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Questions tagged [ethics]

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

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1answer
674 views

Does Western-Europe still espouse Slave Morality?

Nietschze criticised Christianity for espousing slave morality. How true is this? Given that Christianity became the religion of the ruling classes, isn't it more correct to say that slave morality is ...
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1answer
181 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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
152 views

What other term does Singer use in regard to Continuous Moral Improvement?

I think I recall reading in Peter Singer's "Animal Liberation" that humans, by nature, have a Continuous Moral Improvement. This was in reference to how sexism and racism are become less common, and ...
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What is the origin of love, in Hobbesian philosophy?

According to Hobbes, Passions are identified as those interior beginnings of motion, by which the imagination eventually motivates us to action. He then describes various emotions such as glory, ...
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2answers
237 views

Can partial suppression of freedom be justified for the sake of efficient and/or superior performance?

At first sight, this question may seem absurd, however I would like this question to be scaled down to less intensity. I do not in any way state that I support this, however, out of curiosity this ...
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1answer
616 views

What is the difference between patriarchial right and the paternal right?

I am reading a paper on Hobbes interpretation of patriarchy, which says hobbes patriarchy is non paternal, i.e. he proposes a patriarchal right that is different from paternal right? What is the exact ...
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2answers
362 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 ...
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6answers
517 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 (...
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1answer
296 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 ...
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1answer
313 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 ...
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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 ...
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10answers
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When is violence appropriate?

In what situations would violence be appropriate? The way I see it, the only excuse is as a response to violence (self-defense). Am I missing anything?
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644 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).
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8answers
832 views

Which philosophy forces others to act altruistically?

I see and hear various media/articles and people's view which insist others to commit altruistic acts. Sometimes to the extent that it is no more persuasion but force. Why is that right or wrong and ...
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1answer
174 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 ...
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195 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 ...
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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....
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1answer
262 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?
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8answers
3k views

If you kill someone who is committing suicide, are you culpable for his death? [closed]

One of our definition questions particularly intrigued me. If a man were committing suicide by jumping off a building and you shot him on the way down, killing him, are you culpable for his death? ...
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1answer
961 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. ...
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2answers
318 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 ...
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2answers
304 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 ...
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4answers
757 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 (...
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2answers
198 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 ...
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2answers
280 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 ...
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3answers
656 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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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8answers
9k 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 ...
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2answers
254 views

How has neuroscience characterized classic Benthamite utilitiarian reasoning in situations like the trolley problem?

With regards to the famous trolley problem, I know that neuroscientists have largely found people believe it is morally wrong to flip the switch to kill one man in order to save five strangers. I ...
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5answers
965 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? ...
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1answer
212 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 ...
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1answer
449 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 ...
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3answers
797 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 ...
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5answers
428 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 ...
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3answers
297 views

Can any system of ethics be reconstructed in utilitarian terms? [closed]

According to Dimo414: It seems to me that in a sense utilitarianism is a meta-ethic. I would claim that any ethical system can be reconstructed - without changing it's meaning or ...
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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 ...
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3answers
351 views

Who applies the pessimistic induction to moral “truths”?

I happened upon the term pessimistic induction (the history of science is a "graveyard" of once empirically successful theories whose central terms have been found not to refer) on this page and ...
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1answer
150 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 ...
9
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1answer
374 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 ...
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2answers
324 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
1k views

At what point can a being be said to have gained sentience?

It's pretty much universally accepted that healthy humans have sentience, but that's where the agreement stops. Many would say that complex animals have sentience, such as dogs, cats, cows, sheep, ...
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1answer
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What are the main points of criticism of the ancient Stoic school vis-a-vis the system of philosophy of the Epicureans?

What was the main criticism of the ancient Stoic school of philosophy with respect to the system of philosophy of the Epicureans?
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What are the main points of contention between Marxist and capitalist economic philosophies?

What are the main points of contention between Marxist economic philosophy and the various "pro-capitalist" economic philosophies (Labor Theory of Value, Austrian School, Libertarianism, etc.?)
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4answers
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How to avoid attachment to “attachment avoidance” in Buddhist philosophy? [closed]

I started practicing Buddhism and so trying to avoid attachment to anything. This gives me benefits like a clear mind and calm spirit. But I think I'm starting to become attached to these benefits ...
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1answer
251 views

Where can I start to learn about the philosophy of penology?

I'm interested in how societies deal with criminals, and I was wondering where to start in understanding the contribution philosophers have made to this question. I'm particularly wanting to ...
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2answers
1k views

How does the cultural relativist account of morality deal with the observation that we all belong to multiple cultures?

For the purposes of this question, take the Cultural Relativist Thesis to be the claim that what actions are right and wrong is a function of the which actions the norms of one's culture endorse as ...
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3answers
375 views

Resolving weighting conflicts in preference utilitarianism

Assuming we're dealing with the actions of two people based on the preferences of two non overlapping sets of affected people, other than the number of people, which methods are available to resolve ...
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3answers
365 views

Would it be ethical to own a sentient machine? [closed]

Some futurologists predict that we may have human-level artificial intelligences within the next few decades. What might be the most significant philosophical consequences of such a development, and ...