Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [ethics]

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

10
votes
2answers
1k views

What are some good books on the relationship between animals and human beings?

So, there are a number of things I am actually after with this, but to try to encapsulate the concern briefly: which thinkers or writers might comment on the relationship between animals and human ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the standard responses to this criticism of utilitarianism?

Might not someone else's utility or preferences about what people do infringe upon what's ordinarily taken as right to liberty or privacy? For example, if there were someone who just found it ...
9
votes
1answer
299 views

Have any philosophers treated prevarication as morally equivalent to lying?

When I was a child, I had the tendency to prevaricate and make misleading statements, where what I had said was not false, but left out an important portion of the truth and deceived the listener into ...
8
votes
1answer
4k views

Why does Nietzsche say in the Antichrist that Aristotle “saw in pity a sickly and dangerous state of mind”?

In The Antichrist, Nietzsche starts with a very heavy attack on the emotion of pity, making statements like: Pity stands in opposition to all the tonic passions that augment the energy of the ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

How does Darwin's Theory of Evolution complicate a reading of Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysic of Morals?

Darwins Theory of Evolution states that the evolution of life underlies processes like selection, reproduction and variation. I think, essentially he says, that the occurences of any ability or ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the consequences of withholding new knowledge?

I have a project I'm working on that may bring about some new scientific knowledge. I hope to solve 3-SAT in quasi-polynomial or polynomial time. The idea is that this brings us a step closer to P=NP. ...
7
votes
2answers
488 views

Does the Euthyphro dilemma apply to secular ethics?

The original statement of the dilemma is found in Plato's Euthyphro: Just consider this question:—Is that which is holy loved by the gods because it is holy, or is it holy because it is loved ...
5
votes
4answers
763 views

Why is it more important in modern times to 'practise what you preach'?

I've started reading Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and something he wrote about the philosophers and religion made me think: In their writings and conversation, the philosophers ...
3
votes
3answers
287 views

Name for this kind of justice

I'm afraid that I am not too well versed in philosophy so I do not know whether this is a silly question, but I've had some difficulty in finding out what this is called. Question: Suppose we had a ...
5
votes
6answers
510 views

Is there any formal school of ethics that justify cruel treatment of people?

I'm not well versed in philosophy, which is why I'm asking, so feel free to tell me if I'm going at this in the wrong way. Is there any particular school of ethics that could justify cruel treatment (...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

What consequences has Locke's theory of knowledge had on modern political thought?

According to John Locke's notion of tabula rasa, there are no innate ideas in the mind. All human knowledge comes from sensible experience. Assuming this principle, it follows that there is no innate ...
7
votes
1answer
191 views

Should a philosopher's bigotry affect the interpretation of their work?

Aristotle is generally considered a genius of towering stature and the depth and breadth of his work are testament to this; however, by most accounts, and despite being progressive in many ways, he ...
3
votes
1answer
294 views

What About Organ Selling is Inherently Wrong?

Context: I was reading http://www.mitmunc.org/committee/HRC. In it selling organs selling organs seems to be thought of as an a priori wrong. I was somewhat surprised at the assumption that organ ...
2
votes
2answers
215 views

Is mankind God in an ethical sense?

In an ethical sense (i.e. not metaphysical), could God be equated with mankind? Many of the religious duties of people towards their god could as well be interpreted as duties towards their peers, e....
16
votes
6answers
6k views

Why would Aristotle argue that “a mechanic or a mercantile life” is “ignoble and inimical to virtue”?

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind. (Aristotle) UPDATE: As Michael notes below, a better translation of the above is in Rackham (reproduced from Michael's citation): But at present we are ...
2
votes
1answer
170 views

Does belief in the Law sytem even when counter to ones morals mean that one is immoral

Does ones support of legalized abortion or same sex marriage imply that this reflects the person's personal morality or can the personal sphere and public sphere be separated? For example a religious ...
2
votes
5answers
418 views

Can a deliberate rule-breaker be morally consistent without inviting a slippery-slope?

If an individual believes that it's OK to break a law for personal reasons, does moral consistency require that he should be accepting of other people's law-breaking? For example, is it morally ...
1
vote
1answer
261 views

Links between patriotism and racism [closed]

Is there any published research which attempts to establish a possible link between extreme patriotism and institutionalized racism? What do they conclude?
16
votes
5answers
3k views

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 ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Does skepticism inevitably lead to ethical relativism?

In this question, I will make a slippery slope argument. It's probably fallacious, but your task is the identify the point where one step does not inevitablly lead to the next step and explain why ...
2
votes
1answer
876 views

The death sentence, ethics and relativity [closed]

A very common question is, "should there be a death sentence?" I was brought up to defend the opinion that the government cannot do something that it itself considers illegal, unlawful and immoral. ...
3
votes
1answer
179 views

Can someone help me understand the intellectual property theft concept with this hypothetical question?

Let's say a student researcher at a university is given notebooks to lab take notes about the research during their time as a researcher. This student does so well that they are hired by a research ...
2
votes
2answers
314 views

If a company trained an employee, would it be unethical for him/her to apply their knowledge elsewhere?

I hear a lot about employers not paying employees for training. They want employees to pay and earn the skills for themselves, during their own time. But, if companies do provide training, they tend ...
3
votes
2answers
284 views

Is it ethical to give a hitchiker a ride [closed]

You are driving in a car and see a woman standing in a bus stop trying to hitchhike. Is it ethical to give her a lift? I can think of two reasons against: 1) By giving her a ride, you are actually ...
63
votes
16answers
16k views

Is it immoral to download music illegally?

I should first point out that the title is more to capture a common occurrence of the broader idea I want to address in this question. It is also somewhat incorrect in that—at least in the US—I'm not ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

Is unauthorized downloading of music stealing?

On the one hand, when you download music you are merely making a copy of something. You aren't depriving someone of a physical object. You aren't really taking anything. On the other hand, when you ...
13
votes
9answers
7k views

Is absolute ethical veganism an irrational position?

I have a handful of friends who are strictly vegan, and I talked with each of them before about their views. At least 3 of them have said to me that under no circumstance would they eat an animal or ...
3
votes
7answers
599 views

Is work neccessary to be happy?

I've been following some online discussions about the current economic situation. There are a number of solutions proposed to the economic malaise across much of the developed world, but one idea ...
6
votes
4answers
666 views

Does a reader have any responsibilities towards an author?

Are there any obligations a reader (of any form of text) has to fulfill towards the author? Which philosophers argue within this context? Example: Is there anyone arguing, a reader must / should (...
15
votes
9answers
2k views

Is it ethically correct to be proud of one's country?

It is a very well known phenomena that people feel pride for the country where they were born and/or live, even though the effect seems to be declining slightly nowadays. Frequently, governments also ...
22
votes
15answers
9k views

Are there any non-divine objective standards of good/evil?

This question is a step backwards because I've run into trouble with definitions on my original question: What would be the logical consequences of human will/nature being corrupt? Is there any way ...
-1
votes
2answers
223 views

being free of desires [closed]

I'm not satisfied with the situation I'm in currently. I tend to watch senseless TV shows and do other senseless things such as gaming for hours (it's ok to me to game about an hour, but if it takes ...
4
votes
2answers
196 views

Is it ethical to sell a product if I developed it with the help of responses to questions I posed to online communities?

Is it ethical to commercialize a product that was developed with the aid of the responses obtained from questions I posed to online Q&A communities? For instance, if I asked a question to a ...
2
votes
2answers
361 views

Is this definition of morality from a known philosopher or philosophical school?

I've heard the following definition of morality: A particular action or choice is moral or right if it somehow promotes happiness, well being or health, or it somehow minimizes unnecessary harm or ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

What views of government were based on Kantian ethics?

Historically, what kinds of government and politics have been influenced by the maxims of Kant's "categorical imperative"? Take for example, the maxim that one should only act in such a way that the ...
4
votes
3answers
627 views

What are the minimum necessary and sufficient conditions for something to be considered sentient?

The answer to Could a sentient machine suffer? suggests that The ability to suffer would not seem to be a necessary condition for sentience This made me wonder what the minimum necessary and ...
0
votes
1answer
7k views

How does philosophy impact “real life”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How is philosophy useful? Examinging its practical and real-life impact and the benefits of getting a degree in philosophy Many people today are of the opinion that philosophy ...
7
votes
1answer
446 views

What are the current leading theories of intergenerational ethics?

Systems of ethics that address intergenerational issues should provide guidance on how to balance the interests of those people nearing the end of their lives, those just beginning, and those in ...
4
votes
1answer
198 views

What were Kant's thoughts on ethics and “Transcendental Deduction”?

What is Kant's thoughts on ethics? And what do his "Transcendental Deduction" ideas have to do with his ideas on ethics? Please keep in mind that I'm a a newb to philosophy, so the simper and more ...
3
votes
3answers
774 views

Does the rejection of moral relativism intellectually necessitate moral axioms that are logically indefensible? [closed]

Personally, I believe it's fair to assume nature/reality has no purpose. Quite often, people that, like myself, have some interest in natural sciences, agree that there are good reasons to believe ...
6
votes
5answers
399 views

How can a nation be legitimized in declaring sovereignty over newborns?

Suppose a child is born. In the entire world, that person will inherit his parent's nationality, hence, becoming citizen of a certain country. (Or two countries, in specific cases.) That means that ...
12
votes
5answers
888 views

If the “right to life” is denied in abortion, isn't it also denied in the use of the death penalty?

Many people who support death penalty are also against abortion, and vice-versa. What is the moral difference between the two? In both cases, isn't the "right to life" of another being violated? ...
6
votes
8answers
8k views

When is it right to break the rules? [closed]

Not really an history question but the ethics/philosophy question came about while thinking of history. Lincoln violated the constitution a few times and although he's universally recognized as a ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Which ethical philosophy is concerned with maximizing expected universal good?

Take this ethical belief: "People should act such that they, upon considering with a reasonable amount of effort related to the significance of the decision, believe that they will maximize the good ...
6
votes
1answer
147 views

What if any cognitive science research has been done on the experiences of animals in captivity?

I was reading this question, and it reminded me of something interesting I had once stumbled upon, although for the life of me I cannot remember where. I think it may have been a book (perhaps a ...
20
votes
7answers
1k views

Could a sentient machine suffer?

I was considering this closed question very intently, and I found that I'm not at all fluent in the idea of modern slavery. Many philosophers have spoken on slavery. On this forum, someone has already ...
9
votes
1answer
296 views

Which if any contemporary philosophers have written about the potential negative effects of “reverse” discrimination?

In many cases when I talk about how I think, I find it useful to abstract the messy real sources of inspiration into a pure dialogue with my friend Matt. In this case, Matt and I were talking about ...
11
votes
2answers
300 views

Is it ethical for governments to compel their citizens to lead healthy lives?

Dr Peter Agre(MD) recently said this at the Lindau Meeting (Original full text from Ars Technica) Agre also noted that many of the biggest public health problems are a result of lifestyle ...
31
votes
5answers
2k views

Does humanism's rejection of God necesitate relativism?

I had the following discussion on Programmers.SE: @Peter Turner, Which is a good example of how religion warps morality, leading people to imagine their concerns are moral when they are profoundly ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

How much if any suspension of civil liberties can be ethically justified during a “state of war”? [closed]

We constantly see civil liberties getting sacked because the country/state/city/town is in a state of war (let it be curfews or bugging civilian mobile phones). How much is ok? At what level is it ...