I feel like I have a concept of innocence, defined as the lack of my concept of evil. Evil is the intention to harm or exploit others. It doesn't only apply to children, and it doesn't always apply to children, although I believe we are all born innocent. I suppose it can still theoretically indicate a lack of guilt if I assume people should feel guilty for being evil.
(By my definition, capitalism is inherently evil, because it is fundamentally based on exploitation.)
Really? In my opinion, innocence is the state of being ignorant of 'negative' choices and consequences while avoiding them at the same time.
Innocence also tends to act on emotion rather than cost-benefit analysis - action before thinking. Another trait of innocence in my mind is the absence of paralysis - to be innocent the way has to cleared for you.
Just a few thoughts : >
So it sounds like you don't believe in a concept of innocence, is that right? According to you, nobody, not even youth, has it. You are simply referring to the traditional religious construct and invalidating it based on evidence, right?
For example, I do believe in the concept, and I think of youth as innocent, but it has nothing to do with sexuality or obeying the law and everything to do with harmful or exploitive intentions. I think of myself and my friends as innocent too.
Unflattering reply - I think we project innocence outward based on our feelings of being vulnerable, and maybe memories of being hurt when we were young. That makes your question more psychological than philosophical.
Children are weak and need to be protected, so we have instincts to project lovable features onto them. My kids used to play with a family where the youngest child had great big blue eyes and an innocent air. When the adults weren't looking, he would pop the bigger boys in the 'nads, then run to a grownup for cover.
It's an interesting theory. Can you provide more details, maybe a guess at the process of development? Feelings of vulnerability, memories of being hurt when one was young, and believing in the concept of innocence, are almost universal, so simply establishing correlation isn't very convincing (to skeptics).
About your story... I think the question is whether this kid was actually aware of the consequences of his actions. He sees the superficial result of his behavior, but has he taken the perspective of the other to see the actual harm it does? I've been in a few situations with kids who were beyond playfully rough, but when I sincerely told them, "Hey, that really does hurt. Do you want to hurt me?" it seemed to click, and when they next went for the punch, they stopped themselves. This tells me they didn't actually have harmful intentions. I'm sure they were still rough with each other, but I'm also sure none of them ever complained or invoked empathy with each other the way I did. How do you think this applies to the blue-eyed kid from your story?