My problem is that I don't know if the things I do are moral or not. And I think this situation was somewhat caused by reading philosophy.

I grew up in a religious, traditional and sex-negative environment. I don't believe in many of the things that I learned in my childhood, but I guess they have shaped my moral sentiment. Now, for instance, is it immoral to get some sexual pleasure from watching an attractive actress? My moral sentiment says it is wrong to do that. But rationality tells me that I can't be sure about that. In Kant's system it may be wrong, but Peter Singer would possibly say it is OK.

How can I choose a suitable ethical system for daily life? Should I ignore or resist my internal moral compass which is affected by my upbringing? Thank you.

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    Isn't template reasoning always worse than rationality?
    – rus9384
    Sep 28, 2018 at 21:01
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    @rus9384, tell that to Bayes: there is no rationality absent template reasoning (i.e. your prior). Sep 28, 2018 at 22:30
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    Some sexual pleasure...well here you are being honest, and in my opinion honesty is the most important moral requirement. But I am sure this is an emotive statement on my part. Anyway, I respect honest people. However, we cannot always be merely honest. There is no reason to be brutally honest, for example ... to hurt someone's feelings. So there is a craft to honesty. We have to learn "how" to be honest. But it is natural and normal to have sexual feelings, we must be careful in how we regulate our sexual actions, however. But we humans do make mistakes. It is part of life.
    – Gordon
    Sep 29, 2018 at 2:35
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    I made and edit to hopefully make the question clearer. You may roll this back or continue editing. Sep 29, 2018 at 5:25
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    The only way to choose safely would be to acquaint yourself with the facts. This would be why the search for truth is a moral imperative for many seekers and comes before speculation and theory-generation. Ethics is part of metaphysics for this reason, that it depends on the way the world actually is. I'd recommend a study of metaphysics.
    – user20253
    Sep 30, 2018 at 12:52

2 Answers 2


Just because there are multiple moral frameworks doesn't mean that there's no correct one. Just knowing conclusions that some moral frameworks might have isn't enough. You need argumentation to look at explanatory strength etc.

As for applied ethical issues: some applied ethicists just compare multiple framework and work out alignments. Or instead of using a moral system, they compare moral intutions (more on that below).

Now, maybe there's none which you find more certain than the others. There's a subfield in ethics about practical reasoning when we have uncertainty (in some aspect). You can find more on that here:



Should I ignore/resist my internal moral compass, which is affected by my upbringing?

There's some discussion on how and to what extent moral intuitions should be used. It's part of moral epistemology. More here:



A good rule is "whatever you would want somebody else to do to you, do that for them."

This relates to attractive female actresses in a simple way: would you want the person with whom you eventually pair up, would you want her to tell you that she had a history of, or continues to, have sexual feelings for attractive male actors?

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    FWIW, my wife and I feel free to tell each other about our attractions. We know that these attractions are going to occur, and there's no point in hiding them. Sep 28, 2018 at 22:02
  • And there is nothing wrong with having sexual feelings for more than one person. You can't even prevent them occur. You can only supress them.
    – rus9384
    Sep 28, 2018 at 22:32
  • @rus9384, how much time should we spend on getting sexual pleasure, when we can also do other things, like helping people to have a better life? Morality is vague to me.
    – apadana
    Sep 29, 2018 at 7:32
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    @Arham Interesting that sex may change the mood and make it easier to help people. E.g. sex might be a bit obscessive and after you get rid of this feeling it's simpler to concentrate on other things. But varies from individual to individual.
    – rus9384
    Sep 29, 2018 at 9:12

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