from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The spirit each person is believed to have in attendance, according to certain religious or mythological traditions, which tries to negatively influence him, and is opposed by one's good genius; loosely, someone who is a bad influence.
  • n. Literally, a brilliant person who uses his abilities for negative or harmful ends; especially a criminal mastermind.


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  • A concept in Cartesian philosophy. In his Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes hypothesizes the existence of an evil demon, a personification who is "as clever and deceitful as he is powerful, who has directed his entire effort to misleading me." The evil demon presents a complete illusion of an external world, including other people, to Descartes' senses, where in fact there is no such external world in existence. The evil genius also presents to Descartes' senses a complete illusion of his own body, including all bodily sensations, where in fact Descartes has no body. Most Cartesian scholars opine that the evil demon is also omnipotent, and thus capable of altering mathematics and the fundamentals of logic. (Wikipedia)

    May 22, 2008