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Ethics: why should I care?


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If I can get away with unethical experiments, have no moral compass, and advance my knowledge and understanding of the world, why should I bother with ethical considerations?

 

Furthermore if I proceed and discover new and relevant information are other researchers ethically obliged not to use the knowledge I've obtained unethically?

 

For instance if a bunch of people were tortured and killed in a basement while testing the effects of a drug that could cure cancer and other diseases, is the medical community ethically obligated not to read my findings after my arrest so as to not symbolically condone unethical behaviour?

 

 

Also this is on a highly irrelevant, almost completely tangential side not but how many bodies do you have to have before it counts as "murder"?

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The core issue here is the "use" of ethics and experiments. If your experiments lead to a positive outcome you can always argue of the unethical methods involved condone the outcome, however if the experiments lead to potential negative outcomes then the ethics go against the human condition.

 

For example do human ethics keep up with scientific advances? If we make a scientific breakthrough that can be used unethically and the person with this knowledge isnt ethical then its a detriment to humanity not a contribution.

 

From a political view nuclear power is a good example of this scientific advancement having the potential to be detrimental to humanity.

From a sociological view computers and social networks are a good example of how technology can be detrimental to socialising.

From a psychological view, desensitisation through different mediums can be detrimental to the human condition.

 

All of these come from scientific and technological advancements in which the human ethics may not have caught up.

Edited by DevilSolution
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Also this is on a highly irrelevant, almost completely tangential side not but how many bodies do you have to have before it counts as "murder"?

Murder is a legal definition. One body is enough for it to be considered murder, but just because you kill someone doesn't make it murder in the legal sense.

 

On the other part of your topic, there is a distinction between the utility of the research results and condoning the method in which those results were obtained. Many early anatomists were also grave robbers - it was the only way they could get the cadavers they needed to study. So while we don't necessarily condone stealing buried bodies, it's hard to say we'll ignore all the lessons we learned from them.

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I don't think there is any single reason for ethical behavior. Here are a few that I could come up with.

 

Ethics is rational. The only ethically devoid conduct might be egoism, acting in one's own interest, but even egoism isn't straightforward because we and our interests are ever changing and the self may be an illusion (see split-brain studies; dissociative identity disorder). If egoistic conduct isn't rational, then perhaps some kind of ethical conduct is. Even if you appeal to inherently good or bad mental states for egoism, you can easily fall prey to utilitarian ethical thinking instead, and one can formulate all sorts of rules of conduct on utilitarian grounds.

 

Ethics is about cooperation. We all agree to behave ethically toward one another, and this makes life easier for each of us. We each abide because we want others to abide as well. Ethicists could be seen as impartial arbitrators who interpret, elaborate, and apply these rules that we've agreed to abide by.

 

Ethics is about persuasion. Although this isn't a reason for being ethical, it may be a reason for keeping ethicists and other philosophers around. Sometimes it's useful to persuade others out of some action, especially highly destructive actions.

Edited by MonDie
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  • 8 months later...

If I can get away with unethical experiments, have no moral compass, and advance my knowledge and understanding of the world, why should I bother with ethical considerations?

 

Furthermore if I proceed and discover new and relevant information are other researchers ethically obliged not to use the knowledge I've obtained unethically?

 

For instance if a bunch of people were tortured and killed in a basement while testing the effects of a drug that could cure cancer and other diseases, is the medical community ethically obligated not to read my findings after my arrest so as to not symbolically condone unethical behaviour?

 

 

Also this is on a highly irrelevant, almost completely tangential side not but how many bodies do you have to have before it counts as "murder"?

you should bother because you should think about keeping the world fair. why would you have the right to do this without consequences and nobody elce. that isn't fair, someone can find cancer treatments and other cures faster in the basement by torturing bodies but for some reason you think you have the right to do it without consequences, someone will do the same thing get caught and have to suffer the consequences. its not fair for you to do one bad thing and get away with it otherwise i should be able to do a bad thing and get away with it. what do you mean how many bodies do you have to have before its murder? killing one body is murder.

Edited by Lyudmilascience
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I think it amounts to not negotiating with terrorists.

 

Once the policy is set the potential damage from future crime becomes the greater concern.

 

Besides, once it is known that a cure for cancer is possible, then finding it again becomes so much easier because you have removed all doubt about finding it eventually.

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