Questions tagged [ethics]

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

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22
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15answers
10k 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 ...
16
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6answers
4k views

Is God either immoral or not omnipotent?

The usual (Christian) justification for suffering/evil in the world created by a benevolent God is freedom of the will. However, the more interesting question is not about the source of evil (which ...
7
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6answers
557 views

Is it a logical flaw to blame someone for an event if they were simply its causal factor?

I would ask if this is a logical fallacy, but I don't think you can consider wrongful attribution of blame to be a logical fallacy, because attributing blame is a normative claim, not a descriptive ...
31
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8answers
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What would Kant do when two categorical imperatives conflict? Could he ever justify lying?

Suppose a German SS officer knocked on my door, asking me whether I had any Jews. And suppose further that I had two Jews in a secret compartment in the attic that he'd never be able to find. ...
4
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2answers
10k views

What are some examples of categorical imperatives/universalizable maxims relevant to modern ethics?

I know this question has been widely asked, and that the answer may not be as straightforward as the question, which is partly why I'm asking. It's been a long time since I sat in a philosophy class, ...
10
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7answers
2k views

Do human rights exist?

What is the basis for believing that there is such a thing as human rights? I am all for human rights but it could be argued that the notion of human rights is imaginary and reducible to absurdity (...
11
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9answers
66k views

What exactly do 'objective' and 'subjective' mean in contemporary philosophy?

I'm pretty new to philosophy and I just have a quick question in regards to about how people use the terms 'objective' and 'subjective'. Does objective value mean anything that is independent of one'...
21
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13answers
8k views

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 ...
2
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1answer
324 views

Does antinatalism carry the seeds of its own destruction?

Antinatalists claim that it is immoral to procreate. For instance: David Benatar argues there is an asymmetry between pleasure and pain, which means it would be better for humans not to have ...
12
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2answers
2k views

What is the difference between ethics and morals?

I am currently writing an essay on artificial moral agents, and I need to explain the difference between ethics and morals. However, I am finding it really hard to find a good book or research paper ...
3
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1answer
341 views

Does it even make sense to say pleasure has an innate value

I know that Nietzsche claims that some moral systems place too much value on pleasure, and that it isn't innately valuable like they claim. I keep being struck by the idea that it having innate value ...
69
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16answers
17k 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 ...
52
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17answers
20k views

Why is a lion not evil?

One often hears the claim that animals who kill and such, are not in fact evil. The typical example is that of a lion or a tiger that kills a prey. The argument is more or less that the animal acts ...
13
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9answers
75k views

What did Nietzsche mean by monsters and the abyss?

What do you think Nietzsche meant by "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." (...
22
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4answers
19k views

What, if anything, is the difference between ethics and moral philosophy?

Are the terms 'Ethics' and 'Moral Philosophy' different in extension as terms in philosophy? Some Departments of Philosophy have courses with titles like "Introduction to Ethics" and others with ...
15
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8answers
19k views

Is it possible to be truly selfless or altruistic?

Is it possible for people to actually be selfless? It seems that in many cases where someone is being kind, they are actually performing in a manner that will benefit them. Either the recipient of the ...
21
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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 ...
13
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3answers
18k views

What is the Difference Between Human Rights and Natural Rights?

When people discuss the human rights and natural rights, there seems to be a distinction between the two, where standard interpretations of human rights (such as the Universal Declaration of Human ...
13
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7answers
4k views

Is it possible that evolution brought human kind morality?

I've heard this (rather odd imho) statement that evolution, by the need of survival, dictated humans to uphold moral codes in order to survive, thus gaining a moral system. Now, to my understanding, ...
7
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4answers
10k views

Why shouldn't you lie to the future murderer of your children?

I've heard two versions of this anecdote about Kant's ethics: You are at home and a man with an axe rings the bell. He asks where your children are so that he can kill them. It is, according to ...
5
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4answers
2k views

How do utilitarians avoid ethical totalitarianism?

Utilitarianism, when dealing with the question of what is the best course of action for a whole group (community, country, society as whole, etc...), states that the maximum benefit for the maximum ...
12
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6answers
204k views

What is the difference between Rule Utilitarianism and Act Utilitarianism?

Based on the definitions given by Wikipedia , Rule Utilitarianism and Act Utilitarianism both seems to imply the same meaning Rule Utilitarianism Action is right as it conforms to a rule that ...
9
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2answers
12k views

Is virtue necessary to achieve eudaimonia?

Stoics believe that virtue (ἀρετή) is necessary and sufficient to achieve happiness (εὐδαιμονία). It was the "sufficient" portion that marked Stoics out from other ancient philosophy, but I suspect ...
5
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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 ...
2
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3answers
177 views

Can my attitude kill you?

Would it be morally reprehensible to tell a truth to someone if I know or suspect that it may cause them harm or discomfort? Of course there are trivial instances like telling a dying man he is going ...
1
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1answer
354 views

How can one derive naturalistic moral principles without referencing utility?

When considering the derivation of moral principles from a naturalistic point of view, it would seem to me that moral statements can only be conceived of in one way. That is, if we are trying to make ...
9
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5answers
19k views

Would Kant choose to sacrifice one life to save another?

If what I know about Kant is correct- watching the Harvard Justice series on Kant and some summaries of his work- then Kant believes in an absolute morality where everything is either right or wrong ...
7
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3answers
390 views

Morality of Interfering in Foreign Elections

What kinds of moral theories, or even just considerations, come into play for state-level action in trying to influence another nation's political election process, in terms of information/propaganda? ...
6
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1answer
594 views

Are analogies between ethics and mathematics philosophically coherent?

Analogies between ethics and mathematics are pretty common – probably because of their shared a priori nature. Philosophical laymen use them, like “Scott Alexander” (no, you don't need to know him), ...
3
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8answers
4k views

Why should people be moral even if there is no incentive or consequence for morality of a lack of?

In my philosophy class we were discussing ethical hedonism, whether the only good in the world is pleasure. My question to you is this: Why should people be moral to each other if their actions have ...
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6answers
2k views

What fallacy dismisses criticism of a bad law with “just don't break it”?

Let's say someone is criticizing the government for instituting some draconian policy, and/or for persecuting people for doing something minor. And the response is:"Just don't do it and you'll be fine"...
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5answers
1k views

Does a moral act have to be necessarily beautiful?

Kant argues in his Third Critique (sec. 59) that moral uprightness and decency brings us pleasure as in a reflective, judgment of taste: Now I say that the beautiful is the symbol of the morally ...
23
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8answers
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Does the existence of psychopaths pose a problem for moral realists who argue we have a moral intuition?

Psychopathy is not universally agreed upon in psychology, but among some there is a consensus that psychopathy is highly heritable, and that psychopaths are lacking in conscience and empathy. ...
13
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5answers
569 views

How does the simulation hypothesis relate to the ethics of simulated violence?

Say, for the sake of this question, the simulation hypothesis is real. Are we then hurting "persons"/conscious beings in "our simulations" - video games - when we fight them? Why (not)? If so, is this ...
10
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1answer
2k views

What is an attribute, as used in Spinoza's Ethics?

In Spinoza's Ethics, the definitions of Part 1. include a supposedly all important term: Attribute, defined by Spinoza in the following: "IV. By attribute, I mean that which the intellect perceives ...
9
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6answers
640 views

Which authors have discussed death in philosophy?

Could anyone point me to some authors who have discussed the ideas surrounding death in western Philosophy? (Not whether we know we exist but rather the concept of mortality and immortality).
4
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3answers
203 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, ...
3
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7answers
4k views

What is ethics really about? (the goal or the means) [closed]

I have always assumed, perhaps naively, that the basic goal of ethics is to provide judgements of possible outcomes of one's actions, and thus also advice on the way one should act. I just realised ...
11
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9answers
842 views

Is altruism a contradiction?

A discussion at work recently involved our CEO (who has a psychology degree and is generally very knowledgable.. I have a lot of respect for his opinion) stating with great confidence that altruism is ...
7
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9answers
6k views

Arguments for moral realism?

I would like to hear some good arguments for moral realism. Most that I find online is based on "If you don't believe in objective values, then murder is okay". While this might seem frightening, I ...
6
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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
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6answers
383 views

Are “universal human rights” demonstrable? How?

Are "universal human rights" (as per definitions by United Nations or others who try to argue for them) demonstrateable? How? I personally question this concept due to several reasons: Universality ...
2
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3answers
111 views

Can my attitude kill you? Part 2

This question follows on (sort off): Can my attitude kill you? Taking attitude to mean: The unique medley of ideas that makes the person. Suppose I'm a doubly depressed neurotic pessimist. Who can ...
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3answers
305 views

How do we define a bad person?

Considering the following facts; Some fundamental vices of human nature like greed, ignorance, lust, or the seven sins are inherent in a human which are there for not his/her choice. We don't know ...
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6answers
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Is “Don't blame me; I voted for ___” a bad argument?

Is there a fallacy in the argument, "Don't blame me; I voted for ..."? Or is a voter's entire responsibility for their contribution to whatever current state of political affairs they experience ...
6
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3answers
461 views

Is ethics anthropocentric?

Is ethics anthropocentric? It seems as if ethics mainly revolves around the issues that human intelligence faces? Do we treat ethics as just a mere end and not a means, and if so, does that make ...
4
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4answers
244 views

Do experiences need to be “real” to be worthwhile or desireable?

This is an offshoot of another discussion: Can "expected future happiness" be quantified, or at least ranked among alternative futures?, where both respondents brought up the concept of the ...
2
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1answer
683 views

Suicide versus the Will to Live

Schopenhauer's idea of Will to Live was this idea that love is a tool used by life to reproduce children. He then said that people with whom we are likely to make the most "well-balanced" children ...
2
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2answers
148 views

Does 'all the value that we associate with persons' always hold true?

The second heading: Reasons of principle Torture treats the victim as a means to an end and not an end in themselves [First bullet] ● it treats the victim as a 'thing', not as a person with ...
105
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13answers
15k views

Am I morally obligated to pursue a career in medicine?

I am a high school student who has no formal training in philosophy, so I apologize if this question seems naïve. However, it is one that I am currently facing in a life decision, and I would like a ...