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The root of this concept lies in a theory, most closely associated recently with theorist David Sloan Wilson, that moral behaviors --specifically altruism --convey a group-level survival advantage. The idea itself is quite old, but it has recently experienced a revival after being dismissed for a long period of time. (Note: The theory is still considered ...


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 ...


9

The question is how much well-informed citizens need to be to exercise their democratic rights. The answer depends on theories of democracy. The duty of citizens to be well-informed can be very demanding or not demanding at all. Some theories even require moral duty not to vote. I explain these three views in the following. J.S. Mill's theory can be argued ...


8

John Stuart Mill in On liberty will say that what makes a violent speech violent (construed as 'legally violent', that is, a legally impermissible act to do onto others) depends on the context. What makes a violent speech legally violent is a matter relating how or when to legitimately exercise freedom of speech. Mill's answer to this question is the Harm ...


6

There's some non-sequiturs in your thought process. Generally, whether or not people consider something to be morally right is irrelevant to reward or punishment. People don't always do things they think are morally right. Maybe because they'll be rewarded for doing what they think is wrong, or they'll be punished for doing what they think is right. Your ...


6

It is simply an analogy, in the context of the discussion regarding Søren Kierkegaard's quest for the knight of faith : People commonly travel around the world to see rivers and mountains, new stars, [...]. This does not interest me. But if I knew where there was such a knight of faith, I would make a pilgrimage to him on foot, for this prodigy interests ...


6

moral rights "Rights" aren't a moral or ethical category. They are a juridical category. to mourn To "mourn", on the other hand, is psychological, not moral or juridical, phenomenon. So, the "moral right to mourn" is a conflation of disparate concepts, which becomes meaningless at all three - juridical, moral, psychological - levels. Juridically, ...


5

they abandon themselves to the bestial stupor which gapes at existence, and they think they have seen something. This rather looks like an early critique of what much later Edward Said calls Orientalism. Said commented as someone born and brought up in the middle-East he couldn't see the texture of life he knew in the representations of such in art & ...


5

Contrary to Jobermark, I believe Kant provides a very straightforward answer to your dilemma. Kant's based his categorical imperative on one question "Is it universalizable?", and in your case the clear answer is vote for what you think is right for everybody (presumably in your case that is party B, since it would help more people than party A). Here's why: ...


5

I up voted Nanhee Byrnes' answer, but I have a couple things to add. First, I want to emphasize the obvious: If you literally direct people to do violence, then you are clearly linked to the resulting violence. For example, if you give a speech demonizing Muslims, then urge people to go out and beat up their Muslim neighbors, you are effectively engaging in ...


4

(b) happens often enough. "I prefer Gore to Bush. But, I just heard Nader talk, and now I prefer Nader to Gore." If you have 51% support for Gore, 49% support for Bush, and 0% support for Nader, but some Gore supporters decide they like Nader even more than Gore, the numbers will go to e.g. 48%, 49%, 3%, and Bush will win the election, even though nobody ...


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

Ethics and morality are often used by philosophers as synonyms. Some philosophers have suggested that we use the words in slightly different ways, where “ethics” would refer to a system describing right and wrong action in particular contexts like a profession or a role (like “business ethics"); “morality” would describe rightness and wrongness in the more ...


4

There is no one philosophical position on the meaning of "person". There are at least three important camps on personhood: animalists think that something is a person if and only if it is a human being, Lockeans think that something is a person if and only if it is the subject of the right kind of mental states (Lockeans disagree about exactly which state is ...


4

Your question is essentially a variation on a debate in the autonomy literature. The question that arises there is the relationship between autonomy and free choices. The two examples most common in the literature are prostitution and burqas. The question in these instances and yours is this: To what extent is autonomy to be located in the immediate will of ...


4

Even if we accept your basic assumption --that responsible fatherhood in human beings dates back only as far as the dawn of human societies --that doesn't imply it can't be part of an evolutionary process. Suppose that human societies have been around 10,000 years, and that being a good father provides a strong advantage to your children. That's plenty of ...


4

The idea that it exists to strengthen the patriarchy is silly; the concept of fatherhood directly benefits the female vastly more than the male. According to evolution, it likely came about as a consequence of human's extended childhood. Because of the immense amount of resources that a human child requires, and the fact that a human woman is very limited ...


4

It's in society's interest and consequently also in his interest to do so. There is a good book, Liars and Outliers: Enabling The Trust That Society Needs To Thrive by Bruce Schneier. Society thrives when there is security, trust, and cooperation. These three depend upon moral, reputational, and institutional pressures in society. Religious reasons fall ...


4

Democratic ethics - Habermas' discourse ethics Rawls certainly offers one approach to a democratic ethics. I'd like to suggest another approach, that of Habermas. In the tradition of critical theory (Adorno & Horkheimer, 1997), Jorgen Habermas's main aim has been to construct a theory focusing on an analysis of advanced capitalist industrial ...


4

"Lambasting" is not a proof. English editors obviously have been unwilling to translate French rebukes to S&B's rhetoric. The case is open and one should hear both sides, even if one of them speaks mostly a foreign language. Yves Jeanneret, L’affaire Sokal ou la querelle des impostures (Paris, PUF, 1998, 274 p.) is abook length "lambasting" of Sokal &...


4

First off, evolution is a process that is always ongoing. One cannot chose to act "evolutionary right" or "evolutionary wrong". Also, evolution has no goal. It is simply the observation and theory that stronger species tend to survive over weaker species. Finally, evolution is a process that is much broader and takes much longer than a parent dying for his ...


3

Arne Naess wrote many essays about the Self. In them, he argued for a concept called the Ecological Self, but along the way he used a series of phrases to challenge commonly held approaches to defining the self. Such class of phrase pairs looked like: I enjoy listening to Mozart. My body enjoys listening to Mozart. Or I am my mother's son. ("daughter" ...


3

Atoms do not contain little tags that say "I am part of user63152", and whose unique properties determine the actions of user63152. Indeed, aside from differences in isotopes, and a handful of observables like nuclear spin, atoms of the same type are indistinguishable from each other. Thus, we needn't care whether the atoms are replaced every minute, every ...


3

Eating your own species is a bad idea from a health perspective since any parasites (prions, etc.) that affected the other individual could well affect you, and any toxins they accumulated that were bad for them are also bad for you. (Since cannibalism has not been frowned upon strongly enough in all societies there is a fairly recent example of this.) ...


3

In a world like the one described by you, it's possible that the question is sort of "wrong". That technology obviously is world-changing, so probably copyright would change too. Even leaving aside the possibility of an open digital-food-machine, and the possibility of an open digital recipe, it wouldn't be that much of a problem if people got fired, because ...


3

In his robot series, Asimov tells a story of a system where the world economy was planned by a computer system which had intricate knowledge of supply & demand. Some discrepancies start turning up—overproduction and underproduction occurs against the design of the system, such that certain people are driven out of business. It turned out that these ...


3

Whether or not teaching mathematics to children helps to spread the idea of equality is an empirical, psychological, maybe educational question. It is not a question of philosophy. That said, why should mathematics help with equality? There will be a whole bunch of counterexamples, crazy murderer that are genius at math, early civilizations (most notably ...


3

There is no philosophical reasoning to approve one and not the other - and I question whether or not such schizophrenic philosophers even exist. Furthermore, both the freedom of speech and the "freedom of deeds" - even in the most liberal circles - have been generally governed by the harm principle in their seminal states. Ergo, free speech does not mean ...


3

The sociologist Wright Mills wrote The Power Elite where he examines the interwoven interests of the military, corporate & political elements of American society. Chomsky has a number of books on the Manufacture of consent via the medium of the media. You might find Galbraiths books on the Great Crash useful where he examines the behaviour of the ...


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