Questions tagged [ethics]

For questions about ethics, a branch of philosophy dealing with morality, justice, virtue, vice, good and evil.

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Are there any notable works that touch on pursuing a moral good that is likely futile?

I'm slightly at a loss for the correct terminology and context here.. Apologies if the question isn't all that precise. It is relatively uncontroversial to state that if someone identifies a morally ...
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What are the basis of all or a majority of moral systems?

What are the basis of all or a majority of moral systems? By basis, I intend to say "core principles" of all or a majority of moral systems. After analyzing moral systems, I found that most of them ...
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Authors on the Credibility and Corruption of Modern Science

During the Renaissance and Industrial eras science was a way to remove superstition, religious misconception, and irrational fears. The scientific method was proved to be valid and available to ...
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Why does the ethical doctrine of double effect presume “the bad consequence is not a means to the good consequence”?

I trust it's obvious why this presumption looks as it is supposed to - "the bad consequence IS a means to the good consequence"? Consider Herring's example on p. 169 with the surgeon. If the bad ...
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207 views

Marsilio Ficino' commentary on the Symposium on Love guidance

Is Marsilio Ficino's commentary on the Symposium on Love a good book to read alongside the Symposium for someone who is reading the Platonic dialogue? Does it give a good understanding of the ...
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1answer
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Does Gandhi's paraphrase of Augustine's phrase distort its meaning?

His [St. Augustine's] Letter 211 (c. 424) contains the phrase Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum, which translates roughly to “With love for mankind and hatred of sins.” The phrase has become ...
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The perverted faculty argument

There are a few philosophers who still push the “perverted faculty argument” to prove that contraception, homosexual acts and masturbation are immoral. This argument is based on classic natural law, ...
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How does particularism fare with descriptive relativisim and its relation to moral skepticism?

As I understand it, descriptive relativism, acknowledging that there are very many disagreements about morality, ones which are often practically intractable, feeds into moral skepticism. As I'd ...
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446 views

Moral 'ought' and the Principle of Generic Consistency?

Late philosopher Alan Gewirth introduced the Principle of Generic Consistency, or the PGC, which says that moral agents ought to respect the generic rights of freedom and well-being because they are ...
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73 views

Is brain reward hacking immoral?

Consider the following scenarios, each of which at their core refer to a form of 'reward hacking'. Based on personal observation, each scenario below generally elicits an immediate, visceral feeling ...
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51 views

Do percentages of negative things in a given sample matter more or less than the quantity of negative things?

Do percentages of negative things in a given sample matter more or less than the quantity of negative things? And is there a name for this concept? Is it some sort of fallacy to appeal to percentages? ...
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Are there contemporary adherents to this view about systemised ethics?

In some parts of the field of truth, no doubt, men who work by these divergent ways are apt as men to represent antithetical types. But over the whole field this need not be ...
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What is to be understood by the phrase “Israel's right to exist”? [closed]

As someone who is interested in the Israeli-Palestinian question one phrase that comes up in the pro-Israeli position is the insistence that the Palestinians recognise '"Israel's right to exist". ...
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5answers
364 views

In light of Eichmann's Case: what makes a regime's legitimacy end?

What are the conditions under which the legitimacy of a regime ends? My interest in this question is derived from its particular historical instance concerning Eichmann's case - a case which brought ...
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Death in utilitaranism

Define utilitarian: Utilitarianism is a family of consequentialist ethical theories that promotes actions that maximize happiness and well-being for the majority of a population. (Wikipedia) Is ...
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Why there are “Copy Rights” if not Reference Rights?

While a Child grows, the child did learn. ( like all of us ) What did the child learned? Mostly what the child did Saw & Eared. By this simple Law ( Our Own Natural Law to Learn ) we develop "...
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130 views

Does anyone claim freedom toward death is not for me, but for others?

My "freedom toward death" (Being and Time, p255, SUNY Press, 1 Jan 1996) is key for authenticity, according to Heidegger. It seems obvious that he means that this freedom is me, and that claim for be ...
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181 views

How to explain value and goodness of things without resorting to Hedonism?

This has been bothering me for a while. I do not believe that the ethical theory of hedonism represents the world of which we live in truthfully, neither does it appeal to my common sense. However, ...
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Nietzsche's departure from Schopenhauer

I'm attempting to understand the will to power by first presenting Nietzsche's first mentor, Schopenhauer, and his notion of the will to survival/life. In very simple terms, I believe S believed that ...
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2answers
49 views

Reconciling Utilitarianism and Rawls's Theory of Justice as Fairness

I will argue that John Stuart Mill's greatest happiness principle (GHP) should be revised to avoid problematic implications and to better fit humans' intuitive sense of morality. Furthermore, the ...
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What went wrong in the practise of Hinduism? [closed]

Remarks on the Caste System The caste system was first mentioned in Manu Smriti (and not Vedas). The ultimate objective was to construct an ideal society in which everyone is happy. The caste of a ...
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Evil thoughts without actions?

Can a thought without a corresponding action be morally wrong? More fully, under which approaches to morality do thoughts, in and of themselves, carry moral significance? In particular I'm looking ...
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Quantifying Ethics

It seems like a relation like '<' exists in morality, as most ethical systems view moral actions as more evil/good than other actions. Has any philosopher tried to quantify this, e.g. how much ...
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142 views

Why do we punish crime?

I have no formal training whatsoever in philosophy but have a question nonetheless. I am sorry if this is way off topic for this site. Crime begets punishment: let us say that punishment is prison. ...
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Is the moral compass of an individual inherent or is this aspect of their nature acquired due to experience?

My question in its simplest form: is the moral compass of an individual inherent or is this aspect of their nature acquired due to experience? Now one needs not look far for the countless cases of ...
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171 views

Philosophical approaches for a response to rape

I wasn't sure whether to post this here, or on law, or on politics. But I eventually landed here since this SE seemed like the most middle of the road option. My question concerns rape and how we ...
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Is the killing of an evil person as bad as the killing of millions, of innocents, by such an evil person?

Dr. A is a very evil man who harms millions of people in other countries. In fact, thousands or millions of people die each year because of him. Let's say he's a mad scientist who produces some ...
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Divine Command Theory vs. Rational Ethics

I've heard the claim that rational ethical theories do not require God or any other deity in order to arrive at their conclusions. Pure reason is enough to provide sound ethical arguments. However, ...
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112 views

Is is logically inconsistent to say that male on female violence is wrong? (Compared to vice versa)

I have always believed that the reason it is more wrong for a man to hit a woman than vice versa is mainly because women tend to be physically weaker then men, and that even if a women initiated ...
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1answer
120 views

Is it immoral to kill a philosophical zombie?

Is unplugging a robot from power the same as killing a person? As the commenters said this does not quite work because robots can be plugged back in. So let's replace robots with philosophical zombies,...
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What if Euthyphro gave the opposite answer?

As part of a course I am taking, I was asked to continue the dialogue Euthyphro as if Euthyphro had given the opposite response to Plato's famous question: Is the pious loved by the gods because it ...
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5answers
164 views

If each of our thoughts is entirely determined by the brain, can there be free will or a soul?

Supposing that every single thing that exists in our mind is due to the brain, and supposing that each and every decision we have is determined by our neurons, can there be free will? How? If ...
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Why is Plato's visible world said to be Heraclitean and Plato's intelligible world said to be Parmenidean?

I have been learning about Plato's Theory of Forms, and I have read that Plato's visible world is Heraclitean, and Plato's intelligible world is Parmenidean. I think I understand the parallel between ...
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61 views

Categorical Imperative vs. Utilitarianism

I'm watching philosophy crash course, and the narrator claimed that Utilitarianism is the antithesis of the of Kant's categorical imperative. However, on the surface, I can't see a major difference. ...
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157 views

When is it okay to criticize someone?

Both in my family life and in politics, I see people running into the following dilemma. Some entity (a person, or an organization, or a country) is doing something that someone sees as wrong. So, ...
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What does “service” mean in Bubeck's feminist ethics of care

Bubeck thus distinguishes care from “service”, by stipulating that “care” involves meeting the needs for others who cannot meet their needs themselves, whereas “service” involves meeting the needs ...
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Can a “blood diamond” ever be redeemed for morally good purposes?

I'm looking at the concept of how bad money (blood diamonds for example) relates to good money, and how a transfer from one to the other would occur. Premise & Example I don't want to ...
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As a person with no descendants/family is it ethical to spend all one's money during lifetime rather than leave it to charity / the state on death?

Let's say I have no descendants or other living family but I am fairly wealthy in my lifetime due to a combination of work, inheritance, refraining from spending where others would. Is it ethical/...
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Does an education that teaches relativism alone result in students who can not make ethical decisions?

This is a followup to a previous question that suggests that skepticism leads inevitably to moral relativism. In this question, I'd like to look further down the slippery slope and think of the ...
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Philosophy of Law, Ethics and Visualization

Slides https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1wO4BUZGp09UGPVoSyrHZKt3KDyJFUwg12KXZiyRW76s/edit?usp=sharing Can anyone provide authors or references to material on Ethics, Philosophy of Law or Logic ...
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Contractualism — Moral Contract Theory

I cannot really wrap my head around what Contractualism is. I have taken a logic course and I'm a rising sophomore. Could somebody explain the basic tenets of the theory? Thanks so much.
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What ethical problems might be involved in time travel?

Has anyone addressed the ethics of time travel? Time travel looks like a gold mine for moral dilemmas, but I don't know of anyone who addresses these issues. For example: Am I morally obligated to ...
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Modern Sophists?

I was wondering if in professional philosophy there are modern sophists. That is, people who have no qualms publishing on both sides of an issue, perhaps not being able to themselves come to ...
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On what grounds can a democratic state prohibit pornography?

On what grounds can a democratic state interfere to prohibit or limit its citizens from producing, distributing and consuming pornography? Does the state have any right to prohibit pornography or ...
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How can a theist justify not having children?

Most theists (perhaps, most people in general) would say that having a happy person is better than having no person at all. Indeed, most theists admit to this by saying that God "wanted to" or "...
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Are there any philosophers that argued for knowledge having intrinsic value?

Many (if not most) philosophers agree that knowledge has value. However, does it have intrinsic value, or is its value purely in its ability to affect things outside of the realm of knowledge? Are ...
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Is there a flaw in Spinoza's argument about gender inequality?

Spinoza, the 17th century philosopher wrote in his Political Treatise (Chapter XI): "If by nature women were equal to men, and were equally distinguished by force of character and ability, in which ...
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why is a man of sound mind responsible for his actions? [closed]

A sound mind would naturally suppose it had not created itself, i.e. absolutely designed its own fertilised egg and subsequent nurture. Then it is inconceivable that anything is responsible for ...
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Can an entire society be unethical?

Every month or so, I encounter an argument of the following basic form: A representative of Florin claims that the Guilderians are unethical for having the death penalty. A representative of Guilder ...
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Notions of Right and Wrong in Perfectionist Ethics

In perfectionist ethics, there are self-regarding duties -- that is, duties that prescribe responsibility to strive for excellence. However, one particular passage in the linked text seems ...