Questions tagged [ethics]

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

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5answers
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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
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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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2answers
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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
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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
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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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3answers
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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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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
359 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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13answers
881 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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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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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
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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
656 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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1answer
259 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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5answers
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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? ...
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1answer
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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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379 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 ...
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2answers
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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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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
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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 ...
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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. ...
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1answer
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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
384 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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2answers
384 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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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
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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. ...
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2answers
259 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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3answers
361 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?
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7answers
861 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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8answers
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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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