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  • Showing only topics with the tag "ethics". Back to normal view
    1. If you were going to start investing more ethically, how would you go about it?

      Over the past few years, I've become increasingly uncomfortable with continuing to invest in broad market index funds, given the bulk of my money is being invested in industries or companies that...

      Over the past few years, I've become increasingly uncomfortable with continuing to invest in broad market index funds, given the bulk of my money is being invested in industries or companies that actively go against my moral beliefs, e.g. Facebook, Wal-Mart, fossil fuel companies, etc. There are "ethical" index funds, but I've had a hard time finding ones that are broad and fit my beliefs (e.g. Vanguard's ESG funds exclude nuclear energy), but there are ones that are close, so maybe this is a good option. I also could invest in specific companies that fit my goals, but my pool of money is small enough that that would be pretty risky.

      Of course, the caveat of all participation in the stock market is some shade of unethical applies and that my individual choice would be drastically overstated if compared even with a drop in a bucket, but if my goal is to minimize my harm while still growing my savings at a rate slightly above buying bonds, what would you do? Assuming that becoming a landlord is also off the table. Are there ethical investment options you like or participate in? How have you navigated this with regards to your own personal philosophy?

      17 votes
    2. Is sex work bad?

      Prompted by a recent tildes post about vice, and also this from the bbc, and a conversation with a colleague who just went to a strip club, I keep thinking about this issue. I have a stake in...

      Prompted by a recent tildes post about vice, and also this from the bbc, and a conversation with a colleague who just went to a strip club, I keep thinking about this issue.

      I have a stake in this, despite being cis male: I have mother, sisters, wife, and most importantly young daughter. And I am a feminist, on simple moral grounds.

      My baseline position is that whether a woman chooses to engage in sex work is, and should be legally and socially supported as, entirely her own choice.

      The only question I have any business answering, or participating in finding an answer, is whether my patronage of sex work is inherently exploitive, to either the woman whom I am patronizing* or to other women individually or to womanhood and general issues of gender.

      And I just can’t come up with a good answer. I do look at porn, but increasingly, as with meat, the potential ethical problems of it are reducing the enjoyment. I have tried to ease my conscience by limiting myself to cartoons and stories, but those wouldn’t stop the harm that is caused by the mere existence of porn, if any exists.

      As a purely practical matter, the existence of the industry leads to opportunities for exploitation of individuals, and the advancement of a culture of gender exploitation. But as the war on drugs has so ably demonstrated, any attempt at prohibition only increases the level of exploitation, while smart regulation decreases it. Regardless, though, there’s plenty of exploitation to go around the world, I heard there’s thing called #metoo.

      I come from a sex-suppressing, fundamentalist “Christian” background. The quotes are there to indicate that I think much of the practices were anything but christ-like. The principles there swirl through the culture around me in varying degrees of intensity, and they inform and direct my choices (sometimes against my will and my better hopes and ideals). I have to be open to the notion that any objection I have to sex work, or my participation, is entirely a cultural construct. And while I don’t think it is true, I cannot dismiss the notion that morals themselves may have no possible objective existence, having relevance and utility (if at all) only in very time and space limited scopes.

      It is what I believe the sociologists call a “wicked” problem. It involves really complicated normative stances, and there’s no data analysis that can provide any guidance. For myself, I expect my participation to continue to wane as I mature. I only hope that whatever I do only further enables and empowers the women in my life and everywhere.

      • I almost stopped myself from using this word when I realized potential implications, but ultimately left it in because it (and the fact it was my natural inclination to select it) really highlights the issue for me and hopefully others

      Bonus hypothetical: If porn is somehow wrong and harmful, even drawings and writings, are sex fantasies also wrong?

      30 votes
    3. Use This, Not That: Positive Swaps for the New Year

      This is a bit of a sibling topic to the one about changing habits for 2020. Rather than looking at habits specifically, I want to look at "swaps" that people can make. What's something someone...

      This is a bit of a sibling topic to the one about changing habits for 2020. Rather than looking at habits specifically, I want to look at "swaps" that people can make.

      What's something someone could change out for a better alternative?

      A swap should be recommended if it is,

      • more ethical,
      • more sustainable,
      • heathier,
      • or just overall better in an individual or collective way.

      Importantly: the swap should be both feasible and sensical, and should be something that is relatively easy to do. This isn't about making huge lifestyle changes but about taking what we're already doing and making it better.

      Please give your reasoning for your swap, as well as any important caveats. Mentioning specific brands/companies is fine if that's an important part of the swap. Also, swaps can be for anything so don't feel limited to consumer products. Feel free to give good food/service/app/software/store swaps as well!

      See my post below for an example, if the setup I've given here is unclear!

      54 votes
    4. Would you eat lab grown human meat?

      This question popped up between my friends and I when we were discussing the possibilities of lab grown meat. When discussing lab grown meat, one of the arguments for it is that it is far more...

      This question popped up between my friends and I when we were discussing the possibilities of lab grown meat. When discussing lab grown meat, one of the arguments for it is that it is far more ethical to consume as it didn't originate from a living, conscious being. But if you replace the meat being grown in a lab to human meat rather than fish or beef, is it still less ethical? Or is it something that will be seen as incredibly taboo to the point where it should be outlawed?

      I would be curious to read your thoughts and points of view on this!

      For me, it's going to be a hard no that it shouldn't it be done. But to be honest, I feel like my feelings regarding it come from an emotional perspective rather than a logical one.

      Edit: Let's throw in lab grown human organs as well. Say these are the organs that aren't suitable for transplant, but are perfectly edible.

      36 votes
    5. When can lying be a virtue?

      You're with your wife at a party. At your eyes, she looks absolutely stunning. But, with the years, she gained a lot of weight. She asks you: "Honey, does this dress makes me look fat?". And it...
      1. You're with your wife at a party. At your eyes, she looks absolutely stunning. But, with the years, she gained a lot of weight. She asks you: "Honey, does this dress makes me look fat?". And it does. It definitely does. Is lying virtuous in this situation?

      2. You're in a relationship. He's handsome, tender, caring and perfect. You feel a bundle of good feelings towards him, but you don't even know what "love" really is. You don't know the true nature of your sentiments, but you know they're strong and you don't wanna hurt his feelings. He asks if you love him. Saying no would be false. Saying yes would be false too. Is lying virtuous in this situation?

      3. A three-year-old is dying of cancer. He's only got a few days. He asks you if he's gonna live. You say "yes". Is lying virtuous in this situation?

      4. Your fellow soldier lost his legs and torso. He's bleeding through his mouth and high on morphine. He asks you if everything's gonna be okay. You say yes. Is lying virtuous in this situation?

      5. You've been married for 5 years and, after some problems, you decide to take a real break (not like Ross and Rachael). During this break, you have sex with several woman/men. You decide to resume the relationship, but you know your partner would not be able to deal with your sexual adventures. When he/she ask about it, you say you didn't see anyone in the time you were apart. Is lying virtuous in this situation?

      6. You know the project is dead. You also know that saying so will have absolutely no effect on its direction. Do you say the project is shit, or do you say it's got a shot just to save face? In that case, is there any virtue in telling the truth?

      7. You believe A is true, but you also know that declaring A right now will lead to unfavorable result C. Do you declare A right now, or do you wait to declare it when it will lead to favorable result D? This guy knows what I'm talking about...

      12 votes
    6. Inside the Ethics Committee

      Inside the Ethics Committee is a BBC Radio 4 programme. They describe it like this: Joan Bakewell is joined by a panel of experts to wrestle with the ethics arising from a real-life medical case....

      Inside the Ethics Committee is a BBC Radio 4 programme. They describe it like this:

      Joan Bakewell is joined by a panel of experts to wrestle with the ethics arising from a real-life medical case.

      Each episode is chaired by Bakewell, with a range of different experts (who all sit on hospital ethics committees), talking about the ethical difficulties faced by healthcare professionals (and the organisations they work for) in different real life cases.

      Some of it hasn't aged very well - there's an episode about HIV testing an unconscious patient after a needle-stick injury. With advances in treatment and reductions in stigma I think would have made it a very different programme today.

      But most of it is pretty good, and explains in detail how some decisions are made.

      For example: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0643x61

      Ashley is 14 years old when doctors discover a brain tumour. Tests reveal that it's highly treatable; there's a 95% chance of cure if he has a course of radiotherapy.

      Ashley begins the treatment but he has to wear a mask which makes him very anxious and the radiotherapy itself makes him sick. He finds it increasingly difficult to bear and he starts to miss his sessions.

      Despite patchy treatment Ashley's cancer goes into remission. He and his mother are thrilled but a routine follow-up scan a few months later shows that the cancer has returned.

      Ashley is adamant that he will not have the chemotherapy that is recommended this time. He threatens that he will run away if treatment is forced on him. Although Ashley is only 15 he is 6'2" and restraining him would not be easy.

      Should the medical team and his mother persuade him to have the chemotherapy? Or should they accept his decision, even though he is only 15?

      5 votes
    7. The Trolley Problem

      An interesting thought experiment that I vividly remember from undergrad philosophy courses is the trolley problem: You see a runaway trolley moving toward five tied-up (or otherwise...

      An interesting thought experiment that I vividly remember from undergrad philosophy courses is the trolley problem:

      You see a runaway trolley moving toward five tied-up (or otherwise incapacitated) people lying on the main track. You are standing next to a lever that controls a switch. If you pull the lever, the trolley will be redirected onto a side track, and the five people on the main track will be saved. However, there is a single person lying on the side track. You have two options:

      1. Do nothing and allow the trolley to kill the five people on the main track.
      2. Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.

      A variation of the problem that we were also presented with was:

      You see a runaway trolley moving toward five tied-up (or otherwise incapacitated) people lying on the main track. You are standing on a bridge that runs across the trolley tracks. There is a large man on the bridge next to you, who if pushed over the bridge and onto the track, would safely stop the trolley, saving the five people but killing the large man. Do you:

      1. Push the man over the bridge, saving the five people.
      2. Allow the trolley to kill the five people

      Which is the more ethical options? Or, more simply: What is the right thing to do?

      17 votes
    8. Clothing - linen, merino, cotton, polyester?

      I personally am not a big clothes shopper, I pretty much replace underwear/socks when they break or I lose them, and once per year, I buy some clothes. Yesterday I bought my first linen T-shirt....

      I personally am not a big clothes shopper, I pretty much replace underwear/socks when they break or I lose them, and once per year, I buy some clothes. Yesterday I bought my first linen T-shirt. And it feels so airy and comfy, it's amazing and not itchy. What do you guys prefer to wear?
      Where do you guys source your clothes, also in regard to ethics - no child labor. I guess second-hand clothes are the best in that regard?
      Does anyone here feel strongly about a specific material? I heard merino is supposed to feel amazing, but the price tag keeps me from getting a shirt haha.

      11 votes
    9. What are good, modern right-wing values anyways?

      I'm in too much of a left-wing echo chamber, to the point where anything conservative or right wing appears to be 'evil' or not necessarily purely right-wing. For example, conservatives generally...

      I'm in too much of a left-wing echo chamber, to the point where anything conservative or right wing appears to be 'evil' or not necessarily purely right-wing. For example, conservatives generally promote family values and the family as the foundational unit of a society. But this too often gets grouped together with same/opposite sex marriage arguments. Another point is small government, but that often manifests in deregulation in areas where regulation is now necessary (e.g. environment).

      So, what does it mean to be an ethical right-winger today and in the next decade?

      40 votes