25

There's no paradox here. Let A be the characteristic of having moral value. Let B be the characteristic of having the ability to recognize moral value. You have imposed A -> B. Which implies ~B -> ~A. Yet you observe that some people attribute A to those who have ~B. This is only a paradox if you hold the axiom A -> B. Drop this axiom and there's no ...


9

One does not need to have a sense of morals to be sentient. Ethical practices aim to reduce suffering (?), which is present in all sentient life by definition. Sentient life does not have to understand that what is being done to them is wrong/right to suffer from it. So sentient life (are non-human animals sentient life?) can still be objects of ethics ...


9

There are non-divine hypotheses for why people would be benevolent: The evolutionary advantage for social animals to protect each other's well-being (already discussed in other answers). In short, species of social animals that had benevolence toward each other would outcompete species that lacked this trait and, over long time periods, would displace them. ...


6

Welcome user37552 I'd phrase my answer in terms of a moral community. You might say that only humans can belong to a moral community because only they can have moral agency, owe obligations, deserve moral praise or blame. Only subjects, you seem to imply, can belong to a moral community and only towards such subjects can we act in ways that are morally ...


4

The beginnings of a movement The Nazis did not invent eugenics, which was a movement the emerged in the USA, the UK, France and Germany towards the end of the 19th century. Its aim was to apply the laws of heredity (such at least as were known) to the improvement of human biology - of the human genome as we might say today. It was not 'a war against the ...


4

Religion doesn't have a monopoly on morality. "Goodness" might be broadly described as a sense of selflessness that motivates people to do things that help other people. Such selflessness can ironically be selfish, due to the "selfish gene" factor: People's greatest loyalty is generally to their relatives, followed by neighborhoods, communities, nations, ...


3

Both concepts are vague and often used interchangeably, and their dictionary definitions are almost indistinguishable:"the state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something" vs. "the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity". Yet, there is a touch of a more passive voice in the first than in the second, and this distinction seems ...


2

I will take this up from a Kantian point of view Bob simply cannot morally know the necessary outcome of John's actions, but more relevantly, John is a moral agent, still completely capable of not pursuing any prediction that can be made by Bob. If you cannot be defied, you have stripped other agents of their autonomy, in a way that no human wants to be ...


2

Some quick references and points of possible interest. Speaking broadly there is a long tradition of the critique of voluntarism (and perhaps relatedly nominalism). Modern exponents to consider might include Bergson (Matter and Memory) and Deleuze (especially the study on Hume, Empiricism and Subjectivity.) Today it strikes me that Badiou is the "clearest" ...


2

At least one philosophical position operated without faith: We necessarily assign freedom of will to us and others, even if we and they might not have it, i.e. we are not able to prove it theoretically. It makes no difference, because by acting accordingly, we make the idea of free/moral agency factual. As operating with necessity, faith plays no role here. ...


2

You don't -- there is no need to do so. The link between moral agency and determinacy is a strange obsession in modern thought, tied back to our long romance with the notion of a divine gift of free will. This romance wants its notions of stability and freedom to be validated. But neither stability nor freedom exist, they are only to be found in language ...


2

Let's see whether there is a solution to your question through the method of eliminative induction. Let's call your premise the duty of beneficence: The duty of beneficence: everyone is obligated to use her agency to change her environment for the better. First elimination The ethicist we are looking for must acknowledge that there exists the duty ...


2

Frankfurt distinguishes freedom of action (actions stem from person's desires), and freedom of the will, having second order volitions and enough control to bring first order desires in line with them. He needs this distinction to argue that freedom of the will may exist without freedom of action, which is what a compatibilist needs to reconcile free will ...


2

What you are looking for does not exist. First off, there is no one formal definition for freewill. Not everyone agrees on what free will is beyond generally agreeing that humans have it. There are myriad variants, each with their own little twists. One variant that will give you trouble is the metaphysical freewill approach, which explicitly states that ...


2

I can't give you a cite, but if you believe animals have no soul and if you believe ethics only apply to things with souls then it would be improper to judge the actions of an animal. Just as it would be improper to judge the rock which falls off a cliff and kills a woman. Another possible justification would be interpreting Genesis such that morality only ...


2

If animals are incapable of recognizing right and wrong in their own actions, how can they possibly do so in actions towards them? Many objects of ethics are incapable of recognizing right and wrong. For example, if I kill somebody, that person is dead and cannot recognize anything. Unborn humans cannot recognize anything. If I hurt a fresh baby, it ...


2

The question the OP presents If we are just the most evolved animal doomed to return to the primordial soup from whence we came, how does the human animal explain its willingness to do good? suggests it might be related to the evolutionary argument against naturalism: The evolutionary argument against naturalism (EAAN) is a philosophical argument ...


1

I would reject the premise of your question, in particular, I'd argue that animals can indeed act immorally. In fact, anyone with a poorly trained dog can attest to this fact. This makes the answer to your question simple- animals do have the ability to act immorally. But we have mostly given up on trying to get them to actually act this way.


1

An act does not have to be (directly) towards a moral agent to be a moral wrong. This is the case whether you are thinking in a utilitarian or a deontological framework. For example, the destruction of the Buddha statues by the Taliban was a moral wrong, or at least I think so. It was a purely destructive act. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...


1

The biggest moral difference between an animal and a person is the capacity to understand moral reason. A human realizes that an animal feels suffering, and realizes this is bad, while an animal typically does not. It is not that an animal actions do not carry moral weight, but rather that because animals are incapable of understanding the moral weight of ...


1

Where do you draw the line between humans and other animals? If Neanderthals were still living, would we consider them non-human? Probably so, as all non-African people have Neanderthal DNA. But what about the tiny people who lived on the island of Flores in Indonesia. Would they qualify as human? Even people who believe that we don't have souls can ...


1

Mark Balaguer (Free Will, MIT, 2014 (FW)) claims that “we can distinguish many kinds of free will” (FW 50), that is, there are many different ways to define free will. He looks at two very different definitions: Hume-style free will used by compatibilists and not-predetermined free will which he wants to use within a materialist context like that of the OP’...


1

First, I'm not sure exactly what you expect by a "formal" definition of free will. However, I will try to report about a conception of free will that "clearly differentiates it from determinism, randomness and any kind of determinism-randomness hybrid." This sort of conception of free will, which tends to be called "libertarian" free will, often means ...


1

I’d like to express some opinions, but in regard to social punishment, not eternal punishment, of criminals. Free will has many versions. Two important versions are the following. One of them uses determinism as the criterion whether the will is free. If determinism is true, then free will does not exist. If not, then free will exists. Another uses the ...


1

Your question has been addressed so much within the Christian thinking-and-writing community that most folks don't want to talk about it anymore. It can be expressed as, "how could a good God punish people who had no ability to avoid doing wrong?" ...and... "how could God be just if he chooses whom to save?" ...and... "are you a Calvinist or an Arminian?" ...


1

The other answer is wrong. The right to assisted suicide will not "inevitably" come into conflict with the right of doctors. Plenty of doctors exist who would be more than happy to help somebody who'd want to be free from their pain. Just because you can't guarantee that all doctors unanimously agree to provide assisted suicide doesn't make the enterprise ...


1

If I act out of my first-order desire to harm the puppy, then I am morally responsible for my action. If I act out of my higher-order, reflective desire not to act out of my first-order desire (which higher-order desire Frankfurt calls my 'free will') and accordingly do not harm the puppy, then I am equally morally responsible for my action. I can't see how ...


1

The question is in what way I make a difference through my vote, given that my vote has 0 probability to make any difference in the outcome in the majoritarian or Westminster democracy (term a la Arend Lijphart). This is a question addressed by political scientists, not by political philosophers. To understand the question, we first need to know the ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible