Questions tagged [moral-agency]

A moral agent is something that is culpable for the outcome of actions taken. What this implies can be radically different depending upon the school of thought, metaphysical relationship held, as well as other factors.

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Is incest morally wrong if it is between only consenting adults, and there is no chance of offspring? [duplicate]

If two fully consenting adults engage in incest, and one or both of them are most definitely infertile, and neither of them are in any other romantic or sexual relationship requiring loyalty, is it ...
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Proof for the Absence of Free Will (Revised)

Introduction Approximately 1 year ago, I posted a 'proof' for the absence of free will. The post drew a wide range of interesting and answers and comments. The most persuasive challenges related to ...
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Aren't talks about moral responsibility under hard determinism moot?

I see people extensively debate over whether deterministic beings should be held responsible for their actions if there was no moral agency or free will involved in it. But is that even a relevant ...
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What are some of the different perspectives toward the formation of moral commitments or vows? [closed]

By experience, I have come to find that in order to cultivate a lifestyle that is pertinent to a subjective sense of purpose, it is necessary to make moral commitments which constrain certain ...
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Argument for a social conception of objective morality

What might some objections to this argument be? By definition a rational agent is, when exercising their agency, evaluating different courses of action before deciding among them. The actions they ...
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Why do non-moral agents have rights?

Embryos, human children, unconscious beings and other animals are not moral agents. Why would non-moral agents have rights? Wouldn't a right require capacity for thought? Something that has limited to ...
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What does Iris Murdoch mean by genetic analysis of mental concepts?

I am reading the book “The Sovereignty of Good” by Iris Murdoch and I am not able to grasp the meaning of the expression “genetic analysis”, which she often uses in phrases like “genetic analysis of ...
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impact of different Christian theologies on the psyche [closed]

I am afraid I do not have the expertise to form this question correctly, but I will give it a try: I want to understand how each of the different Christian theologies that exist (Evangelical ...
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Morality of belief

There is widespread public consensus that it is immoral to judge people based on immutable traits. Just look at the way "sexist", "racist", and "homophobe" are used and ...
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Do ethicists generally hold every action need a moral justification?

With a world with infinite possibilities of actions one might take, is the default position for whether an action is morally accepted or not is: No unless justified Yes unless unjustified (justify ...
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Could ethics be grounded in a law of nature?

Assuming that morality is objective, is it possible that the reason there are moral truths (i.e it is wrong to harm children) is because of an undiscovered law of nature (like gravity)?
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Does hard determinism leave room for evil and morality? Evil without harm, free will and moral agency?

There are some flavors of consequentialism that allow us to judge something or someone as evil, even if we assume an incompatibilist stance on free will. But that's if there's "harm". If ...
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Are there moral theories that don't care about free will and agency?

As far as I see, people care about agency. If a being's agency is limited or non-existent, such as if it's someone under duress, a child, another animal, etc, they don't blame them for their thoughts ...
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Is there a philosophical definition of badness, immorality or evil that includes non-moral agents and innate properties that are not choices?

Is there a philosophy in which a being can be born bad, immoral or evil? Even if they didn't choose their desires, thoughts and actions, even if their innate properties are not choices ... To give an ...
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Can non-consequentialist moral theories still work without free will?

The popular opinion (?) is that without free will, we can still use consequentialism to call someone immoral or moral. What about deontology, virtue ethics, etc? Can they still work if there's no free ...
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Immorality, evil and badness without agency? Can inanimate objects be innately bad?

Proponents of relativism would argue it's easy to see that it is possible to take an inanimate object that someone in one system of belief considers not harmful, and yet find someone who believes such ...
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Why thank God for good things, but not blame God for bad things?

Why should one thank God for good things but not blame God for bad things? Why is it common for theists to do so? Rationally speaking, it seems one should both thank and blame, or do neither; this is ...
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Do contractualist deontological theories face any difficulties with the trolley problem?

I was wondering what problems contractualist approaches face with the trolley problem. Also, what other problems may contractualism have with aggregation as a whole?
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Is libertarian free will a necessary condition for moral responsibility? [duplicate]

Does it make sense to hold a rock morally responsible for falling downhill due to the law of gravity and crushing somebody's head? Likewise, does it make sense to hold humans morally responsible for ...
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Is the foundation of morality subjectively survival and happiness, and why or why not?

Many rational minds have come to attribute the foundation of morality to humankind's survival and happiness. I have been discussing with friends about why that 'humankind survival and happiness' must ...
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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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Boundary case on the morality of torture [closed]

Most everyone would agree that "cold-blooded" torture is morally wrong. We agree so much so that many assume it's objectively wrong. That being said, imagine this thought experiment: A ...
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Philosophy and ontology of tools (instruments), their design and creation (as part of philosophy of action and agency)? Meta-actions?

I am designing self-evolving and self-learning cognitive architecture (that is how the Artificial General intelligence is being implemented) with the seed intelligence approach, that is why I am using ...
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What is the morality of a pregnant woman drinking alcohol? [closed]

How do we trade-off the rights of the individual woman to drink, against the right of a person to be born without foetal (fetal) alcohol syndrome?
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Is it ethical to force someone to evacuate from their home?

Suppose a bushfire (wildfire) is approaching someone's home. They have a strong connection to their home but are unable to defend it. They would be utterly devastated if it burnt down. Is it ethical ...
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Can a moral code develop from one person's integrity?

Just for a moment picture, not all the evil and bad in the world, but the good. If you think about it and 'see' in your mind's eye all of the normal, everyday families in any given neighborhood who ...
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What is the difference between free will and moral agency?

I've heard a lot of people get confused about the differences between free agency, free will, and moral agency. What really is the difference?
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Intellectual History of Idea in A Geneaology of Morals Essay One

In Nietzsche's first essay in A Geneaology of Morals, he suggests that use of language in which subjects and verbs are distinguished may influence or at least correspond to conceptual distinctions in ...
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How does atheism answer the problem of goodness? [closed]

If God does not exist how do we explain all the good in the world? All the charities that operate of the goodwill of the public? All the doctors working in Somalia for doctors without borders? If we ...
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How can animals be objects of ethics without being subjects as well?

Most people seem to agree that animals cannot act immorally, even when they inflict suffering. They are thus completely excluded from being subjects of any kind of ethical framework. At the same time,...
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How do compatibilists understand "responsible"?

In Scott Christensen's book "What about free will?" on page 119 is "Pharaoh is held responsible for his actions". The reason given for God attributing culpability is "You are exalting yourself...". ...
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Can my attitude kill you? Part 2

This question follows on (sort off): Can my attitude kill you? Taking attitude to mean: The unique medley of ideas that makes the person. Suppose I'm a doubly depressed neurotic pessimist. Who can ...
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Was there a philosophical underpinning that enabled the holocaust?

I curious as to know what sort of philosophy movement was used as an apologist to enable the Holocaust, the Holocaust did not happen in the third-world. It was not aimed or done by uneducated people. ...
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How is free-will formally defined as distinct from determinism, randomness and determinism-randomness hybrid to support moral responsibility?

Usually free-will is assumed by most faith traditions as a prerequisite for moral responsiblity in order to justify eternal punishment. The argument goes as "you are truly responsible for your immoral ...
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Is it unfair to eternally punish people in hell if determinism is true?

If determinism happens to be true, then people just do what the laws of Physics governing the chemical interactions of neurons in their brains make them do. In such a scenario, wouldn't it be unfair ...
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Is it ethically wrong to refuse a suffering person the right to assisted suicide? [closed]

In South Africa, assisted suicide if illegal irrespective of circumstances. Let's say you are a judge of a high court and the following case comes before you: A terminally ill patient suffers from ...
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Does Frankfurt dissociate free will and moral responsibility?

To the extent that I understand him, Frankfurt says that we choose "out of our free will" when that first-order desire becomes effective which corresponds to the second-order volition (when I wish X ...
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The moral Vs the ethical [duplicate]

Are there any circumstances in which the terms 'moral' and 'ethical' can be used interchangeably?
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Which Philosopher said one was obligated to improve all that one could influence?

I recall reading about this in Highschool, but I can't figure out who it was. The premise was that every man has agency, and they are obligated to use that agency to change their environment for the ...
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How is agency involved in parliamentary democracy?

How is agency involved in parliamentary democracy? So it seems quite trivial that my vote won't, or never will, make a difference to the result. Does that mean that my agency has no role in the ...
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What is the difference between responsibility and commitment?

I was recently looking at philosophy of responsibility, and something interesting which I had not thought about before, was that the way we use "responsibility" includes things not necessarily caused ...
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How can free will be reconciled with materialism? [closed]

I know that my mind is a network of neurons, where some personality resides, with emotional responses, and motivation. I know that love and friendship and fear and many other phenomena stem from ...
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Can supporting intrinsically bad actions be justified considering their consequences?

Suppose Bob has immaculate knowledge of the future... Bob knows if he graciously gives John $100, John will buy a gun and rob a bank so he can buy heroin. Bob also knows that after John robs the ...
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Metaphysically, what does it mean to "make a decision"?

In the freewill debate, a difference is made between metaphysical/libertarian free will, i.e. where an agent is free to choose among many possible outcomes, and the eventual outcome is caused by the ...
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Faith in the attribution of agency

Reason is the capacity for consciously making sense of things, applying logic, for establishing and verifying facts, and changing or justifying practices, institutions, and beliefs based on new or ...