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Would it be ethical for a doctor to change his last name to a Jewish sounding

Would it be ethical for a doctor to change his last name to a Jewish sounding name in order to attract more patients?

A doctor who changes his last name to a Jewish sounding name in order to attract more patients is taking advantage of stereotypes about Jews and doctors in order to be more successful. This tends to reinforces the stereotype (unless this doctor is obviously a terrible doctor). And it thereby increases any prejudice against non-Jewish doctors. This is one reason why the change of name is, in my opinion, unethical. It is also unethical because it is deliberately deceptive (even though it does not involve the explicit telling of a lie). Physicians are held to high standards of truth telling because they are in positions of trust.

A doctor who changes his last name to a Jewish sounding name in order to attract more patients is taking advantage of stereotypes about Jews and doctors in order to be more successful. This tends to reinforces the stereotype (unless this doctor is obviously a terrible doctor). And it thereby increases any prejudice against non-Jewish doctors. This is one reason why the change of name is, in my opinion, unethical. It is also unethical because it is deliberately deceptive (even though it does not involve the explicit telling of a lie). Physicians are held to high standards of truth telling because they are in positions of trust.

How would you respond to the following argument against tolerating gay athletes

How would you respond to the following argument against tolerating gay athletes on sports teams. The problem with gay athletes is that they may be attracted to their teammates. Even if a particular athlete is not attracted to his teammates, or does not act on his attraction, the mere possibility of such an attraction is enough to create a distressing environment. Heterosexual players may reasonably feel uncomfortable undressing and showering in the presence of someone that might view them with sexual interest. To put this another way: gay athletes should be kept out of locker rooms for just the same reason that we do not allow men to be present in women's locker rooms. What matters is not that we separate different sexes, but rather that we separate groups that are liable to sexually objectify each other.

This argument seems to be one against tolerating gay athletes in locker rooms (not on sports teams). And if the argument is correct, we'd need a lot of locker rooms....two for avowed heterosexuals (with some cutoff for bisexual attraction) and one each for everyone else! I think it is far more comfortable and respectful for us to simply tolerate any discomfort one might feel undressing and showering in front of someone who might view them with sexual interest. Or perhaps those who experience the discomfort can have their own private locker rooms. In any case, the reasons for having separate sex locker rooms is not (merely?) to separate groups that are likely to be sexually attracted to one another; it may be in part because of fears of rape (sexual violence). People don't get as upset about women being in men's locker rooms as they do about men being in women's locker rooms.

Students who live in dorms with co-ed bathrooms manage their various sexual attractions just fine.

This argument seems to be one against tolerating gay athletes in locker rooms (not on sports teams). And if the argument is correct, we'd need a lot of locker rooms....two for avowed heterosexuals (with some cutoff for bisexual attraction) and one each for everyone else! I think it is far more comfortable and respectful for us to simply tolerate any discomfort one might feel undressing and showering in front of someone who might view them with sexual interest. Or perhaps those who experience the discomfort can have their own private locker rooms. In any case, the reasons for having separate sex locker rooms is not (merely?) to separate groups that are likely to be sexually attracted to one another; it may be in part because of fears of rape (sexual violence). People don't get as upset about women being in men's locker rooms as they do about men being in women's locker rooms. Students who live in dorms with co-ed bathrooms manage their various sexual attractions just fine.

In roles where individuals have a lot of responsibility (e.g. the direct

In roles where individuals have a lot of responsibility (e.g. the direct protection of others) how can the idea of a 'learning curve' be tolerated? It seems to me that there are always situations in which people, like doctors or soldiers, must make judgement calls, but if such decisions - though rational and educated - don't achieve the desired outcome (e.g a patient dies, a fellow soldier is put in harm's way), how can the decision makers tolerate having made them? Are there certain roles (like being an emergency room doctor or president) in which the individual filling that role has to accept that despite their best efforts they are very likely to cause others harm or to contribute to it? Is that a risk that just goes with the job?

This is a timely question, since medical residencies typically begin on July 1, so we will soon have some new MDs starting the learning curve! If we don't permit the inexperienced to treat patients we will not be able to train the next generation. To keep saving lives, then, we will have to tolerate some harm. Computer and other kinds of simulation used for training purposes can avoid some of this harm. Patients keep going to training hospitals, presumably because the learning curve harm is compensated for by the skilled supervision that residents get from attending physicians. But yes, physicians in training (and even those already qualified) do have to accept that they will cause some harm. A classic book to read about this is Charles Bosk's Forgive and Remember.

This is a timely question, since medical residencies typically begin on July 1, so we will soon have some new MDs starting the learning curve! If we don't permit the inexperienced to treat patients we will not be able to train the next generation. To keep saving lives, then, we will have to tolerate some harm. Computer and other kinds of simulation used for training purposes can avoid some of this harm. Patients keep going to training hospitals, presumably because the learning curve harm is compensated for by the skilled supervision that residents get from attending physicians. But yes, physicians in training (and even those already qualified) do have to accept that they will cause some harm. A classic book to read about this is Charles Bosk's Forgive and Remember .

Hello everyone,

Hello everyone, My name is Mohit B. and i am from India. I found one PDF online named as "101 Ethical Dilemmas". I started reading the book and got struck on the very first dilemma. < < < < < < SITUATION: The battleship Northern Spirit was torpedoed in the engine room, and began to sink rapidly. ‘Abandon Ship!’ shouts Captain Flintheart. But few of the lifeboats are intact. One boat, desperately overloaded, manages to struggle away from the sinking vessel, Flintheart at the prow. The cold, grey waters of the Atlantic around it are filled with screaming, desperate voices, begging to be saved. QUESTION: But faced with the grim knowledge of the danger of capsizing the little boat, endangering the lives of those already on board, should any more sailors be picked up and rescued? > > > > > > MY ANSWER or THOUGHT: As, the situation says that there are few lifeboats..yes more sailors can be rescued. If suppose there are no lifeboats more then the answer would also be YES..since sailors can swim. Though...

I like your response very much--you are aiming to keep the maximum number of people alive by rotating time in the lifeboat. This is a consequentialist approach that demands selflessness from the people already on the lifeboat. They would have to agree to take their turn and jump back in the water. And it would have to be possible to get people in and out of the water without danger (probably unlikely).

Other approaches may also be relevant. For example, Flintheart should probably be the first to give up his place, since it is the duty of the captain to take care of the passengers. Unless his presence is necessary for navigating the small boats.

In ethical reasoning there is not usually one "right answer"; rather there are several reasonable answers that use moral reasoning.

I like your response very much--you are aiming to keep the maximum number of people alive by rotating time in the lifeboat. This is a consequentialist approach that demands selflessness from the people already on the lifeboat. They would have to agree to take their turn and jump back in the water. And it would have to be possible to get people in and out of the water without danger (probably unlikely). Other approaches may also be relevant. For example, Flintheart should probably be the first to give up his place, since it is the duty of the captain to take care of the passengers. Unless his presence is necessary for navigating the small boats. In ethical reasoning there is not usually one "right answer"; rather there are several reasonable answers that use moral reasoning.

What's wrong with "self-plagiarism"?

What's wrong with "self-plagiarism"?

Great question! At first blush, "self-plagiarism" seems absurd, like forging one's own signature or stealing from oneself. But just as we can imagine odd circumstances when even these other seemingly absurd cases might be attempted (imagine I have amnesia and forgotten I am Charles Taliaferro, and think, instead, my real name is John Doe; I go to a bank and pretend to be Charles Taliaferro and sign a check with that name, I then break into Charles Taliaferro's apartment, take everything and sell it on the black market using the name John Doe).

On inspection,though, self-plagiarism is actually less odd than the strange adventures of John Doe. It usually consists in re-using work you have published elsewhere and raises copy-right concerns. Self-plagiarism occurs when, say, you have an essay published in The Journal of Philosophy but then use 90% of the article to form a new essay with a new title in a book, say, published by Princeton University Press without crediting the original publisher or paying any copyright fees. While extensive re-using of one's own writing published elsewhere (without citations or paying fees) is illegal or in breach of contract, it is often more frowned upon than subject to legal action. In fact, it is very difficult not to repeat points you have made elsewhere if you are advancing the same argument in multiple contexts, and this can easily lead to using the same language. For example, the prominent philosopher Alvin Plantinga has advanced an important argument that naturalism is self-refuting in many different debates, conferences, anthologies, journal articles, books. Though I have not checked on this, I think it is highly unlikely that there is not some repeating of phrases and language, and this is neither undesirable (imagine he had to change the terms of his argument on each occasion!) or dishonorable (in fact, it might be more honorable and helpful to both his critics and supporters if there was some constancy of language in these multiple publications).

NB: I must add that I am NOT claiming Plantinga either has done the above or is guilty of self-plagiarism, I use his case as a hypothetical one of a highly respected philosopher who has advanced a substantial position (which I happen to think is convincing) in more than one publication.

In self-plagiarism you copy your own work from one already published venue to a new venue, and then try to publish it again without acknowledging where you took it from. It is misleads people, in the first place because it violates the standard academic convention to cite text that has previously appeared (even if it is your own text). People need to know where a text first appeared in order to trace such things as critiques by others. Secondly, it misleads about the quantity of your publications; in academics we often take number of publications as a rough guide to productivity, but if publications overlap, then there is less productivity than there appears. Self-plagiarism is therefore viewed as a kind of dishonesty.

Is it ethical for psychologists and psychometricians to lie to their clients

Is it ethical for psychologists and psychometricians to lie to their clients about their IQ if it protects them from harm to their self-esteem? I ask because I highly suspect that such a practice is both very common and something that has been practiced on me. I am told I have an IQ of a 138 which to me seems highly improbable given my academic record and my SAT scores, but I always wanted to join Mensa and I think i told my tester that. However when I applied for Mensa I had to have my records sent three times to their headquarters but each time they somehow got "lost" and so I never became an official member. It also seems improbable that so many people I have known have IQs higher than 150, it's like it's just very common for practitioners to give their clients high feel good numbers.

I think it is unethical for psychologists to lie to their clients about such test results. It would be best practice for a psychologist to ask their client why they want to take such a test and what they think the result means, as part of the process of consent for taking the test. Apparently this was not done in your case, and this is regrettable, since you seem to think that the test has great significance.

A well known book you might enjoy is Howard Gardner's "Frames of Mind" which discerns seven different kinds of intelligence.

I think it is unethical for psychologists to lie to their clients about such test results. It would be best practice for a psychologist to ask their client why they want to take such a test and what they think the result means, as part of the process of consent for taking the test. Apparently this was not done in your case, and this is regrettable, since you seem to think that the test has great significance. A well known book you might enjoy is Howard Gardner's "Frames of Mind" which discerns seven different kinds of intelligence.

A colleague of mine is a very devoted vegan. So devoted, in fact, that he

A colleague of mine is a very devoted vegan. So devoted, in fact, that he argues that it is morally wrong to wear fake fur or fake leather, or to eat any kind of non-meat food that is meant to look or taste like meat. Apparently, doing so symbolically condones tyranny over animals, supports the meat and animal-based fashion industries, and demonstrates disrespect and contempt towards animals. Now, I have nothing against veganism, but this just seems too radical. Is this kind of argumentation sound? Or are there any more sensible arguments against fake fur or leather, or meat-like food items?

The claim that something "symbolically supports tyranny..." is not a claim about the act in itself, but a claim about the meaning of the act. Your vegan friend may see troublesome meanings in the act of eating artifical bacon flavored chips or wearing fake fur. But not everyone does, and there is much ambiguity and complexity about what things mean. To take another example, I have friends who will not marry because they think that "marrying symbolically supports an institution that oppresses women." I don't doubt that marriage has historically oppressed women, but I think marriage has multiple meanings (commitment, family, for example) and any decision whether to marry or not needs to take all these meanings into account. Back to the fake fur: Personally I prefer fake fur that looks fake, so that I don't make unnecessary enemies or set a bad example. Your friend is so passionate about veganism that he focuses on one set of meanings.

The claim that something "symbolically supports tyranny..." is not a claim about the act in itself, but a claim about the meaning of the act. Your vegan friend may see troublesome meanings in the act of eating artifical bacon flavored chips or wearing fake fur. But not everyone does, and there is much ambiguity and complexity about what things mean. To take another example, I have friends who will not marry because they think that "marrying symbolically supports an institution that oppresses women." I don't doubt that marriage has historically oppressed women, but I think marriage has multiple meanings (commitment, family, for example) and any decision whether to marry or not needs to take all these meanings into account. Back to the fake fur: Personally I prefer fake fur that looks fake, so that I don't make unnecessary enemies or set a bad example. Your friend is so passionate about veganism that he focuses on one set of meanings.

I'm interested whether technological advancement can ever be morally good, and

I'm interested whether technological advancement can ever be morally good, and under what circumstances. It's a platitude to say that technology has both positive and negative effects (on the one hand, creature comforts, better health, cheaper goods and services; on the other hand, pollution, weapons, cultural homogenization, etc.) But, given the psychological evidence for "hedonic adaptation" (people quickly return to the same baseline level of happiness no matter what happens to them) and economic evidence such as the "Easterlin paradox" (average reported happiness of a country's citizens does not increase with average income), it seems unlikely that the supposedly positive effects of technology are genuinely good--especially those related to material prosperity. The supposedly negative effects may not be so bad either, but it's definitely not obvious that the good outweighs the bad, as people generally assume. Even if technology is neutral overall rather than bad, we probably shouldn't accept any...

You do ask a big question, and an important one. I can offer a couple of thoughts to use in exploring the issues:

  • happiness is not the only measure of human wellbeing, important though it may be. (life expectancy, increased knowledge, quality of life experiences etc also matter)
  • there is no need to show that "overall" technological progress is good or bad. We don't need overall measures. We just need to assess each technology in its proposed context of use
  • you assume that it is a moral requirement to choose the job that can best advance human wellbeing. (A utilitarian might argue this, but many other moral theorists would say that it is praiseworthy but not morally required to do so)

You do ask a big question, and an important one. I can offer a couple of thoughts to use in exploring the issues: happiness is not the only measure of human wellbeing, important though it may be. (life expectancy, increased knowledge, quality of life experiences etc also matter) there is no need to show that "overall" technological progress is good or bad. We don't need overall measures. We just need to assess each technology in its proposed context of use you assume that it is a moral requirement to choose the job that can best advance human wellbeing. (A utilitarian might argue this, but many other moral theorists would say that it is praiseworthy but not morally required to do so)

Do immoral methods in science always produce false results? I've heard this

Do immoral methods in science always produce false results? I've heard this kind of claim made in relation to psychological experiments in which subjects are initially lied to. It doesn't seem intuitive. Why do people say this?

You ask a good question that I have wondered about myself. The classic examples of immoral work in science are Nazi experiments on human physiology and the Tuskegee syphilis study. Neither were up to current methodological standards, but both were OK science for their time. In a way it would be more convenient if these cases would be bad science as well as immoral science, because then no questions need be asked about whether it is permissable to use the results. Perhaps it is difficult to acknowledge that science can be used successfully in ways that are immoral. But I think we learned this lesson with Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

You ask a good question that I have wondered about myself. The classic examples of immoral work in science are Nazi experiments on human physiology and the Tuskegee syphilis study. Neither were up to current methodological standards, but both were OK science for their time. In a way it would be more convenient if these cases would be bad science as well as immoral science, because then no questions need be asked about whether it is permissable to use the results. Perhaps it is difficult to acknowledge that science can be used successfully in ways that are immoral. But I think we learned this lesson with Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Why is it that, in so many languages, the same word (in English, "wrong") can

Why is it that, in so many languages, the same word (in English, "wrong") can mean both "false" (e.g., in "that answer is wrong") and "improper" (e.g., in "it is wrong to steal")? Is there some important thing common to falsity and immorality? And is "wrong" the word for it?

You make an insightful observation. Perhaps one reason is that there is a close coincidence between lying (which is often although perhaps not always morally wrong) and telling falsehoods. Perhaps another is that we sometimes regard the search for the truth (in science or other fields) as morally praiseworthy, which might lead to thinking of falsehoods as improper conclusions to inquiry. In any case, I think you are correct to distinguish what philosophers call epistemic correctness from moral correctness.

You make an insightful observation. Perhaps one reason is that there is a close coincidence between lying (which is often although perhaps not always morally wrong) and telling falsehoods. Perhaps another is that we sometimes regard the search for the truth (in science or other fields) as morally praiseworthy, which might lead to thinking of falsehoods as improper conclusions to inquiry. In any case, I think you are correct to distinguish what philosophers call epistemic correctness from moral correctness.

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