What questions has humanity not answered?
The big questions of ethics
Is there a golden rule?
What you want people to do to you, do them too!
What exactly does the Golden Rule say? Is it really such a well-established basic formula of ethics? Their simplicity and the requirement to consider the interests of others as equal to one's own is not least their attraction. But not all that glitters is gold. So what is the essence of this rule that bears the predicate “golden” in its name?
Does the end justify the means?
To do wrong for the sake of what is right
The vice president of a democratic state in the highly developed western world orders the killing of hundreds of innocent citizens. After that he stayed in office, never revised his decision and still lives as a free man to this day. Why? Because he and many others are of the opinion that this ultimate means was justified by the momentous end that it served. Now when I tell you that this politician's name was Dick Cheney, the state was the United States, and the date of the order was September 11, 2011, things will slowly become clearer.
Is there a justification for terrorism?
The legitimacy of all necessary means
One reason why any defense of terrorism is likely to prompt outrage is simply that the world itself is morally charged: calling something terrorism actually means that it has already been condemned. For this very reason, in 2011 both Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi and his allies, such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, condemned the rebels who ultimately overthrew the Gaddafi regime as terrorists: a quick and easy way to get them into To bring disrepute.
The ethics of preference
Should we give preference to family and friends?
The special treatment we give friends and family may seem like a moral issue, provided we take a utilitarian perspective that says that everyone's interests should be treated equally and that it is our duty to make the world better whenever we can we can somehow improve it. But there are other ways of thinking that do not see morality as a duty to maximize everyone's interest. If we understand morality to be something that arises from a natural affection for others, a need to cooperate, or a combination of both, then it seems much more understandable that our affection and willingness to cooperate with all those with whom we are more closely connected, will be (and should be) stronger.
How generous should we be?
The Giving Pledge is an American fundraising initiative that aims to encourage the richest people in the United States to use the majority of their wealth for charity. Some of the country's most famous billionaires have already joined, including Facebook founders Mark Zuckerberg, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet and film director George Lucas. There seems to be an increasing assumption and expectation, on the part of the rich and the poor, that the super-rich have some kind of moral obligation to give generously.
Are Drug Laws Morally Inconsistent?
The relationship between law and morality
While one would commonly expect that there is a certain relationship between morality and law, it is not an easy matter to bring the two together as closely as possible. Much of what we consider wrong is not illegal, and much of what is illegal is not inherently wrong. And we want it to stay that way. The relationship between what is right and what is supposed to be lawful is extremely complex and a much debated issue in drug policy.
Do animals have rights?
The expansion of the moral circle
Do animals have rights? Yes, that is the clear and concise answer to this question. Why? Because we have given them some basic rights through the law. But the more interesting moral question is: are these legal rights a kind of act of generosity from one species to another, or are animals entitled to these fundamental rights whether we recognize them or not?
Is Abortion Murder?
The value of human life
The question of whether abortion is murder is by far the most important element in the debate about its moral evaluation, more important than the right of women to freely decide about it: neither a woman nor a man has the right to a free one Decision to commit murder. All aspects relating to the right of free choice can therefore only apply if it has already been decided that abortion is not murder. There is no getting around this central insight.
Should euthanasia be legal?
The right to put an end to your own life
Imagine the situation that you fear most, knowing that it will occur and unable to do anything to avert it, not because it is practically impossible, but because it is illegal. Imagine the person in your life who you love most, who is suffering, who wants you to help them get rid of their suffering, but you are unable to fulfill their desire and to avert suffering from them, and Again, not because it would be practically impossible, but because you lack the legal basis to do so.
Is Sex a Moral Question?
Sex ethics seems to be a dusty topic. It is not discussed in many introductions to ethics. In Peter Singer's famous work Practical Ethics there is only a cursory reference to this, and only to it with the sentence: "Sex does not raise a single moral question".36 The almost complete cleansing of the arena of serious ethical debates on the subject of sex has been so successful that we immediately suspect (often rightly) those who raise the subject of plucking a conservative or moral chicken.
Can discrimination be good?
Equality, difference, equal treatment
Do you support discrimination? While the answer might seem obvious, it can vary widely depending on the context. Accusing someone of racial discrimination is a grave charge. However, calling someone an indiscriminate eater or a fan of music is not a cheer. Discrimination means to distinguish things based on a judgment about whether they are good or bad, better or worse (derived from the Latin discriminatio, "divorce", "segregation"; translator's note). And there's nothing wrong with that when it comes to food or art. But can it ever be justified to discriminate when it comes to people?
Is free trade fair trade?
The ethics of global action
At the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, just a few years after the largest global recession since the 1930s, the western industrialized nations were either on the verge of or on the verge of a relapse into recession. The failure of the market was discussed not only by representatives of the political left, but also to a large extent by mainstream economists and conservative politicians. The question of whether a market economy can both work and be fair moved to the center of the political debate.
Should we do environmental protection?
Or: do humans harm nature?
Much of the debate about anthropogenic (man-made) climate change revolves around whether and how quickly it occurs. Although the scientific community largely agrees that it cannot be stopped, a significant minority continues to speak of exaggerated illusion; a minority who cannot be dismissed outright as an advocate of the major industrial polluters and energy-intensive group operators with their enormous emissions of carbon-based fuels.
Are we responsible for our actions?
About crime and the right mind
It seems to be a fundamental principle of the law that one can only be found guilty of acts that one intentionally does, given what one can reasonably know at any given time. If you pulled the trigger and killed someone in good faith that the gun was a toy, you will not be found guilty of murder. However, if you have not checked carefully whether it is a real pistol or a toy, you will be held accountable for your lack of understanding and carelessness. But does this seemingly simple principle stand up to the complexities of real life?
What is a just war?
The moral problem of armed conflict
What is the difference between a good and a bad war? There is, almost unique in philosophy, a theoretical framework to answer this question, which is widely, if not universally, posed. What is even more remarkable, the basic form of the Just War doctrine pretty much resembles the thoughts that Thomas Aquinas first formulated in the 13th century. 52
Is Torture Always Wrong?
How to stop a ticking bomb
Arguments in favor of torture are often viewed as strictly utilitarian: by sacrificing the interests of a single guilty person, you save the lives of many more innocent people. The account of losses and gains related to war, luck, or whatever the greatest good we use to judge the correctness of our actions would show a hefty gain. Does such justification work?
Can science answer moral questions?
What facts say about values
Goodness is not an element that falls somewhere between actinium and thorium on the periodic table. Justice has no mass or speed. Malice only grows metaphorically. These things are obviously true. And so it might seem just as obvious that we don't even need to consult science if we want to learn about morality.
Is Morality Relative?
The variability of moral codes
We live in a world where individual rules are valued and the consumer is king. But if personal freedoms and preferences are of paramount importance and a universal concept - “one size fits all” - is not enough, shouldn't we also accept that morality is just as variable as our taste in terms of food and fashion? Couldn't it be that what you think is right doesn't fit me at all? Or does this lead straight into moral anarchy?
Is everything allowed without God?
As with many of the most famous “quotes” of all time, the person who was credited with the words, “If God does not exist, everything is law” did not actually say them that way. But that doesn't matter: it expresses the attitude of Dmitri Karamazov from Dostoyevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov better than the original. More importantly, it sums up a compelling and widely held notion: no god - no morals.
Are all moral dilemmas solvable?
When it comes to morality, just as in many other difficult areas of life, we want answers, so much so that we often prefer a clear answer with a weak justification to a good justification for which there is no clear answer. Accepting a lack of answers in the field of ethics is particularly difficult, as most of us seem to be certain that there must be some way to find out which action is always exactly the right one. But is that really the case?
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