Why aren't ethicists better people?



It’s unethical!


Sadly, this topic makes my blood boil once again over my blemish to my perfect A average in my Philosophy major - you guessed it, Ethics.

So, the story is, the Ethics professor was drunk for most of all of our 10 a.m. classes. I heard the same lecture from him time and time again (tldr: some things are differences in opinion the way some people like chocolate and others vanilla). A grad student graded the papers that year. After the semester was over, the prof’s peers got him into rehab (he did have a very good reason to be good and stewed). No one thought to right the wrong to the students who got screwed that semester though.


Someone has issues with authority.

I would point out that I don’t think I said anything about anyone’s diet, so if someone wants to threadjack this whole discussion into a debate a veganism, the responsibility is theirs.


Where’s the part about diet? Why must you ignore the topic and the moderator?


I’ve never read Animal Liberation, but I did watch this video of him recently:

…and I think you’re misrepresenting his argument. He doesn’t advocate medical testing on disabled people, he just uses such testing to compare with similar treatment of animals (i.e. he thinks they may be, to some degree at least, equivalent). He doesn’t think we should be doing either, aside from certain hypothetical situations where they may be justified (similar to the standard ethical trolley dilemma) - in ethical discussions lots of things are talked about because they are logical consequences of certain stated positions, it doesn’t mean the person is actually advocating something explicitly, or would personally go along with such a thing in real life.

Personally I think his argument overall is pretty unassailable, unless you’ve got some religious doctrine to contradict it there isn’t really a good argument against it (not that I would really consider a religious argument much use either), but I’m still an avid meat-eater.

I’m not sure what Cory’s point is in this post, is he saying this dissonant attitude is good or bad? It obviously doesn’t invalidate the logic of the arguments, but if all it does it paint the people in question as immoral then you won’t get much argument from the ethicists either.


? I didn’t ignore the moderator. I’m not bickering or arguing or anything. I only juxtaposed a few comments that already appeared here because I thought the juxtaposition was interesting. And, in fact, I already requested a delete for that comment since it literally had all been said before.

Why are you so insistent on trying to pick a fight?


Yeah, the Greek gods were explicitly and very seriously NOT aspirational. You weren’t supposed to act like Zeus or be like Hermes or try to ask What Would Apollo Do? That’s hubris - that’s the kind of thing people get cursed and transmuted for.

Mortals or demi-mortals like Achilles or Odysseus I think filled that aspirational position. And even the best of those heroes were flawed in some way. Odysseus was praiseworthy for his cunning, but he was unquestionably also a dick sometimes. Herakles was strong and brave, but reckless and violent. Poor Oedipus never knew when to stop asking questions.

Who we choose as moral leaders - and how we acknowledge or erase their failings - says a lot about us as a society, I think!


The only obvious difference between these two groups of people is time. The former group has had their myths distorted over thousands of years. Going even more recently than your latter group, do we really know even with contemporary politicians, celebrities, preachers, scientists, etc - who they really are as people? That’s why it’s called the media, because it defines a separation between those who consume it, and those who are represented.

[quote=“Dead Kennedys”]In lonely gas stations with mini-marts
You’ll find rows of them for sale
Liquor-filled statues of Elvis Presley
Screw his head off and drink like a vampire
His disciples flock to such a fitting shrine
Sprawled across from his ghastly mansion
A shopping mall filled with prayer rugs and Elvis dolls
And I wonder - yeah, I wonder
Will Elvis take the place of Jesus in a thousand years?
Religious wars, barbaric laws
Bloodshed worldwide over what’s left of His myth


Time erodes all nuance, fo sho!




I really need a time machine so I can go back in time and warn myself that if I read that book people will be personally offended 30 years in the future.

Still if that’s a “tactic,” it’s pretty damned shrewd to have preemptively annoyed you 30 years ahead of time, even without the time machine.


I voted for Chris Coons because he was the least worst choice, and I was hoping that a man with a degree in ethics might do a better job. Sadly, his behavior in office has not been notably more ethical than average.

Oh, well, at least having a short and unrepentantly bald guy in the Senate adds a tiny smidge of diversity.


you’ve posted a picture of some anti-semitic propaganda in order to make Singer look bad, because he wrote “a couple pages” about “the Jews”. that’s your tactic, not sure what the past has to do with anything. your previous accusation against him doesn’t seem to hold any water, and unless you can provide a bit more about his views on “the Jews”, then this one doesn’t seem to either.


Which ethicist is scummy?

The one who says meat is immoral, then has a burger and publicly admits they’re not perfectly moral.

The one who says meat is immoral, then has a salad on campus and a burger at home.

Or the one who says meat is moral so they can eat a burger guilt free?


This is where most work on behavior falls apart. Because it is based upon the normative, where “health” is based upon the opinions of those around one. Thinking you know better, regardless of evidence, can be seen as “maladaptive”.

In physical medicine, people tend to use optimal models, encouraging people to be as healthy as they possibly can. The normative approach to behavior started with the ancient proposal of the mind/body split, and has persisted for so long probably due to the increased complexity and difficulty in observing cognition compared to other physical processes. So now, thousands of years on, much of our ethics tend to be a contradictory jumble, based upon fashions in thinking about thinking.


You left an entry out of your truth table, Holmes.


I don’t think the intent was to imply that anyone who considers meat to be moral does so only to be able to eat it guilt free. I think the intent was just to contrast three particularly interesting cases.

In the case where the ethicist argues that meat is moral on a sound basis and then goes to eat a burger, there’s no grounds for accusing the ethicist of hypocrisy. I think @aluchko’s scenarios were all supposed to be cases where the ethicist could be accused of hypocrisy.


A lot of people are pictures of integrity until they get the chance to sell out. For instance John Stossel used to be an award winning consumer reporter before he went to Fox, and now he phones in lazy stories along the lines of how the homeless are a vast conspiracy to undermine America. Of course, we’ll never know how low I’d be willing to sink for the money he makes.


Your memory is faulty on this matter, John Stossel was willing to substitute opinion and misrepresentations for fact well before making the natural move over to Fox.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/John_Stossel & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stossel#Criticism_and_controversy