposite to each other?” What are the meanings of the word “good”?

We also might be able to talk about evil and other topics like moral nihilism.


The concept of evil

The Rhetorical Use of Values to Justify Social and Intergroup Attitudes

Moral Nihilism and its Implications

A Theory of Evil

Probing the Depths of Evil and Good

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