Advanced Search

Recently a 19 year old woman killed herself after she was taunted by her high

Recently a 19 year old woman killed herself after she was taunted by her high school classmates for doing a porn. The while situation makes me angry and upset. (though looking at the reported online comments they don't seem as bad or as I voluminous as you might imagine, and they were not all directed her. So there may be some other issues) Maybe it makes me angry partly because I often watch porn with women of that age but part of me feels uncomfortable about it because I don't know how it affects their lives or if they are doing it with a sufficiently developed sense of ownership about the consequences that decision may bring. But really should I feel bad for watching porn with younger women or should I direct my feelings toward a society that is unfairly judgmental and hypocritical about sex?

I don't know how much older you are than the women you watch with, and I don't know anything about the larger situation. I don't know why you aren't picking companions closer to your own age, and I don't know anything about the young women and your relationship with them. What I'd think in detail would depend on all that. But generalizations about "society" are typically pretty vapid. Does "society" mean "most people?" How do you know? Do you have any real evidence as opposed to impressions, anecdotes and a look at website comments by high-schoolers? And most important, what does this have to do with whether you should be doing what you're doing?

We can agree that the high-schoolers should have kept their comments to themselves. We can also agree, at least for argument's sake, that a 19-year-old could make a clear-eyed, responsible decision to make a porn. But that's not the issue. The issue is how you should be dealing with the particular young women you're talking about, in the particular circumstances you all find yourselves in.

You've given a couple of good reasons for being uncomfortable. They'd still be good reasons even if there are a lot of judgmental hypocrites around. There probably are other reasons as well. Do the reasons add up to the conclusion that you shouldn't be doing what you're doing? I'm not about to say. What I'm willing to say is that it would be a lot better to explore your moral discomfort directly without turning to vague, irrelevant generalizations about "society." That kind of deflection is a recipe for rationalization rather than honest self-assessment.

And one more thing: you're absolutely right to be wondering about the point of view of the women you watch with. You might consider actually talking with them about it, in a setting where everyone concerned will feel free to be honest.

How would a legal philosopher deal with the trolley problem compared to a moral

How would a legal philosopher deal with the trolley problem compared to a moral philosopher? Would he come to a conclusion that is neither switch nor not switch? That is, either choice is equally legal?

You seem to be asking about the legality of switching or declining to switch, in which case your question is best answered by a lawyer rather than a philosopher of law. I'm not sure, but the answer may depend on the jurisdiction. It may also matter whether the person in a position to switch the trolley is legally authorized to be in that position or is, instead, a trespasser or intruder. I'm not suggesting that the answer provided by the law is totally irrelevant to the morally right answer. The law on this issue, if there is any, may reveal the moral attitude that we currently take toward it, which is relevant to some extent.

When you start a controversial, difficult debate with someone, for example about

When you start a controversial, difficult debate with someone, for example about world poverty, war, crime, abuse, etc. should you regard the personal limitations of the other person involved in the conversation or just keep going in order to increase more social awareness about the problem you are discussing even if this might cause the other person to be partially in shock because of the overwhelming topic? Should raising social awareness and trying to provoke critical thinking in people be also subject to ethical standards even at the cost of limiting possible positive results (if the means of conversation and other type of critical propaganda are more moderate, not managing to achieve such bigger social awareness and positive response due to the basic human need for conformism)?

One always has to be aware of the nature of the audience when one speaks about anything, especially an important topic. You would not want to antagonize someone or put them off a particular type of thought by addressing them inappropriately. Your phrase "personal limitations" is not helpful here, we all come from different backgrounds and have limitations, and the successful speaker is someone who can use that to make his or her point nonetheless.

Talking down to people is never a useful strategy.

Does allowing one's child to become obese constitute child abuse?

Does allowing one's child to become obese constitute child abuse?

On the other hand, there certainly have been cases where social services have removed children from parents where children have become obese, and the parents have been taken to be at fault.It seems to me to be an issue that needs to be considered on a case by case manner. There may be something in the parents' behavior that encourages obesity in the children, in just the same way that a parent may be in trouble with the authorities for letting their child play by a road.

We tend to think that although many parents are not ideal, it is generally better for children to be brought up by them than by removing them and trying out alternative carers for them. There are clearly cases though where parents do not take account sufficiently of the dangerous situations in which they place their children and intervention by the state is then justifiable. Obesity could well be such a situation, especially given the wide range of ailments to which it leads.

Is inter-country adoption immoral? (I'm a college senior doing an independent

Is inter-country adoption immoral? (I'm a college senior doing an independent study on Korean transnational adoption and the Korean diaspora.)

I don't see why it should be. Like inter-ethnic adoption, it might be better for someone to be adopted by someone more like them, but then it might not be also. If there is no alternative, it seems to me to be often better than leaving the child where it is.Presumably the new parents would have to think about how far they want to involve the child in the original culture of the country they come from, but that is about it.

One of the curious aspects of inter-country and inter-ethnic adoption is that it is often regarded with suspicion by people who have no problems with inter-racial dating, or marriage, and this seems strange. The difference of course is that in one case the child is not able to give consent, and in the other the potential partners can, but the child can always decide what attitude he or she is to take to their origins later on. If they are not adopted it may sadly be the case that often there is no later on at all.

Some people study or know a great deal about ethics as it's taught in philosophy

Some people study or know a great deal about ethics as it's taught in philosophy departs, and yet those same people we may not judge to be highly ethical or to have elevated moral characters. If this assumption is correct, how do you explain this? Is there a way to solve this problem?

During The Troubles the IRA would sometimes make a telephone warning beforehand

During The Troubles the IRA would sometimes make a telephone warning beforehand prior to exploding a bomb. Even if the authorities are unable to evacuate every person in time resulting in a single digit death toll, does this make them less guilty or immoral than al-Qaeda according to virtue ethics?

Great question. As a small point at the outset, I think that both the IRA bombing and the bombing by al-Qaeda are equally wrong, and wrong in targeting the military as well as civilians. Neither cause amounts (in my view) to justified use of violence, and the bombing seems senseless not just ethically but given the strategic aims of the IRA and al-Qaeda. In both cases, it seems there is evidence that The Troubles would have ended earlier if non-violent means were used, and the same for the use of terror by al-Qaeda. But there is some ethical difference in the two cases. If the IRA phone call was made so late, that there was no way to evacuate anyone, the cases are identical. But if the IRA's call was made to insure (or make unlikely) that lives would be lost and so the bombing would only destroy property, then such a practice seems less cruel than bombers who intend and take every step to wound or kill others. In fact, given the strategic ends of al-Qaeda, they may be motivated to call in false bomb threats that would maximize loss of life. For example, phoning in a warning that building X will explode at noon, may lead to persons escaping and seeking refuge in building Y where the real bombs are set to go off.

If animals have feelings then isn't that enough reason not to kill them for food

If animals have feelings then isn't that enough reason not to kill them for food? Some would say that self awareness is required. Why would that be relevant? Could the idea that a creature without self awareness lacks a unified state of being over time be a reason? They just sort of exist one moment to the next. Death for them would no different than the passage of time. But then how can mere concepts of self awareness have such an ontological significance? Much of their experience probably or may not be especially pleasurable and many wouldn't exist in the first place if they weren't bred to be eaten. I wonder if the inability of most people to form a moral opinion opposed to animal eating shows something dreadful about the human condition. Here I am sitting and eating meat while asking these questions in the abstract while I've never had the willpower to go vegetarian for any extended period just in case my fears about meat eating are right.

Terrific question, and I completely share your intuitions (not to mention your weak-willedness....). If pain or suffering are somehow intrinsically 'bad', then it must be right that killing animals is bad (assuming that involves inflicting pain, of course). Or more precisely, causing that pain without having some more compelling overriding reason is bad (and presumably we don't with respect to animals for food -- since human beings can live without meat, and even live well -- and indeed many argue that, economically, meat-eating causes horrible suffering all over the globe etc.) My guess is that those who might invoke 'self-awareness' as a justification for meat-eating -- who must merely presume that animals lack it, by the way; hard to know! -- are perhaps thinking that having self-awareness increases the degree of suffering of the animal. after all, knowing you are about to die, to be killed, along with some idea that the process will be unpleasant, indeed increases the suffering (and empirically it seems that animals in slaughterhouses clearly know something is up ....). But (to expand your thought) that doesn't somehow override the first point but emphasizes it: if self-awareness is bad because it increases the suffering/pain, then that must be because pain is bad -- in which case self-awareness must not be necessary for the moral impermissibility of meat-eating. (and if the self-awareness does NOT increase the suffering in the process, then, as you suggest, it's not so clear why having it would rule out the eating of meat.) so, basically, I agree with you ...!

best, ap

I am a recently married thirty year old living in Oregon. My wife and I don't

I am a recently married thirty year old living in Oregon. My wife and I don't want to have any kids and we don't subscribe to religion or any ideology. Because of this why should I be concerned about global warming which won't affect me in any major way in my lifetime? I do not have any responsibility to future generations because all my friends and family are either older or around my same age as well.

Your view, dear reader, seems to presuppose that the only reason anyone should care about global warming (or any other problem that will affect future generations) is that one may have (biological?) descendents that might be affected. That presupposition seems false. On the one hand, it's not obvious why I should care more about my distant descendents (e.g., great-great-great-great grandchildren) more than other people who live 100+ years from now. If we care about any other people (i.e., are not egoists in the strictest sense of the term), then it seems we have good reasons to care about (and we have obligations to) lots of living people we don't know at least as much as distant descendents we don't know. If biological relatedness is supposed to support your presupposition, it would suggest that we should care less about our adopted children than biological ones, which seems false. And my relatedness to distant descendents gets cut in half each generation, so after enough generations, I'll be less related to them than, perhaps, I am to you! And should we only care about our friends if they are related to us, or if they can pay us back for any care they give us?

The basic point is that, if you don't want to go whole-hog and accept some form of nihilism or amoralism, then it's likely that under just about any moral theory, you have obligations to people other than your (biological) family and your friends. You likely have obligations to future generations too. And if you don't, then I probably don't either, even though I have children.

Ultimately, I am convinced by Sam Scheffler that we need future generations to give meaning to our lives and and our life projects.

See his NYTimes article here for a summary of the arguments from his book, Death and the Afterlife: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/21/the-importance-of-the-afterlife-seriously/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

Is one ever morally justified to beat someone up for making sexist and/or

Is one ever morally justified to beat someone up for making sexist and/or misogynist comments (this is a serious question)?

I can't see how it could be. Beating up someone for making sexist or misogynist comments is using physical violence to punish the commenter. That seems like literally the wrong type of reaction to merely verbal misconduct. (Notice that we don't punish slander or libel that way.) It's something like a category mistake, in addition to being a moral mistake.

Pages