Questions tagged [practical-ethics]

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Can cruelty and suffering be justified if it might lead to social transformation?

Slavoj Žižek is generally viewed as controversial. But in watching a recent video made by him, he had a good point about us lengthening the pain of others. For example, he argues that "good" slave ...
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10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is it possible to act unethically against oneself?

Usually discussions of practical/applied ethics (which this site really needs a tag for, by the way) discuss matters in which a person's actions will have an effect on others. However, is there ever a ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Does Sartre ever talk about irrelevance?

Does Sartre ever talk about authenticity in terms of irrelevance? I think that authenticity means (amongst other things) both being irrelevant and failing to act: that membership of a group which ...
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6 votes
5 answers
247 views

Is there still a place in modern philosophy for qualitative or non-mathematical philosophy?

Modern philosophy seems to have an inclination to mathematics and other scientific disciplines. Even moral philosophy is being "mathematized". Some peer-reviewed articles on the mere addition paradox, ...
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6 answers
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Is it moral to obey the law?

To be clear, I am not asking if laws are moral, or even a good approximation for a moral system. We understand that there can be moral laws and immoral laws. For example, the law prohibiting murder is ...
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5 votes
3 answers
578 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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5 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why did Kant condemn masturbation?

That such an unnatural use (and so misuse) of one's sexual attributes is a violation of one's duty to himself and is certainly in the highest degree opposed to morality strikes everyone upon his ...
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5 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is it unethical, according to Kant, to break copyright and pirate books online?

I live in Bangladesh. In my country, I don't get authentic, high quality foreign books about science, philosophy, psychology etc. Even if some bookstores sell those books, the price due to import tax ...
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5 votes
3 answers
332 views

Ethics when breaking non written rule occurs

Breaking non written rules happens all the time. This happens mostly in our private lives and close social circles, which is main source of anger for common peoples. For example, mother gives a ...
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4 votes
5 answers
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Evaluating between seemingly logical, yet contradicting, arguments

I sometimes find myself in a situation where I am trying to evaluate a statement to which there seem to be logically valid, but yet contradicting, arguments on both sides. The statements may be an ...
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4 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is feminist care ethics?

I've heard the term thrown around, but I haven't gotten a good explanation of the core tenets of that particular branch of ethics. Can anyone explain, in plain English, what it is?
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2 answers
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Does antinatalism carry the seeds of its own destruction?

Antinatalists claim that it is immoral to procreate. For instance: David Benatar argues there is an asymmetry between pleasure and pain, which means it would be better for humans not to have ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Morality of perpetuating a "bad" system by doing something "good" within it

I could live and marginally improve other people's lives in a country with an authoritarian, oppressive regime. While doing so, I will pay taxes and will generally increase the chances that this ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Within a utilitarian framework, how should I handle research where I don't know whether it is ethical?

Let me start with an example. Let's assume I'm a computer scientist working on autonomous, human-like (at least in some aspects) artificial intelligence, which is expected to interact with humans, ...
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4 votes
2 answers
342 views

Is the age of Tristan Kurilla (10 year old charged with homicide) relevant to his trial

One of the top news stories today is that of Tristan Kurilla, a fifth-grader from Pennsylvania, who is being charged with criminal homicide after beating a woman to death. Kurilla is currently being ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Is it unethical to cheat at solitaire? [closed]

When I play solitaire by myself (physical cards), I often cheat. That is, I get to the point where I would be stuck and I don't end the game. Instead, I move a card in a manner inconsistent with ...
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3 votes
2 answers
105 views

Is there a reason, to give scholar or students in universities more (or less) freedom of speech, than to regular people?

John Stuart Mill once argued, that the only reason to limit one's action is to prevent harm to others (so called harm-principle). The same principle can be applied to freedom of speech: One could ...
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3 votes
1 answer
356 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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3 votes
2 answers
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Does history provide support for moral objectivism?

I must say this was thoroughly entertaining: The Lizard People Of Alpha Draconis 1 Decided To Build An Ansible - Scott Alexander https://www.lesswrong.com/s/zfXAcwLnGocsCsriG/p/...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Belonging as a virtue

I'm interested in any values that stand up without being grounded in God or immortality; but which are achievable potentials. Does anyone in (analytic or not) philosophy claim that there is an ethic ...
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3 votes
4 answers
176 views

How would Szasz reply to the claim that cognitive problems aren't always one's own fault?

How would Szasz reply to the claim that cognitive problems aren't always one's own fault? It seems only reasonable to claim that. It seems to me that saying otherwise is close to the claim that we ...
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3 votes
5 answers
232 views

Do I have to do something rather than nothing?

Disclaimer: I'm a newbie in Philosophy, and this question is most probably answered somewhere (on this site or not), but I've been looking for a while now and it's a little difficult to steer myself ...
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3 votes
3 answers
689 views

Can a dogmatic person engage in intellectually honest inquiry?

Can someone fooling themselves still be intellectually dishonest? Certain people may be dogmatic theists and believe that 'D' (for dogma) is true, and would really believe that D is true no matter ...
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2 votes
6 answers
907 views

Does philosophy matter to personal life?

When I was studying philosophy, I sometimes asked my fellow students how studying philosophy affected their personal life. The answer I got was usually either "I haven't really thought about that" or "...
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2 votes
1 answer
138 views

Who else has explored the ‘cad problem’?

Is there anything in philosophy (presumably ethics) that specifically explores what I’ve called the “cad problem”. Simply put, how should an individual (or a distinct group) that focuses on self ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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What does "service" mean in Bubeck's feminist ethics of care

Bubeck thus distinguishes care from “service”, by stipulating that “care” involves meeting the needs for others who cannot meet their needs themselves, whereas “service” involves meeting the needs ...
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2 votes
2 answers
1k views

What are good arguments against the moral case for vegetarianism?

There is a strong utilitarian case for a pragmatic type of vegetarianism, based on the idea that eating meat usually causes suffering and that it is wrong to needlessly make something suffer. See this ...
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2 votes
4 answers
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Why should one philosophize instead of acting?

I was recently discussing the idea of beauty with one of my colleagues and how beauty should be defined. He brought up the fact that nowadays many beauty standards are set by the media, which ...
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2 votes
1 answer
64 views

What makes a question other than its expression?

Outside on meta a few oddballs are asking about questions on stack exchange e.g. me hah I think we can agree that a questioning mind can be have negative value (e.g. motivated or full to brim with ...
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2 votes
1 answer
286 views

Why is orangutan meat not good to eat?

Many of us, even slightly familiar with ethics, know about Tom Regan and his quest of establishing animal rights with us humans. According to him, vegetarianism is a moral obligation of all people, ...
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2 votes
4 answers
174 views

What resemblance is there between Moksha and Nirvana?

Both Moksha and Nirvana are said to free oneself from the cycle of reincarnations/samsara. Other than this soteriological goal, do they have any resemblances? And how does/can one know in which path (...
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2 votes
0 answers
37 views

Would the opacity of everyday motivations seriously undermine Kantian CI?

Would the opacity of everyday motivations seriously undermine Kantian categorical imperative (CI)? I tend not to use the CI when deciding what is moral, and partly because I'm not sure I know what my ...
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2 votes
0 answers
103 views

I trust people, why should it change?

I trust people. For the small things in life, it helps me, definitely, but when it comes to larger things it is an issue. For instance I recently started to search if I could buy a house. I am not ...
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1 vote
6 answers
853 views

Is it ever right to act contrary to your moral principles?

In the TV series Monkey, loosely based on the 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West, one of the main Buddhist characters is a young monk called Tripitaka, who joins forces with the ...
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1 vote
2 answers
103 views

Should you ethically have rights on ideas you give away for free?

Imagine the case that you do an unpaid internship for a company and in one of your meetings you give them an idea for a future working direction. Later you leave company and continue you professional ...
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1 vote
3 answers
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Can we be ethical and still deny someone a health procedure or treatment, even if the procedure or treatment is necessary?

Recently, I have been getting in conversations with people who are politically active. The main discussion point I find myself struggling to be able to answer is the ethics of single-payer health care ...
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1 vote
2 answers
129 views

How should journalists report about unpublished studies?

In recent times it has become more and more commonplace for journalists to present the results from studies which have not been published or peer-reviewed – without any reservations or warnings. ...
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1 vote
3 answers
569 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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1 vote
2 answers
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Is there any situation where lying by omission would be considered ethical?

Lying by omission is a deliberate choice to hide or withhold some relevant information that would influence the decision process of another party. In other words: "I know you would probably take ...
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1 vote
1 answer
138 views

Is there a categorical impertaive against humour?

I understand it in the formulation: will only whatever you can will for everyone without [logical] contradiction. If everyone kept telling jokes after a bit nothing would be funny. So do we have an ...
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1 vote
1 answer
266 views

Is it ethical to confess?

Suppose I have been cheating on my spouse, and I realized that it was wrong from an utilitarian PoV, considering that there is large possibility of the total good being reduced if I'm exposed. So, I ...
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1 vote
3 answers
392 views

Is it ethical to save tigers?

From a utilitarian point of view, is it ethical to save tigers by creating sanctuaries and criminalizing poaching, when such tigers are known to violently attack humans? Also, one strain of response ...
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1 vote
2 answers
146 views

Why aren't there fundamental duties?

Why is there no discussion of fundamental duties, as there is of fundamental human rights in both political and academic circles? The only duties(enacted as laws) seem to be about protecting others' ...
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1 vote
1 answer
59 views

"Value" of an individual in a complex situation

In the movie Time Machine (2002) there is a scene in which the protagonist and his girlfriend are walking in the park and the robber they meet wants to take her ring (bought for her by the protagonist)...
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1 vote
2 answers
284 views

What is the meaning of statement, all human beings are equal?

I learn this statement, 'all human beings are equal' in school, and I feel I understand it somehow. But when I look at society, the statement is not quite true. For example, people are paid ...
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1 vote
1 answer
104 views

Love triangle: ethical state

An ethical problem: Daniel is in love with Rose, who is in a long-term romantic relationship with David. Rose enjoys Daniel's love. Daniel asks Rose that David should know that they text each other, ...
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1 vote
1 answer
275 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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1 vote
3 answers
2k views

How do we define a bad person?

Considering the following facts; Some fundamental vices of human nature like greed, ignorance, lust, or the seven sins are inherent in a human which are there for not his/her choice. We don't know ...
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1 vote
2 answers
125 views

Are any ethicists totally unconcerned with the other side of the story?

Are any ethicists totally unconcerned with the other side of the story? So allow me to write up an example. David is fat, I mean morbidly obese. And David keeps stealing all Mary's food then ...
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1 vote
4 answers
420 views

Truth and Half Truth-Do both exist?

A student appears for an examination and while solving a problem, he begins with the correct assumptions but loses track of the problem in the middle and ends up with a wrong answer. He is given 50% ...
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