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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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6
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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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9answers
3k views

Is it ethically correct to be proud of one's country?

It is a very well known phenomena that people feel pride for the country where they were born and/or live, even though the effect seems to be declining slightly nowadays. Frequently, governments also ...
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15answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
4
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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
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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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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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 ...
0
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1answer
7k views

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 ...
7
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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 ...
4
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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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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 ...
12
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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? ...
6
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8answers
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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 ...
6
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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 ...
6
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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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
31
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5answers
2k views

Does humanism's rejection of God necesitate relativism?

I had the following discussion on Programmers.SE: @Peter Turner, Which is a good example of how religion warps morality, leading people to imagine their concerns are moral when they are profoundly ...
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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 ...
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 ...
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2answers
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Does the idea that saving someone's life makes you responsible for them have any real philosophical roots, or is it merely a Hollywood trope? [closed]

I have heard this idea before: if you save a person's life, then forever after, you will be responsible for them. The only references I can find to this concept are vague claims that it is an Asian ...
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9answers
5k views

Does happiness motivate every action?

Pascal wrote: All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the ...
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4answers
1k views

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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3answers
3k views

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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5answers
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Is there such a thing as “not being a hedonist”? Is altruism also a form of hedonism?

Hedonism (Wikipedia): Hedonism is a school of thought which argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good. This is often used as a justification for evaluating actions in terms of how much ...
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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 ...
21
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13answers
838 views

Does the idea of being created imply the necessity for obedience to a creator?

If a scientist created intelligent life (biological, AI software, etc.), would that scientist have the right to dictate to that life a moral framework? Does the act of creation give implicit rights ...
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3answers
20k views

What were Plato's view on slavery, in particular with respect to his proposed Utopia?

In the Dialogues(specifically The Republic), when he is discussing his Utopia, At one point, he does say that children should not be treated differently based on their parent's status in life. However,...
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10answers
5k views

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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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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6answers
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).
10
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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 ...
19
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5answers
1k views

What responses are there to Singer's “Should this be the last generation?”?

The article can be found here. It deals with many issues, but what I would really like to see a response to is the following paragraph: [W]hy don’t we make ourselves the last generation on earth? ...
11
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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, ...
7
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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 ...
6
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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 ...
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 ...
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2answers
4k views

What was Kant's view on lies by omission?

I was going to ask this question as a comment in response to @Chad's answer to What would Kant do when two categorical imperatives conflict? Could he ever justify lying?, however I figured it merits ...
31
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8answers
36k views

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. ...
10
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1answer
7k views

What is a straight-forward method for distinguishing pragmatic from utilitarian action or thought?

In common parlance, pragmatic and utilitarian are very similar ways of doing things. In philosophical traditions, Utilitarians and Pragmatists are very different. In terms of understanding an action ...
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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 ...
3
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2answers
355 views

Resolution of the contradictory definitions of Lawful and Chaotic in Dungeons and Dragons [closed]

Dungeons and dragons has long struggled with actual definitions of its moral abstractions, "Law," "Chaos," "Good," and "Evil" In older games, nine "alignments" were possible, describing a character's ...
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6answers
3k views

Arguments for/against tolerance against intolerance?

What arguments speak for/against tolerance towards intolerance? Can someone be called fully tolerant, if they don't tolerate intolerance? Hence, does tolerance exist in a pure form? On the other ...
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8answers
2k views

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. ...
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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 ...
7
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3answers
350 views

Moore, catch-me-if-you-can Hume, Cudworth : were there pre-enlightenment anticipations of the naturalistic fallacy?

The naturalistic fallacy was described and named by G.E. Moore at the beginning of the 20th century. But have there been pre-enlightenment philosophers who have treated the concept?
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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?