The Guise of the Bad

Joseph Raz, Columbia Law School


My remarks will focus primarily on the connection between the thesis of the Guise of the Good, and actions under the Guise of the Bad. I distinguish and discuss separately two versions of the Guise of the Bad thesis. The normative version claims that it is possible to perform an action that one believes to be bad (to have bad-making features) and for the reason that it is, as the agent believes, bad. The motive version claims that an agent can, without having any relevant false beliefs, perform actions motivated by the badness of those actions, namely by features of the actions that make them bad. I defend the Guise of the Good thesis, and explain the apparent inconsistency between it and the guise of the bad. I argue that the motive version of the Guise of the Bad thesis is true, and that what I explain as Luciferian action may be possible, if so showing that the normative version too is true. However, to the extent that action under the Guise of the Bad is possible it does not contradict the Thesis of the Guise of the Good.