Questions tagged [ethics]

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

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65 views

Where does ethics place the line between self interest and altruism?

Assuming I were to decide between getting Benefit A myself or somebody else getting A. All things being equal (need, desire, etc), is it correct to say most ethical theories (other than egoism) would ...
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3answers
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Are people inherently good according to Plato?

Are people inherently good according to Plato? Are Gods subject to forms, in the sense that they are good because they are subject to the form of good, or are they independent of the forms? Because I ...
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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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Meaning of a parenthetical in The Gay Science

Early in The Gay Science, Nietzsche includes a curious sentence in parentheses: "The poets, for instance, were always the valets of some morality or other." I'm curious what this means and ...
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1answer
71 views

What is an utilitarianism answer to the conflict between self-interest and the common good?

As far as I understand, if we accept utilitarianism ethics, then the right thing to do is to maximize the happiness of everyone, including all sentient beings. But this does not leave any space for ...
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3answers
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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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220 views

What are some arguments for judging historical figures by contemporary standards?

I've seen quite a lot of arguments against judging historical figures by modern standards, most representatively by the principle of moral relativism. Is there any argument for it though? The only ...
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2answers
123 views

Is there any consequentialist moral theory aside from utilitarianism?

I've noticed that when I read about ethics, "consequentialism" is sometimes described as a broader category of which utilitarianism is only an example, but sometimes the word seems to be ...
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459 views

If everything that happens is “part of God's plan”, how can anything be immoral? [closed]

My question is addressed to people familiar with religious theology for any monotheistic religion (e.g., Christian doctrine, Islamic doctrine, etc.). For example, I have heard practicing Christians ...
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2answers
138 views

Are all non-deductive arguments inductive?

I am having troubles with understanding this question. Can someone give me an example/insight about where to go from here?
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4answers
184 views

Do I have to do something rather than nothing?

Disclaimer: I'm a newbie in Philosophy, and this question is most probably answered somewhere (on this site or not), but I've been looking for a while now and it's a little difficult to steer myself ...
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4answers
132 views

What reason does anyone have to help animals?

I don't know if I should ask this question here (or anywhere). If it's universally accepted (it probably isn't since it seems nothing is universally agreed upon) that humans should be prioritized over ...
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In the philosophy of Josiah Royce, is there a tension between the individual and society?

I'm reading through Josiah Royce's view on the self and this is what I think he believes the tension to be between the individual and society: "The tension between the individual and society is ...
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Is corruption always morally wrong?

The question is whether corruption is always morally/ethically wrong. To set up the premise, let me start with some examples. In third world countries (I'm from one myself, so I can speak from ...
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1answer
56 views

Usage of the word 'deontological'

When discussing deontological ethics vs consequentialism, the examples given are generally somewhat drastic: e.g. killing one person to save five. But what about something which is 'harmless fun' but ...
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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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Is this guy's thinking more inclined towards Kant's philosophy or utilitarianism

Suppose there is a young adult guy who is suffering from chronic illness. He recently lost his job because of his illness and feels things are only going to get worst for him in the future with his ...
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1answer
164 views

Are Borat-style pranks ethical?

In Borat and related works, pranks tend to follow the following course. An impersonator will pretend to be a bigoted (e.g. racist, sexist, or anti-Semitic) character. The impersonator will then ...
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Is there a moral to the deontic-logic story?

In alethic modal logic, it is arguably conventional (or metaphysically thematic) to start with a possibility or a necessity operator. For example, you can start with possibility and get not-possibly (...
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Are all good deeds selfish? [duplicate]

If doing good deeds makes us feel good and forces us to do more good, are we now doing it for our own feelings or for the actual good? If the former, then are we being selfish?
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Does the so-called “Copenhagen interpretation of ethics” have a formal name in moral philosophy?

I was recently introduced to the term Copenhagen interpretation of ethics in an interesting blog post that defined it thusly: The Copenhagen Interpretation of Ethics says that when you observe or ...
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3answers
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“Ought implies can” or “Can implies ought”?

As far as I understand, the well known Kant's principle "Ought implies can" means: if you are morally obliged to do X, then you ought to do X. And (as explained here: http://web.mnstate.edu/...
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1answer
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Who was the first to posit that “culture determines the moral status of things within that culture”? [closed]

I am studying moral philosophy and I wish to learn who was the first to posit the above quote, preferably in similar wording as above.
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If a crime physically cannot be committed again, would applying “Reform instead of Punishment” be necessary?

I think there are 3 main arguments for the imprisonment of criminals: A) criminals can be locked away for a temporary or indefinite amount of time so they cannot commit another crime again B) ...
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How shall I understand Wittgenstein's comment on Russell's work?

Ludwig Wittgenstein said Russell’s books should be bound in two colours…those dealing with mathematical logic in red – and all students of philosophy should read them; those dealing with ethics and ...
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What does “You go to women? Do not forget the whip!” mean?

As an Iranian citizen I have read most Nietzsche's books which have been translated in Persian/Farsi language as my mother tongue. There are still debates between translators,philosophers and ...
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What is the roadmap for learning applied ethics, if targeting academia?

I am a undergraduate student studying philosophy. Our university is good at history of philosophy, but very poor at problem-oriented philosophy. However, I wish to enter academia and study applied ...
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Theory that we do everything for our own benefit

Are there any popular theories or principles that answer this question: Do all actions proceed from a need to satisfy one's own personal discontent? In the future I want to study theoretical physics. ...
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Alessio Moretti's graphs

Moretti and his colleagues are at the head of a school of logic focused on the tradition of the Square of Opposition and similar graphs/diagrams. Besides a strong thesis of logical form depending on/...
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Are there philosophically serious moral arguments against eugenics?

First, I'm sure there are, but I have yet to read much in this area. It seems that most moral arguments are or quickly become historical arguments about violent or judicial racism, which may then ...
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3answers
403 views

moral relativism on science

Can you explain to me what Einstein meant in the following context? Some moral relativists try to say that science can be used to dictate ethics, but even secular scientists admit that science is a ...
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Is there a point to arguing about the meaning of words?

Firstly, I should mention that I am not sure, whether this the right place to ask such a question, but I am trying it anyway. Furthermore, one could say I come from a mathematics background and I am ...
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2answers
273 views

What is a moral statement

Consider the following statements I feel lying is wrong. I prohibit lying. I dislike lying. I think lying is bad. Are these statements moral statements ? I think they only express a certain attitude ...
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218 views

Is it ethical to pursue one's own interests even at the expense of someone else's interests?

Say you and someone else are competing for a spot on a professional sports team. You're equally good, and in the end it'll come down to minor preference by the scout or randomness as to who gets ...
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“being blameworthy (which might not take alienation into account)” vs. and “being blamed (which would)”

How does being blameworthy differ from being blamed? My question is based on footnote 119 that I emboldened. I tried to read the primary source, but it's too complicated for me. I never studied ...
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How is Socrates's daimon related to one of Aquinas's laws/views of virtue and justice

In Plato's Apology of Socrates, Socrates talks about having a daimon, a divine being/voice that tells him of things not to do. For Aquinas, what would this be?
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For a utilitarian, is a lie morally equivalent to a mistake?

As far as I know, utilitarians consider that only the consequences should be considered as the calculation of the morality of an action. Since a mistake and a lie differ only in their intent, are ...
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1answer
47 views

Responsibility for animals as human and does it undermine true equality?

I have been thinking lately, coming to an interesting point of view, which may not necessarily be mine (not yet sure about that), but still worth to talk about. Unfortunately, I came into heated ...
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2answers
546 views

How could I possibly apply rule-utilitarianism in real life?

If I believe in rule-utilitarianism as the best moral system we have to judge what actions are right and wrong, how would I go about applying this system pratically in real life decisions? For ...
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1answer
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Is there a universally accepted definition of what constitutes 'science' from a philosophy of science perspective?

The term science gets bandied about so much that it is not always clear what is meant. This is fine in conversation, etc. But it becomes problematic when the question becomes, is there a proper domain ...
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Identifying a principle that connects actions with responsibilities

Consider the following statement: If x has decided to make an action A that caused B and x was aware that A could (with sufficiently high probability) cause B (when (s)he did A), then x is morally ...
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Just how seriously is virtue ethics under attack by moral psychology?

K.A. Appiah, in his "Experiments in Ethics" (2008), gives a rather drastic picture of the attack virtue ethics finds itself under by moral psychology. In a nutshell, (a vast amount of) ...
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Parfit's mountain

Let Parfit's mountain be a moral theory based on combining previous moral theories in a certain way. (Readers of the book referenced will be familiar with the form of this way. I read part of it, ...
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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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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 ...
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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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What impact has Douglas Hofstadter's superrationality had in terms of philosophy?

Superrational decision making is a type of rational decision making in which the players cooperate in a one-shot prisoner's dilemma without coordination, punishment, or magical thinking. The idea is ...
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What kind of sexual act is moral?

As far as I know if someone doesn't believe in a divine entity that is the source of morality he/she considers morality to be subjective. He/she believes morality exists to minimize the pain and ...
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405 views

Why should we care about anyone?

If we take the World as absurd - without any meaning or end result, and believe in no such thing as God or afterlife (taking Camus' stance in Myth of Sisyphus), why should anyone, fundamentally, care ...
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Philosophy and Mental Health [closed]

I have heard a story of a Peace Pilgrim, an American pilgrim and ascetic, who managed to heal one sick man through conversation. The man was suffering from general degeneration of health and doctors ...

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