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Ethical Philosophy Selector
These questions reflect the dilemmas that have captured the attention of history's most significant ethical philosophers. Answer the questions as best you can. When you've finished answering the questions, press "Show My Results" to generate your customized match of ethical philosophers/philosophies. The list orders the philosophers/philosophies according to their compatibility with your expressed opinions on ethics. Click on a philosopher/philosophy to see a summary and links. We hope you enjoy this selector and we encourage your further philosophical explorations.

1. MORAL STATEMENTS. Moral statements are primarily:
statements of fact or truth (e.g. "Murder is wrong" means "It is a fact that murder is wrong").
statements of the speaker's desire/emotion/opinion? (e.g. "Murder is wrong" means "I hate murder").
statements of command (e.g. "Murder is wrong" means "I say: don't murder".
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2. PURPOSE TO LIFE. Does each person have a moral purpose/morally ideal way to live?
Yes, the ideal life exists outside of one's preferences and is the same for all people.
Yes, but the way to live in order to meet that purpose is unique for each individual.
Yes, but following moral law is the only standard that a person must meet.
No, yet there are ways to act that are inherently more conducive to the self-interest of the person who is acting.
No, yet there are logically consistent ways to act and logically inconsistent ways to act.
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3. PROPER ORIGIN OF MORALITY. Where does the proper distinction between "good" and "bad" come from?
A moral realm that is completely unique, transcendent.
Every individual, through their choice to pursue that which they desire.
God's will.
From holistic forces of the universe (may involve divine power or not).
Human nature, with the natural interests of people.
Human intellect, with the natural capabilities of human thought.
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4. SOCIETAL INFLUENCE. Must a person be coerced/ influenced at some level by societal powers in order to live morally/virtuously?
Yes, people will be good only when ruling forces of society use the power of force to make them be as such.
Yes, people will try to be good when they have knowledge of the virtuous life, but societal guidance and reinforcement is necessary.
Sort of, society doesn't have to coerce a person to find morality, but the interest/rights of others in society must conveyed to a person in order for that person to determine right from wrong.
No, society should be not be an influence on a person when one is trying to find virtue.
No, society must be physically abandoned in all its forms in order to find virtue.
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5. VIRTUOUS LIFE. To be virtuous/live morally, we should primarily make moral distinctions according to:
our passions, desires, and sentiment.
our reasoning that is used to achieve our will.
our inherent knowledge (what we know without experimentation).
our empirical knowledge (what we know with experimentation).
our intellect in general, but not to achieve desires.
religious revelation and spiritual reflection.
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6. HAPPINESS. Will using morality properly necessarily result in maximization of our own happiness?
Yes, for the most part, at least.
No, not necessarily. The two are quite unconnected.
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7. UNIVERSAL LAW. Should I act as if the maxim (principle) with which I act were to become the universal law for all rational people?
Yes, and any deviation from this rule is wrong.
Yes, but in a very loose manner, evaluating the unique specifics of the situation is essential.
No, there is a consistent morality that applies to all, but their methods may differ greatly.
No, one's own actions are not morally equivalent to the actions of others.
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8. END, MEANS, INTENT: Which is the most important, morally?
The intent (the choice to do something or the will).
The means (the way something is done).
The ends (the results from the action).
None of them are significantly more important than the others.
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9. INDIVIDUAL & OTHERS. Is the self-pleasure or self-preservation of the individual ever in conflict with the same type of interests of others?
No, and virtuous living is consistently beneficial to the individual and the community.
Yes, and it is wrong to be selfish, one should lean towards benevolence.
Yes, and neither the interest of own self nor the interest of the other is more important.
Yes, and acting in one's own self-interest is fine.
Yes, and acting in one's own self-interest is morally essential.
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10. LIBERTY. Would it be ideal to maximize pleasure for all people even at the cost of liberty for some?
Yes
No, we all need liberty.
No, maximization of well-being of all people has nothing to do with morality.
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11. ASCETIC LIFE. Is ascetic living (simple life with a minimum of physical comforts) conducive to being virtuous?
Yes, it is essential to live this way.
Pretty much, but it isn't particularly essential to live this way.
No, physical comforts are fine, they may even be rewarding.
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12. CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. Which best characterizes your view of the death penalty.
Support capital punishment.
Oppose capital punishment.
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13. VIRTUOUS PERSON. A virtuous person can be described best as:
Strong, powerful and passionate.
Strong, powerful and rational.
Humble, restrained and spiritual.
Humble, restrained and rational.
Caring and loving.
Concerned with others, yet very rational.
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14. MAN'S LAWS. What should our legal system be based upon?
Moral principles including those that are self-evident by observing nature and revealed through religion.
Achieving the greatest good for the greatest number of people. That is maximizing the positives and reducing the negatives.
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15. FREE WILL: Do we have it and to what extent?
There is no free will. Our fate is already determined. God(s) or circumstances already decreed the future.
We have free will, but God knew beforehand what we'd do.
We have some free will, inasmuch as we can take certain voluntary actions. However there are involuntary actions that are beyond our control.
We have total free will.
Our free will may at times be an illusion, but we should act as if it is within our control.
Free will exists only when we have control over materialism, bodily sensations and worldly matters.
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16. A MORAL DILEMMA: You see from a bit of a distance that an out-of-control trolley is fast headingtoward a group of five people working on the trolley tracks. They all see it coming, but they are tooloaded down with equipment to get out of the way. On a length of track forking off from the one thetrolley and five people are on, there is a single worker who is also loaded down with gear and unablemove. You didn't have anything to do with the trolley becoming out of control, but you realize that youhappen to be right next to a “switch tracks” lever that you could pull in order to re-route the trolley fromthe track that the five are on to the track that only one person is on. What should you do?
Re-route the trolley so that it will avoid the group of five and instead strike the single individual. Many deaths is worse than one.
Don't pull the lever. You would be killing the one person as a way to save the others; that means using that one person as a means to an end.
The best choice is the one that a person of good moral character would make. Being ethical is not about following a formula for moral decision-making that tells us how to act in various situations. Being ethical involves cultivating virtues and good character throughout life.
There are no pre-existing moral guidelines that determine how we must act in this situation. We are forced to create our moral values through our choices, and we have no choice but to make choices.
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Posted 17 Sep 2013 by: powell-ashley2
Pretty close from what I can tell.
See zphi564's top result
Posted 19 Jun 2013 by: zphi564
Very interesting. I have always admired St. Augus
See bishoptatro's top result
Posted 15 Apr 2013 by: bishoptatro
Some people would persue that liberty in total dis
Posted 08 Aug 2012 by: nyataige
Helped me to start discovering myself
See nyataige's top result
Posted 07 Aug 2012 by: nyataige

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