The Good, The bad, and the “Good” Bad

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How many people who believe that Andrea Yates killed her children because she is insane would stop believing it if they learned, say, that she had taken out a $1 million life insurance policy on each child? Quite a few, I submit. Thus, apparently, there are”good” (i.e., acceptable) bad reasons and “bad” (unacceptable) bad reasons for heinous behavior. People with “good” bad reasons (say, greed) are sane and ought to be convicted and punished. People with “bad” bad reasons (say, a wish to thwart the devil or to escape an oppressive family situation) are insane and ought to be acquitted and treated. This sounds more like covert moral judgment than science or medicine.

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