Questions tagged [ethics]

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

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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 ...
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427 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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Is Google Duplex unethical if it doesn’t specifically identify itself as a non-human?

The recent Google Duplex demo caused a firestorm of criticism online. One of the things that I kept hearing was that it was an unethical deception for an AI system to present itself as a human caller....
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230 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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458 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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348 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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What is a good example where the Doctrine of Double Effect is inconsistent?

Our ethics class was just analyzing the DDE and the professor tried to draw a parallel between two cases to show how the DDE isn't perfect. The first case had the scenario where a trolley is rolling ...
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56 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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173 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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77 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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149 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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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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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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197 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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36 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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37 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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25 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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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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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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80 views

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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53 views

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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49 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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339 views

What are some counter examples to Kant's moral philosophy about doing the right thing?

Kant believes that one way to find out what the right thing to do is to think what would happen if everyone followed the principle you’re following when you perform that action. What are some ...
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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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161 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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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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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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109 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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Morality, Animal Cruelty, and Non-Vegetarianism

This is a very common question, but I've always been torn about how I can give a rational moral justification for being a non-vegetarian. Is it not hypocritical for me to condemn other acts of animal ...
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57 views

Can we be morally responsible for our actions when luck is concerned?

I came across an argument against moral responsibility that follows like this: P1 A person P is morally responsible for the occurring of an event only if the event was not a matter of luck. ...
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35 views

If we are rationally obliged to be moral, and morality is not arbitrary, then are some decisions not freely made?

If we are rationally obliged to be moral, and morality is not arbitrary, then are some decisions not freely made? I mean 'not arbitrary' to mean that some values, e.g. courage, are more rational than ...
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3answers
105 views

Evil for its own sake

My readings/beliefs about weakness of will have led me to think that "evil for its own sake" is impossible. Yet, some actions seem to be done as such. So I think this difference is important: (A) I ...
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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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81 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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41 views

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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What are the top candidate ideas for pursuing a good life?

What are the candidate pursuits for a good life and who are the best to read to get a good understanding of the argument for pursuing any one over others? So far, these come to mind: Self-expression ...
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53 views

Organ Donation Obligation

Mike has a genetic kidney disease, which caused his kidney to fail at the age of 7. Mike has a biological child named John, who Mike knew would have a 100% chance of getting the disease. Now John is 7 ...
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61 views

Is this short summary of phenomenology accurate?

"Classical, pure phenomenology aims to comprehend “those structures of experience and understanding that permit different types of beings to show themselves as what they are.” It does this by ...
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55 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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Request for references: Moral values as the result of minimizing friction

Is there a name for a position on the origins of morality that is compatible with the following: "Good" and "bad" are not intrinsic properties of actions. The purpose making a moral judgment is to ...
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68 views

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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57 views

Making Moral Judgement: Thick Concepts versus Normative Concepts

In G. E. Anscombe's article "Modern Moral Philosophy", she thinks that it is meaningless to make moral judgements such as something is right, wrong, permissible and impermissible. Secondly, she thinks ...
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84 views

Is there a hybrid between non-cognitivism and cognitivism?

Non-Cognitivism is the view that ethical sentences cannot be true or false (that they do not form propositions) and Cognitivism that it can. I hold to the notion that ethical sentences such as "...
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What does 'semantic blindness' mean here?

A public talk to be given by Philosopher Michael Patrick Lynch at Oxford is to address: Fake news spread online is a clear danger to democratic politics. One aspect of that danger is obvious: it ...
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What were the changes to philosophy after the second world war?

I just want to know, like existentialism, what were the other theories in philosophy that changed due to the second world war and what new philosophical theories emerged due to the second world war.
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'No better than they ought to be'?

What moral judgement is involved in the claim, less common than it once was but still heard, that 'S/he is no better than s/he ought to be' ? This is a conceptual question, not one about English usage....
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56 views

Difference between weak Axiology, strong Axiology, weak Deontology, and strong Deontology

Axiology is the philosophical study of value. However, I don't see what strong Axiology and weak Axiology mean. The same thing with strong Deontology and weak Deontology. I can't seem to find the ...
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51 views

Introductory Text to Ethics

I'm looking for an introductory text into philosophical inquiry of ethics. I need this text to be exceedingly accessible (i.e. high school or undergraduate level) but still sufficiently ...
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133 views

Specific arguments for moral realism

I'm having great difficulty so far getting specific arguments for this position. Thus far what I've found are arguments that every other position is flawed and thus false. I'm looking for some that ...
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214 views

How can Kantianism prove the existence of perfect duties?

I heard about Kant's reasoning that lying that you return money or about the leads to contradiction in conception. But how could he even prove that lying under any circumstances leads to ...