Questions tagged [ethics]

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

171 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
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259 views

Why did Nietzsche call Spinoza his 'precursor'?

In a letter Nietzsche made the following comment about Spinoza; "I am utterly amazed, utterly enchanted! I have a precursor, and what a precursor! I hardly knew Spinoza: that I should have turned ...
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1answer
407 views

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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708 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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365 views

How has Foucault Philosophy of Surveillance been critiqued?

One of the horrors of the communist police-states of Eastern Europe was the incredible amount of information that the police force kept on the general population. This was often not gathered just by ...
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485 views

Is there any author that argues for radical moral pluralism?

Let me first clarify what I mean with "radical" here. While many modern authors, if not all, accept moral pluralism of sorts, all that I know of express either the hope, if not the conviction, that ...
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64 views

Is absolute moral relativism impossible?

Is my rationale correct here?: If relativism is relative, relativism is a contradiction in itself, because you’re forced to believe what other people think is morally correct, is correct for them, and ...
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75 views

How to argue that some inequality is justifiable in order to maximize the well-being of the worst off in Rawls's theory of justice?

In context, I have to describe what we think is a just society by Rawls theory of justice. I want to try and use Scandinavia, for example, the Nordic Model as a representation as a just society. ...
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231 views

Is there a quantitative model of Bentham's Hedonic Calculus?

Jeremy Bentham, in Chapter 4 of his 1781 An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, defines what has become known as the Hedonic Calculus. He states, Pleasures then, and the ...
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2k views

How Kant's second formulation of the categorical imperative interacts with consent

Kant's second formulation (or the "ends in themselves" formulation) says: use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as ...
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96 views

How do the Officer's Oath and the Enlisted Oath interact

I've come across a military question which is so subtle that I think it has to be answered from a philosophical perspective, dealing with the meaning of "duty" and nuanced things like that. In many ...
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161 views

Is there any normative theory within pragmatic ethics?

I've read wikipedia's article on pragmatic ethics and it does not produce any norms. Rather, it is only a template for normative ethical theories, like how deontology is a template and CI is a real ...
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49 views

How do the authors show that arguments based on property rights can't be used to determine the wrongness of rape in Gardner's paper?

In "The Wrongness of Rape" by Gardner and Shute, (section 3: Infringing the proprietor's rights), what do the authors mean when they say that The analogies between rape and burglary here ...
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64 views

How would Kant/Mill justify causing somebody discomfort when doing the righteous thing?

I was wondering how Kant, or even Mill might respond to the issue that when doing the righteous thing, say standing up for yourself against a bully, or somebody who wants to impede on your rights, you ...
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68 views

Should freedom of speech be limited?

I am radically in favor of freedom of expression. The way to deal with that is by undoing arguments over and over. It takes work, but I see it as necessary. However, as I am seeing various contacts ...
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44 views

How do ethical values shape one's aesthetics?

I have been struggling through an idea for the past several months regarding the order of values and its influence upon art. It started with a quick tour of an online art gallery showcasing Rafael, ...
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2answers
103 views

Is there an ethical difference between taking away and withholding?

Has anyone in contemporary ethics discussed whether or not there is a difference between (1) taking something away (e.g., stealing $100) or withholding something (e.g., refusing to pay $100 of taxes)?
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126 views

The debate around moral veganism

There is an ongoing debate around morality of food habit. Of this debate I have only heard one side, the side of the moral vegans. Bentham, Singer and others propose veganism based on utilitarian ...
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1answer
87 views

How does Consequentialism handle uncertainty?

E.g. Suppose you are a Consequentialist faced with a variation of the trolley car problem. Your options are to save five people with a 20% likelihood or one person with a 100% likelihood. Which option,...
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113 views

Hapiness in virtue ethics

I have several questions regarding virtue ethics: 1) Let us imagine a person who says something like "money, not virtue makes me happy", and this conclusion is based on one's experience or even ...
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253 views

Which philosophers have contradicted Nietzsche?

These days I'm becoming tired of the recurrent introduction of Friedrich Nietzsche as the epitome of the philosophical genius, the revolutionary whose ideas have never been as relevant as now and the ...
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310 views

What were the moral and aesthetic ideas that Camus was interested in?

I have read most of the books by Albert Camus thoroughly. I know that Camus' theory is absurdity but I want to know his take on morality. I mean, what were the moral and aesthetic ideas that Camus was ...
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3answers
133 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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43 views

Why do some actions contain normative implications and some do not

Off the bat, my specific question is actually if someone can point me to the philosophic domain of inquiry which deals with the above question. In context, I am doing a paper on Rawls. Joseph Raz ...
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80 views

Is there a term for prioritisation of values in ethics?

By prioritisation of ethics, I mean examples such as someone in WW2 lying to the authorities that they didn't hide Jews in their basement, therefore indicating that they value preserving lives more ...
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28 views

What are the justification for Kants moral philosophy?

I have trouble understanding the justification Kant gives for his moral philosphy. My main problem is: Why is practical reason the way humans can figure out the morality of an action? Why is it ...
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95 views

Ethics of downloading copyrighted printed material

At first blush it's "theft of services" (among other things), as already pointed out by @MichaelDorfman's answer to Is unauthorized downloading of music stealing? Below's my maybe (or maybe not) more ...
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168 views

How do compatibilists understand “responsible”?

In Scott Christensen's book "What about free will?" on page 119 is "Pharaoh is held responsible for his actions". The reason given for God attributing culpability is "You are exalting yourself...". ...
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63 views

Which current moral philosophers take similar positions to those taken by Anscombe on moral obligation?

I would like to read current moral philosophers who take similar positions on moral obligation as those taken by G. E. M. Anscombe in Modern Moral Philosophy. Her view, as I understand it, is that ...
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61 views

Did Heidegger talk about malice at all?

Did Heidegger talk about malice at all? I agree and find interesting if not useful most of Nietzsche's aphorisms but felt that his analysis of malice was just weak, and obviously so. However, I liked ...
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95 views

Reference request: applied ethics and the finance industry

Have any philosophers written about ethics and the financial services industry? I'm less interested in the bits covered by law (insider trading, etc) than ethical issues around the role the industry ...
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197 views

How would ethics or moral science be different if (human) life were eternal?

I admit that my question is quite useless in terms of practical philosophy or ethics, but I came to wonder how ethics will be changed if the life of human beings or further, the life of every ...
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89 views

What did Schopenhauer mean by 'slipping a tip to a head-waiter when pretending to be above such things'?

I bolded and italicised this simile below. Source: p. 46 Middle. Ethics: A Beginner's Guide (2015) by Peter Cave. Slipping a tip: Kant thought moral duty must be carried out for its own sake; ...
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175 views

Does the idea of psychological egoism about only dignity make sense?

I understand that psychological egoism is the idea that everyone will always act in their own interest. I gather that human dignity is the cornerstone of Kantian ethics. I am kinda seriously leaning ...
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51 views

Within a duty based framework, are apologies contingent on the harmed party's acknowledgement of or contrition for wrongdoing?

During the debate on whether Obama should apologise for the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as some people making trolley problem style comments about how many would have been ...
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83 views

Does Every Logic Have the Potential for Violent Measurement?

Measurement, in the broad sense, involves useful abstractions and logical applicability that allow us to survey environmental data with extreme precision and prediction. The tools or instruments used ...
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117 views

Nozick-like argument for property rights?

So, upon reading Nozick again I ran into something I haven't seen any libertarians argue vis a vis justifications of property rights (I don't think Nozick wouldn't promote this as an argument since ...
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377 views

What role can guilt play in Bentham's utilitarianism?

If Bentham posited a sense of guilt as pain that most would feel when doing wrong by others, then surely Utilitarianism would be unnecessary due to Bentham's own work on the motivation of human beings....
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177 views

What is the relationship between conceptual engineering and social change?

I am currently doing research on the relationship between projects in conceptual engineering and actual, realized, social change. Of primary interest to me is how, for instance, Haslanger's ...
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1answer
62 views

Historically, were most philosophers moral realists before the rise of physicalism?

Moral facts seem weird because they don't seem to mesh too well with a purely physicalist ontology (although there is such a thing as ethical naturalism). It somehow seems odd that alongside the facts ...
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5answers
214 views

Why do some deontological ethical frameworks seem to reduce to consequentialism?

I may have a defunct understanding of deontological ethics, but for some reason it seems to me that deontological ethics ultimately reduce to consequentialist theories. Take, for instance, Kant's ...
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25 views

Examining and challenging the IS-OUGHT gap and the FACT-VALUE dichotomy

Could anyone recommend undergrad-level intro papers or secondary literature on the is-ought gap and fact-value dichotomy please? Keen to read examinations and challenges. thanks
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41 views

How would infinitism intersect ethical beliefs?

Assuming that some moral knowledge is to be action-guiding, how could one appeal to an infinite chain of reasons to justify moral beliefs? (This is at least another "proof-of-concept" issue ...
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27 views

Is “I should behave morally” a moral statement?

I am a new hand in learning English. And I feel confused when I am trying to distinguish between moral statements and non-moral statemnts. Consider the following statements: You shouldn't steal ...
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59 views

How does one reconcile Nietzsche's view of kindness?

On the one hand, N espouses that people shall almost ignore the needs of other people to achieve one's own greatness. But on the other hand he describes kindness as "Kindness and love, the most ...
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39 views

Do any philosophers discuss the ethics of the possible negative repercussions from doing what is morally good?

Aside from utilitarianism, most ethical systems seem to advocate actions that might hurt somebody or at least inconvenience them. For example, standing up to a bully might hurt them. Making a stand ...
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49 views

Is my understanding of Ethics in Existentialism correct? I'm trying to get over how Sartre and de Beauvoir tackle the problem of anarchy

Please check my reasoning! Existentialism says that man is what he wills himself to be, and needs to decide his own morality. There is no overarching maxim that can a priori guide his moral judgements,...
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1answer
46 views

For Mill, is all speech ethical so long as it doesnt conflict with the harm principle?

I understand that Mill was a big advocate of freedom of speech and expression. Im just wondering whether he just saw that as state policy or if he thought that on an individual level all speech is ...
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49 views

What would Kant say about treating people who lack strength of will?

For example, a smoker who wants to quit but can't resist the temptation of a smoke is an autonomous person but lacks strength of will (or character, or habitual rational moral acting). What would he ...
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21 views

Should an ethical system aspire to rigorous epistemological justification, and is it possible to attain?

There seems to be no ethical system which does not rely on either the generalization of the mind (ie, arguments reliant upon compassion or empathy) or the assumption of some starting value (ie, "...
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38 views

Why should inclusivity and tolerance be constraint for a theory of decisional capacity?

The article Decision-Making Capacity (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) says that any successful theory of decisional capacity must turn out that most ordinary adults count as having capacity most ...