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  • Showing only topics with the tag "ethics". Back to normal view
    1. 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
    2. 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
    3. 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
    4. 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
    5. 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
    6. 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
    7. My country decided that animal sacrifice in the name of religion is constitutional.

      Another person said that s(he) can't form an opinion because s(he) eats meat, and it is almost the same thing. She feels it's wrong, but at the same time thinks it's prejudice against some...

      Another person said that s(he) can't form an opinion because s(he) eats meat, and it is almost the same thing. She feels it's wrong, but at the same time thinks it's prejudice against some religions if we are worried about a couple of animals and continue to kill millions just to eat.

      I can agree and disagree with this point, but one thing being wrong doesn't give a pass to other things.

      But if we agree that it's constitutional to sacrifice animals, then what certain religions do to women (or any person) should be at the same level.

      That's why i disagree at the end. It shouldn't be allowed, period.

      The animal being sacrificed didn't chose to be there, nor the human being mistreated.

      What are your opinions? Can someone point what i'm thinking wrong here?

      PS: Sorry for my poor wording because english is not my first language. I wanted to know the opinion here about morals or what is right or wrong, not the law itself. Of course that any discussion on that is welcome too.

      25 votes
    8. Why is it becoming increasingly more wrong to kill animals for food?

      Probably in the majority of history people used to hunt, or kill farm animals for food without a second thought. But in the recent years it looks like the public opinion is shifting in a way when...

      Probably in the majority of history people used to hunt, or kill farm animals for food without a second thought. But in the recent years it looks like the public opinion is shifting in a way when perception of eating meat is kinda like perception of homophobia or racism. Arguments against eating meat and for preserving farm animal lives are actively upvoted, and with this tendency being non vegetarian is already becoming "uncool" and eventually will be frowned upon, like littering.

      Is that because hardcore vegetarians and animal rights activists got their voices spread in social media? Or it's mostly an environmental problem, particularly with large farm animals? Or humans are quickly becoming better, more civilized? If so, why meat eating is such a high priority issue to address when issues of people to people interactions are still far from being solved?

      23 votes
    9. What are some ways to be a more ethical consumer?

      This is a broad question, but I don't really want to narrow it down because I feel like we see unethical issues across so many industries. I want to be able to buy clothes knowing that I'm not...

      This is a broad question, but I don't really want to narrow it down because I feel like we see unethical issues across so many industries. I want to be able to buy clothes knowing that I'm not supporting child/slave labor just as I want to be able to buy a videogame knowing that the people who created it had time to go home to their families each night. And if the clothes were made with child labor and the game did have a horrible development crunch? Well, those aren't places I want to put my money, even if I'm interested in the product.

      Price and convenience used to be the kings of my spending habits, and I was solely interested in products on my own terms. I have no doubt that I have bought many items that have supported the suffering of others. Now, I am much more concerned with a product as it exists in context, and I'm willing to pay more for companies that do things "right." The problem is that this context isn't always available. Most companies are not exactly upfront with their shady practices, after all. How do I know if, say, the bluetooth speaker, quinoa, or dinnerware that I'm looking at was responsibly produced?

      What are some ways can I make more informed decisions about what I choose to buy so that I can lessen harm (be it personal, environmental, or otherwise)?

      How can I find out which companies support practices that are in line with my values? If anyone has any insight into particular industries, that would be especially valuable.

      10 votes
    10. Debate: When is euthanasia acceptable? Where do we draw the line ethically?

      I recall recently seeing an article posted that was related to euthanasia, and I started thinking about the subject. I see both potential pros and potential cons associated with it. For example,...

      I recall recently seeing an article posted that was related to euthanasia, and I started thinking about the subject. I see both potential pros and potential cons associated with it. For example, there's the concern about family members or authority pressuring an ill person to opt for doctor-assisted suicide to ease financial burdens, for instance. There's also the benefit, on the other hand, of allowing someone who is terminally ill or guaranteed to live the rest of their life in excruciating pain the option to go out on their own terms. With proper oversight and ethical considerations, it generally seems to be an all-around ideal to provide an "opt-out" for those who would only continue to suffer and would rather not prolong it, as a merciful alternative to forcing them to live it out.

      But then there are some trickier questions.

      As a disclaimer, I spent nearly a couple of decades struggling through depression and have been surrounded (and still am surrounded) by people who struggle with their own mental illnesses. Because of this, I'm perfectly aware of the stigma and subpar treatment of mental illness in general. With that in mind, I completely recognize that there are certain conditions which are, at this time, completely untreatable and result in peoples' quality of life deteriorating to the point that they become perpetually miserable, particularly with certain neurodegenerative diseases.

      Thus, the question occurred to me: wouldn't such a condition be the mental health equivalent of a terminal illness? Would it not be unethical to force someone to continue living under conditions in which their quality of life will only diminish? Shouldn't someone who has such a condition, and is either of sound enough mind or with a written statement of their wishes from a time when they were of sound enough mind, be able to make the same decision about whether or not to opt to go out on their own terms?

      And yet, as reasonable as it sounds, for some reason the thought of it feels wrong.

      Is there something fundamentally more wrong about euthanasia for mental health vs. euthanasia for physical health? Is it just a culturally-learned ideal?

      More importantly, what makes euthanasia acceptable in some cases and not others? Which cases do you think exemplify the divide? Is there something more fundamental that we can latch onto? Is there a clear line we can draw? Is psychology itself just too young a field for us to be drawing that ethical line?

      I'm genuinely not sure how to feel about this subject. I would be interested in hearing some other thoughts on the subject. The questions above don't necessarily have to be answered, but I thought they could be good priming points.

      24 votes
    11. Do you think "incivility" can be used as a tool for positive change?

      I have been reading a lot of the articles on uncivility. A big complaint is politicians don't like the power it gives people. Which I understand can be bad, but it also seems like for the first...

      I have been reading a lot of the articles on uncivility. A big complaint is politicians don't like the power it gives people. Which I understand can be bad, but it also seems like for the first time in a long time, the average person has a way to impact these high powered politicians. Ordinarily there is nothing we can do, we can't touch them when they continually do things not in the best interest of the people they represent. They do shady things, and we have to go with it.

      They are arguing uncivility is dangerous because it creates the problem of officials being scared to make decisions based on how they will be impacted. If a judge rules one way, and the masses start making his life hard, they say it isn't really fair to the judge. Which makes sense.

      This is the information age. We have access to so much more going on than adults did before us. We actually have platforms to be heard on a large scale. Which means pressuring these people to do right through "uncivility" could be harnessed and used positively to enforce change. If the people making these decisions that are not in our best interest have something to lose, maybe they will finally start doing right by us.

      What are your thoughts on this aspect of the uncivility debate going on right now?

      16 votes
    12. Today I finally beat being a digital pirate despite having to jump a big hurdle

      The book Code Complete changed me as a programmer and as a person. It is the best book I have ever read and if you're a programmer I highly recommend you read it. The book was so good that after...

      The book Code Complete changed me as a programmer and as a person. It is the best book I have ever read and if you're a programmer I highly recommend you read it.

      The book was so good that after having read the pirated version of it I just had to give the author its money's worth. The problem was that almost nobody sells a PDF version of the book - Amazon sells it as a Kindle book, but I prefer PDFs (can use my chioce of software to read it). After searching for a short week I finally found a seller that sells a PDF version. I have never been so happy to find a legal PDF version of a book. Having been a pirate in my teens I'm proud of having gone to such lengths to the right thing. That's all. Just wanted to share this with you.

      TL;DR: Instead of pirating a book because I didn't find a legal PDF version spent time searching for a seller and bought it legally.

      25 votes