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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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Do any philosophers describe drama as fundamental to, or the essence of, the human condition?

Whenever I contemplate philosophy or science the convention that I call "name dropping" always evokes my experience of interpersonal drama. Here is my favorite example of name dropping: ...
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Would reincarnated prisoners be morally obligated to finish their sentence?

For context, this question came from discussions around some sentence lengths seen in the US prison system - where individuals can end up being sentenced for terms far exceeding their possible natural ...
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Should we teach abstinence (along with condoms and contraceptions) to adolescents as a preventative measure of unwanted pregnancy? [closed]

This is a follow up of my previous Abortion debate question. I confess that I have been brought up in a very traditional middle-income Indian family; and no-sex (abstinence?) before marriage is the ...
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Where do morals come from? (Specifically someone who doesn't belive in God) [duplicate]

If someone doesn't believe in a God that gives Objective morals, where do they get their morals from? If life is this straightforward then no objective morality or even truth can be claimed. So why do ...
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The Copenhagen Interpretation: From Quantum Mechanics to Ethics?

I've been pondering an intriguing comparison lately, drawing parallels between the Copenhagen Interpretation in quantum mechanics and a hypothetical "Copenhagen Interpretation of Ethics". As ...
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What dictates how we phrase a maxim of a situation?

Can Kantian Maxims have more than one goal? Suppose I tell the murderer at the door that my mother is not home in order to save her life. That itself may be fine, but equally I am saying that in order ...
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When is someone culpable for being tricked

Hypothetical and odd scenario. Person A is tricked into thinking person B is threatening them, and so destroys both their lives. Person A can very easily check if it's real, but refuses to. Person B ...
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Does choice exist?

I've been thinking about a few legal quotes that have initiated my investigation into whether or not choice actually exists: A "universal and persistent" foundation stone in our system of ...
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Does "ought-implies-can" have to be taken for a universal material implication?

I was thinking of Quine's "change the logic, change the subject," saying, and thought over "change the deontic logic, change the deontic subject," and so then I wondered if deontic ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
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What is character, and what role does it play in the decision making of an agent, according to proponents of libertarian free will?

I understand libertarian free will as an agent's ability to choose otherwise, or having more than one course of action available to them, when making a choice at time t, given a fixed past up to t. ...
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Moral Luck and Complex Systems Theory

Is there any rigorous research done into links between Thomas Nagel's concept of 'moral luck,' and complex systems theory and/or game theory. Specifically, modeling ethical decision making in complex ...
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Is there any record that Darwin's book, "The Origin of Species ... or the Preservation of Favored Races " has had an effect on racial justice?

Is there any historical record that Darwin's book, The Origin of Species by Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle of Life has instigated actions by men, societies, or ...
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Can a case for veganism be made from a moral relativist perspective?

Can veganism be defended against moral relativist beliefs, assuming moral relativism is correct? I might be missing something here but it seems like veganism almost always requires a non-relativist ...
OldAccount2005's user avatar
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Can non-agents be moral or immoral?

Human children and non-human animals are denied moral status or equal consideration with human adults due to their lack of consciousness, reason or autonomy They are not moral agents or subjects of ...
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Would it be ethical to help both predator and prey?

A month back, I found a street cat which I started giving food and water too day by day, and yesterday, on a walk to the gym, I found a bird on the middle of the road. The bird had dust all over it's ...
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Ethics and Hypocritical Behaviors

One of my friends will-known to me criticizes zoos for keeping animals in cages or drugging them, especially at places where one can play with drugged tigers. But at the same time, he eats chicken and ...
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Misconception surrounding Kant's categorical imperative?

It is widely known that Kant's first formulation of the categorical imperative, in his Metaphysics of Ethics, is as shown: Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that ...
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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 human adults and non-human animals are not moral agents. Do they have rights and why? Wouldn't a right require capacity for thought? Non-moral agents have no ...
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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 ...
hawfinch's user avatar
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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)?
bob johnson's user avatar
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7 answers
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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 ...
ActualCry's user avatar
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Is there a philosophical definition of immorality that includes qualities people were born with?

Imagine someone who was born a pedophile. Their attraction to pre-pubescent children is out of their control. They never chose to be this way, and they are. Can they and their attraction still be ...
ActualCry's user avatar
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Can non-consequentialist moral theories justify punishment without free will?

Consequentialism seems to justify punishment to maximize total utility. What about deontology, virtue ethics, etc? Can they justify punishment? And how would that work in the absence of free will?
ActualCry's user avatar
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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 ...
ActualCry's user avatar
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4 votes
8 answers
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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 ...
Just Some Old Man's user avatar
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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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1 vote
4 answers
535 views

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 ...
Sazzad Hissain Khan's user avatar
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2 answers
441 views

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 ...
Nelson Alexander's user avatar
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2 answers
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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 ...
Cam White's user avatar
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1 answer
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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 ...
TomR's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
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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?
Kevin Ryan's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
143 views

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 ...
z0r's user avatar
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0 answers
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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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6 votes
3 answers
2k views

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 ...
bblohowiak's user avatar
2 votes
6 answers
823 views

How does atheism answer the problem of goodness?

The question is often asked: If God exists, how do we explain all the evil in this world? Did God allow the Holocaust? Etc. But one could also ask the reverse: If God does not exist, how do we explain ...
Neil Meyer's user avatar
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21 votes
12 answers
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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...". ...
C. Stroud's user avatar
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3 answers
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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 ...
christo183's user avatar
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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. ...
Neil Meyer's user avatar
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6 votes
7 answers
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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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