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27

I do not think that there is a single answer to the question of "is it immoral to negatively affect someone's potential wealth" in the context of the moral community of today. For example, if I have a great and inexpensive widget for sale, and you have a lousy expensive widget for sale, my advertising of my widget is going to negatively affect your ...


18

There are multiple reasons one might want to preserve animals from going extinct, not all philosophically based. Psychological People tend to value what is scarce. (Whole books have been written on this.) A nearly-extinct animal is as scarce as you can get without being nonexistent: not only are there extremely few, but there is little hope of getting it ...


14

Over several decades, I've paid the music industry many times more than the average consumer, but in recent years I've almost exclusively obtained my recordings from "illegal" use of P2P and torrents on the internet. I don't see my current behaviour as immoral, nor do I think the fact that I paid a lot in the past, or that I've had no income (and dwindling ...


13

Your problem seems to come about through a misunderstanding of what is oppressive about the situation. The oppression resides not in the task but the lack of choice. Then it is much like any other life choice. Imagine all men are told you have to work in physical labour because your physique is suited to it. Some guys currently choose to work as builders ...


9

There's several ambiguities in your question that an answer needs to address. First, I am going to assume that your uses of "should" refer to moral rather than legal determinations. Otherwise, this isn't going to fit under philosophy. Second, I'm going to answer in terms of applied ethics rather than formal ethical theories. Third, I will following your ...


8

Is it immoral to negatively affect someone's potential wealth? This is actually a very good question if we replace "wealth" with "income". The the answer goes like this: In a free market economy, high profits (and, hence, income) can be made only by saitisfying urgent demand for things that are very scarce. For example, while water is essential to sustain ...


8

Welcome to this SE, Daniel. I think the problem with the argument is what you are trying to prove: how can I disprove that there exists an inherent privilege (an entitlement) to believe whatever you want? Even Patrick Stokes agrees that people are entitled to their opinions. He writes: If “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion” just means no-one has ...


6

Firstly, what is punishable by law and what is moral are two very different things, and it would be a mistake to conflate the two. While someone may not go to jail for killing an animal, this does not thereby guarantee that it is morally permissible to kill an animal. Going in the other direction, it may be illegal to consume certain substances (for instance)...


5

I take the Google quote to be a jab at Russia in terms of homosexuality. But that does raise the question -- what makes something a right and how do we have them? Here, there are several theories that are distinct. First, the basic definition of a right is something that I should be permitted to do or something I can obligate others to do for me. In the ...


5

One concept that I thought is worth mentioning is from Judaism. The idea is that there's a division between cases where "One enjoys and one has not lost"(זה נהנה וזה לא חסר), and cases where "One enjoys and one has lost"(זה נהנה וזה חסר). In cases of downloading copyrighted material, you could argue that it comes under the first category, since you're not ...


5

Some of this obviously depends on how one defines "work." There are obvious examples in history of people that are considered "virtuous" who didn't have a job that provided them with income, if that's what you mean. Examples include Socrates (who instead of "working" went around Athens asking people questions) and various religious ascetics such as ...


5

Alasdair MacIntyre is a famous critic of rights. See his book "After Virtue": The truth is plain: there are no such [i.e. human] rights, and belief in them is one with belief in witches and unicorns. The best reason for asserting so bluntly that there are no such rights is indeed of precisely the same type as the best reason we have for asserting ...


4

I would say that in practise, there are formal (i.e. legal) rights, and informal (i.e. social conventional) rights. The phrase "What gives you the right to [...]?" is often used in the context of interpersonal interaction in circumstances which only the most repressive regimes feel the need to express opinions on; but we certainly acknowledge that ...


4

This isn't really an "answer"—just some contributing thoughts. If psychological circumstance counts as "rational," then maybe it's that some of us feel a kind of respect for (or fear of) permanent change. For example, people die, but people are born; you may lose someone you love, but you may also gain another in time. This isn't the case with ...


4

In order to answer this question as stated in the penultimate paragraph, we must first show how a lowering of the burden of proof to a preponderance of evidence constitutes an infringement of the presumption of innocence. Paul Roberts argues that there are three reasons for this (but I only see two and will present them as such for ease). The first is that ...


4

No law-book includes the right to break the law stipulated in the law code. But there may exist law codes on different levels of a hierachy. Here the law of one level may contradict the law from a different level. In general, law of a higher level breaks the law of the lower level. So far the principle of positive right. The situation becomes more ...


3

Are there intrinsic human rights? Only if your moral point of reference is exterior. There are no intrinsic human rights in a purely naturalistic and self-referencing model. Rights are determined by ruling classes and conform to the vision they have for the ruled classes. On this view, "rights" are arbitrary. In this context "ruling classes" refer to those ...


3

This distinction occurs a decent amount of times; being described with the terms 'positive' and 'negative' rights. A brief descriptor from Stanford Encyclopedia (scroll down a bit more, its at 2.1.8) sheds some light on it. Positive rights must be enforced by other people. If I have a positive right to be fed, then others must feed me in order to meet some ...


3

No, Hegel did not consider private property a natural right in the sense in which Locke and others did. The reason is that for Hegel these things are not self-evident truths that appear to our perceptive faculties. For Hegel, rights occur in a social framework as a judgment of the society that this attaches to a person. To put it another way, rights are for ...


3

You've made a LOT of assumptions in your post, and have a pretty big set of seemingly unexamined presuppositions behind your statements that seem to me to need exposition. By saying that the legality of an action is irrelevant to its morality, you claim, unsupported, that morality is entirely detached from legality. This is quite a sweeping assertion! You ...


3

"Rights" are a rather problematic concept. Let us first consider whether humans have any rights, and if so, how they get them and what it means to have them. One way to proceed is to identify some characteristic of humans--possessing a rational will, let's say--and then try to deduce from that what behaviors are acceptable. This leads to efforts like Kant'...


3

If you're asking about the moral aspects of forcing them into society, there are different approaches you could look at: In general, social contract theories assume that the act of joining society has to be 1) voluntarily 2) out of self-interest 3) based on strict reciprocity. As society makes demands on you, your rights and your behaviour, it seems ...


3

It is not clear to me that the notion of a "lost sale" is coherent. How are you supposed to quantify it? Even if we were forced to assign some percentage of downloads which would have been almost-certainly-purchased, it would have to be tiny -- dwarfed by the amount of content shared in violation of copyright-holder's wishes on the matter. In passing, as I ...


3

The thing is that Kant (I don't know enough about Fichte to be arguing his case) would not agree with your third premise, i.e. that "violating the law is just if and only if the law is unjust". Justice, as a term of rights [Recht] is established by the implementation of a legal situation. As not having one is worse that having a bad one, revolution is ...


3

The question seems to boil down to this... Is an AI the kind of entity that would qualify for basic human rights? What qualifies humans for rights? The arguments I've seen include rationality and sentience, so let's look at those. Rationality doesn't hold up as even the severely mentally impaired have rights. While their rights may seem curtailed (...


3

The tragedy of the commons arises out of equal and open usage of the commons which results, in brief, territorilisation of said commons to the advantage of a few, and it's spoiliation for the many. It strikes one that equal and open access which might on the face of it sounds democratic is perhaps not so democratic and one might even say anti-democratic if ...


3

(This answer elaborates a bit on R. Barzell's answer.) Charles Mills takes up this question in his book The Racial Contract. The title of Mills' book refers to a kind of inversion of classical social contract theory. Classical social contract theory uses a hypothetical, general social contract (involving "everyone," in some sense) to characterize a just ...


3

By rights, one means an entitlement a person has to do something. Abortion, on the other hand, does not concern the pregnant woman doing something. Your definition of rights is overly restrictive. That a woman ought not to be obliged to carry a pregnancy to term also falls within the traditional scope of a right: From Stanford Encyclopedia of ...


3

This may superficially seem like a question of ethics --a moral commitment against racism as opposed to the practical value of profiling --but I think that both overstates the practicality of profiling, and understates the practical value of minimizing racial biases. If the suspects --or the guitars! --were arguments, what you are talking about would be the ...


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