The aim of the article is to suggest that there are two key ways in which it might be plausible to suppose that human beings are fallen or tainted by original sin even if one rejects Christian belief. The first I develop by reflection on the innocence of animals and human infants, contrasting their condition with that of adult human beings. I go on to suggest that we adult human beings are self-thwarting creatures, necessarily unable to enter, as Kafka has it, into a fullness of life. The second I develop by reflection on certain examples that suggest that there are reasons to believe that human beings are polluted, invoking thereby a moral notion that may seem ancient or defunct but that, I suggest, underlies some crucial aspects of our moral self-understanding.


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pp. 307-325
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