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
185 views

Why do we punish crime?

I have no formal training whatsoever in philosophy but have a question nonetheless. I am sorry if this is way off topic for this site. Crime begets punishment: let us say that punishment is prison. ...
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3answers
120 views

Is the moral compass of an individual inherent or is this aspect of their nature acquired due to experience?

My question in its simplest form: is the moral compass of an individual inherent or is this aspect of their nature acquired due to experience? Now one needs not look far for the countless cases of ...
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1answer
202 views

Philosophical approaches for a response to rape

I wasn't sure whether to post this here, or on law, or on politics. But I eventually landed here since this SE seemed like the most middle of the road option. My question concerns rape and how we ...
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3answers
1k views

Is the killing of an evil person as bad as the killing of millions, of innocents, by such an evil person?

Dr. A is a very evil man who harms millions of people in other countries. In fact, thousands or millions of people die each year because of him. Let's say he's a mad scientist who produces some ...
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1answer
64 views

Divine Command Theory vs. Rational Ethics

I've heard the claim that rational ethical theories do not require God or any other deity in order to arrive at their conclusions. Pure reason is enough to provide sound ethical arguments. However, ...
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1answer
134 views

Is it immoral to kill a philosophical zombie?

Is unplugging a robot from power the same as killing a person? As the commenters said this does not quite work because robots can be plugged back in. So let's replace robots with philosophical zombies,...
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1answer
141 views

What if Euthyphro gave the opposite answer?

As part of a course I am taking, I was asked to continue the dialogue Euthyphro as if Euthyphro had given the opposite response to Plato's famous question: Is the pious loved by the gods because it ...
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5answers
199 views

If each of our thoughts is entirely determined by the brain, can there be free will or a soul?

Supposing that every single thing that exists in our mind is due to the brain, and supposing that each and every decision we have is determined by our neurons, can there be free will? How? If ...
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1answer
65 views

Why is Plato's visible world said to be Heraclitean and Plato's intelligible world said to be Parmenidean?

I have been learning about Plato's Theory of Forms, and I have read that Plato's visible world is Heraclitean, and Plato's intelligible world is Parmenidean. I think I understand the parallel between ...
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4answers
183 views

When is it okay to criticize someone?

Both in my family life and in politics, I see people running into the following dilemma. Some entity (a person, or an organization, or a country) is doing something that someone sees as wrong. So, ...
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6answers
1k views

Can a “blood diamond” ever be redeemed for morally good purposes?

I'm looking at the concept of how bad money (blood diamonds for example) relates to good money, and how a transfer from one to the other would occur. Premise & Example I don't want to ...
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1answer
86 views

As a person with no descendants/family is it ethical to spend all one's money during lifetime rather than leave it to charity / the state on death?

Let's say I have no descendants or other living family but I am fairly wealthy in my lifetime due to a combination of work, inheritance, refraining from spending where others would. Is it ethical/...
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3k views

Does an education that teaches relativism alone result in students who can not make ethical decisions?

This is a followup to a previous question that suggests that skepticism leads inevitably to moral relativism. In this question, I'd like to look further down the slippery slope and think of the ...
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1answer
66 views

Philosophy of Law, Ethics and Visualization

Slides https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1wO4BUZGp09UGPVoSyrHZKt3KDyJFUwg12KXZiyRW76s/edit?usp=sharing Can anyone provide authors or references to material on Ethics, Philosophy of Law or Logic ...
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1answer
58 views

Contractualism — Moral Contract Theory

I cannot really wrap my head around what Contractualism is. I have taken a logic course and I'm a rising sophomore. Could somebody explain the basic tenets of the theory? Thanks so much.
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9answers
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What ethical problems might be involved in time travel?

Has anyone addressed the ethics of time travel? Time travel looks like a gold mine for moral dilemmas, but I don't know of anyone who addresses these issues. For example: Am I morally obligated to ...
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4answers
2k views

Modern Sophists?

I was wondering if in professional philosophy there are modern sophists. That is, people who have no qualms publishing on both sides of an issue, perhaps not being able to themselves come to ...
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5answers
3k views

On what grounds can a democratic state prohibit pornography?

On what grounds can a democratic state interfere to prohibit or limit its citizens from producing, distributing and consuming pornography? Does the state have any right to prohibit pornography or ...
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2answers
114 views

How can a theist justify not having children?

Most theists (perhaps, most people in general) would say that having a happy person is better than having no person at all. Indeed, most theists admit to this by saying that God "wanted to" or "...
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2answers
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Are there any philosophers that argued for knowledge having intrinsic value?

Many (if not most) philosophers agree that knowledge has value. However, does it have intrinsic value, or is its value purely in its ability to affect things outside of the realm of knowledge? Are ...
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5answers
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Is there a flaw in Spinoza's argument about gender inequality?

Spinoza, the 17th century philosopher wrote in his Political Treatise (Chapter XI): "If by nature women were equal to men, and were equally distinguished by force of character and ability, in which ...
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1answer
111 views

why is a man of sound mind responsible for his actions? [closed]

A sound mind would naturally suppose it had not created itself, i.e. absolutely designed its own fertilised egg and subsequent nurture. Then it is inconceivable that anything is responsible for ...
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1answer
103 views

Can an entire society be unethical?

Every month or so, I encounter an argument of the following basic form: A representative of Florin claims that the Guilderians are unethical for having the death penalty. A representative of Guilder ...
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41 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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4answers
189 views

The morality of indulging in fiction

Are there any schools of thought that consider the morality or lack thereof of indulging in fiction? The question comes up now that the last season of the popular series 'Game of Thrones' has so many ...
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3answers
248 views

What is a non-circular definition of evil?

I am looking for literature on the definition of “evil”. I have scanned through as many papers as I can, the ones I have read fall in three categories: No definition at all. The author assumes that ...
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4answers
184 views

What's the fallacy of diminishing one's faults by pointing out that others are worse?

If someone responds with criticism of his country by pointing to some other less tolerant country and saying, 'See that country? That's called intolerance. And here's you criticizing us.' What is ...
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1answer
95 views

Can neglect and refutation towards rejuvenation (anti-aging) be considered as suicide?

There is emerging view that the aging is the reversible and bidirectional epigenetic/molecular/cellular process. Some reflections are in https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/477209 . There has been ...
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2answers
123 views

The ethics of evolutionary custodianship

Firstly of note is that the closest genetic/evolutionary family of humans, namely the chimpanzee, also engages in an activity once thought to be uniquely human: namely warfare. And just to forestall ...
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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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4answers
124 views

Completeness and Consistency of Moral Systems(Ethics)

Before I state my question: I have no formal education in philosophy but am exposed to the basics of most moral systems - (utilitarianism, altruism, etc.) Is it possible to show that it is possible ...
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3answers
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Is 'veganism' a settled issue in Philosophy and Ethics?

I have been having discussions with some rather enthusiastic vegans who have a degree in philosophy, and they have been trying to convince me that it is a settled issue in ethics and philosophy that ...
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3answers
271 views

Compelling example of difference between intended consequences and foreseen but unintended consequences?

I am trying to get inside the head of individuals who believe that there is a difference between acting in such a way that someone's death foreseeably results from your actions, but that this was not ...
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6answers
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Is there a term for the belief that “if it's legal, it's moral”?

Sometimes I hear arguments that seem to appeal to the fact that something is morally permissible because it is legally permitted. For example: Abortion is moral because it's legally permitted. ...
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63 views

Is there a term for the belief that if it's illegal, it's immoral?

Closely related to Is there a term for the belief that "if it's legal, it's moral"? Is there a term for the belief that if something is illegal, it's immoral? Is it simply a variant ...
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37 views

Quantifying moral obligation

A follow-up, of sorts, on this question, in which I'd like to refine the notion of moral obligation. Consider some instances in which the notion might arise: Most people agree that a trolley operator ...
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1answer
153 views

Do people tend to immorality like every Abrahamic religion told? [closed]

In many sentences of the Quran and other Abrahamic religious books, we are told about many different people who were immoral (thieves, corruption, adultery, etc.) until prophets come and help them ...
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1answer
77 views

Is it immoral to make a living off of a religious product that I made?

I'm a software developer, and I'm making an application that is, basically, a religious-inspired social media platform. It's free, not freemium, no consumables, nothing to pay for and users have ...
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1answer
66 views

Attitude towards different animal species

I am not sure whether philosophy stack exchange is the right place to ask the following questions, if not please suggest the right website. How can people so easily kill a mosquito but not a dog or a ...
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1answer
165 views

What is the essence of stoicism?

I am a materialist, and I heard that stoic philosophers can be described (to some extent) as materialists. I am a big fan of stoic logic and ethical philosophy (and attitude towards death, emotions, ...
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1answer
128 views

Moral reasoning asymmetry

​​Being a complete dilettante in the field of philosophy I will accept any warranted smackdown with grace. It is my understanding that moral philosophers are actively trying to resolve the following ...
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0answers
70 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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2answers
66 views

Ethics of Cryonics

I was always interested in the question "to what extent is extending the life of an individual through technological means considered ethical?" That is to say, are human beings trying to extend our ...
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1answer
495 views

Enchiridion, 16: Does a stoic moan, or not?

The translation of Epictetus' Enchiridion, part 16 by Elizabeth Carter (http://classics.mit.edu/Epictetus/epicench.html) seems to contradict that of Thomas Wentworth Higginson's (https://www.gutenberg....
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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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4answers
2k views

Claim that we shouldn't give homeless people money because they will “spend it on drugs/alcohol”?

Every time that I run into a homeless person, which is frequently, I give them whatever change or spare bills (almost always $1 but occasionally, $5 or $10) that I have on me because I believe that a ...
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5answers
678 views

Is there an empirical system of ethics?

Most (universal) ethical systems which I have encountered come up with some kind of a priori rule (e.g. "maximize happiness and minimize pain", or the categorical imperative) and then apply that rule ...
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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 (...
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1answer
83 views

Is the normative value of linguistic usage a counterexample to the impossibility of deriving “ ought” from “is”?

I really believe that one cannot derive " ought" from "is". But the case of linguistic usage causes me some intellectual trouble. (1) Linguistic usage is a simple fact. (2) Linguistic usage ...
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1answer
2k views

Which was more important to Kant - good will or right actions?

I only know a bit about Kant from one college course, and I was wondering about Kant's approach to the question of what defines a good action. I know he rejected the consequentialist approach, and ...