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How to respond to Mars exploration vs feed the hungry?

Today, I was enthusing about a photograph from the surface of Mars, and a friend responded along the following lines: "I find it hard to get excited about it when there are so many starving people here on Earth. We should fix our own problems before exploring other planets." How could I have responded? [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jun 13, 2014 - 39 answers

There must be a schadenfreude-adjacent word for this!

There's got to be a word or phrase for when someone chooses to sympathise with or prioritize the pain and suffering of a perpetrator over their victims. It's not "victim-blaming" which is about making a judgement of fault or cause of the act itself to reduce the level of the crime, but where people put the weight of their attention and efforts towards the perpetrator and there is comparatively little for the victims. I'm especially interested in a phrase or ethical/theological concept that addresses the hypocrisy of this, where this sympathy to the perp is viewed as a Great Moral Kindness in rehabilitating the sinner while refusing to acknowledge that that effort comes at the cost of further silencing and refusing voice, aid and power to the victims.
posted by viggorlijah on Jun 12, 2014 - 25 answers

Is it ethical to shop wholesale for my own use?

There's a way I could, legally and within the rules, shop wholesale - even though the purchases wouldn't really be for my business. Do you think this is okay, MeFi? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jun 2, 2014 - 41 answers

When should you inquire about the academic rigor of research?

A few weeks ago I saw this FPP and found it to be very enlightening. Since then I was exposed to some similar but much lesser academic work and found questionable references in it. My issue - should I just drop it or do something more substantial? [more inside]
posted by vonstadler on May 31, 2014 - 4 answers

Help me choose a MBA research paper topic - due in two weeks...

What is the best topic with lots of reference material that deals in International Business Ethics? Something like a review on international bribery or the sale of vaccines or baby formula for profit. I'm looking for the topic that will be the easiest to write because there is so much reference material available. [more inside]
posted by bbqturtle on Apr 6, 2014 - 13 answers

Have I been plagiarized? If so, what do I do?

I wrote a lengthy scholarly article last year, put a preprint of it on my university's institutional repository, and thought no more about it. In January this year, a British journalist published a piece of popular military history with a major British trade press that appears to contain about 6 pages of very, very close summary and paraphrase of my article. What to do? [more inside]
posted by Sonny Jim on Mar 4, 2014 - 11 answers

1,000's of fishes

How many fish are killed for every fish oil pill I consume? [more inside]
posted by spbmp on Feb 24, 2014 - 10 answers

How does one get to become an ethics professional?

I'm wondering how people get into the field of ethics? Are they lawyers? Are they chosen (in much the same way that judges are) for their moral standards and good reputations? [more inside]
posted by flyingfork on Feb 21, 2014 - 13 answers

Too Close For My Comfort

Ethics and friendship filter. Help me find the courage to tell my friend that this introvert is not going to stay in a single hotel room with two double beds and three non related people. It's already been advanced booked and I'm expected to pay my share. [more inside]
posted by Xurando on Jan 21, 2014 - 27 answers

She is my psychiatrist. She told me she is bi-polar. Now what?

How did you react when your psychiatrist disclosed their own mental illness to you during a session? Have any other mefites had this experience or heard of it? During my 4th consultation (over 6 weeks) with a psychiatrist who is treating me she sort of casually disclosed that she herself suffers from bi-polar disorder and that she has in fact been hospitalised 3 times in the last 12 months due to it. [more inside]
posted by evil_esto on Jan 15, 2014 - 39 answers

"How could I bring a child into this world?" The climate change edition.

Many people I know who aren't global warming skeptics are still planning to procreate. Though I might like to have a kid someday, the thought of their future quality of life strikes me as a potentially decisive ethical objection to it. While I've seen plenty of arguments against procreation that deal with the ethics of creating more consumers, that issue is distinct from the ethics of creating new sufferers. Can you point me to any well-reasoned arguments--whether yours or something you've seen, on either side of the issue--that deal with the ethics of choosing to bring children into a hotter world? [more inside]
posted by Beardman on Jan 3, 2014 - 41 answers

Find this essay!

In the 70's (I think) there was an essay written on meat-eating that argues that the animals we eat exist because we bred them for eating and if they are raised humanely then they have had a life which they would not have had. The author might have been Annie Dillard, John Ashbery, or Wendell Berry. I just would like to find this specific essay. Please do not turn this into a discussion of the rightness or wrongness of the premise.
posted by agatha_magatha on Dec 31, 2013 - 3 answers

Is this unethical doctor behavior?

Sorry in advance for the moderate dose of TMI... if IUDs and lady doctors eek you out, read no further. [more inside]
posted by qzar on Dec 10, 2013 - 52 answers

how much detail need one give about their sexual history?

In my past, I was very experimental. Now I'm wondering how much of that I'm obligated to tell my SO. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Dec 9, 2013 - 48 answers

Naked Lunch

Philosophical persectives on slaughtering animals for food required. Help me work through unexpected questioning? [more inside]
posted by Caskeum on Nov 19, 2013 - 23 answers

What sci fi story had an assistant trapped in a prof's simluation?

I remember reading a seminal short story notable for raising ethical issues about simulated consciousness, but I can't recall the title or author. I believe a group of researchers were trapped in the simulation, being used to draft papers for the Professor. [more inside]
posted by brownbat on Nov 16, 2013 - 7 answers

How do I invest according to my ethics?

How can I find mutual funds to invest in that are inline with my ethics? For example I am vegan, liberal, pro-choice, feminist, not anti-gay, etc. To that end I'd like to not have companies that test on animals, engage in discrimination, are part of war effort, etc. Looking in my mutual funds there are some companies that I don't know about, and some that are sketchy like tobacco companies. [more inside]
posted by ridogi on Nov 15, 2013 - 8 answers

Do doctors actually tell their patients they "cannot have children"?

In my life I've heard a number of stories from women who claim to have been told they could not have children... who then proceed to have children without intervention. Sometimes, this is an extremely welcome development, other times, very much the opposite. Saying something like "you will not be able to have children" with such certainty seems like an extremely irresponsible thing for a medical professional to say to a patient and so I have a bit of a hard time believing that doctors say it, at least in any case where it is at least physically possible for someone to conceive. [more inside]
posted by Feel the beat of the rhythm of the night on Nov 15, 2013 - 46 answers

Game Show Blues

I'm scheduled to appear on a game show and I just found out that a guy I went to high school with years ago used to work for that particular game show, but no longer does. I think this might disqualify me and I'm Not sure what to do. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 12, 2013 - 13 answers

How can I eat more ethically?

I'm not ready to become a vegetarian yet, but I would like to eat more ethically. What meat products are the worst to consume from an ethical standpoint? What are the most ethical to consume? [more inside]
posted by helloimjohnnycash on Oct 8, 2013 - 40 answers

What should I say?

I'm a nurse. Recently, a police officer approached me at work to ask me some questions about a patient. I discussed the issue with my supervisor who clarified my hospital policy on talking to the police, but how do I figure out my personal legal and moral obligations around this? [more inside]
posted by latkes on Sep 25, 2013 - 21 answers

Guerrilla art ethics.

When (if ever) is it appropriate to take a piece of guerrilla art down and keep it? [more inside]
posted by kaseijin on Sep 19, 2013 - 19 answers

How to respond to someone else's quest to find their sperm donor?

Asking for a friend. In a nutshell: My friend has been contacted by at least two different people seeking to identify their biological father, a sperm donor. My friend has enough information to make an educated guess about the identity of the sperm donor. How should he proceed? [more inside]
posted by Orinda on Sep 16, 2013 - 9 answers

How To Encourage My Wife To Have Sex With Other Men

Over the past few weeks, at my suggestion, my wife has taken up exchanging highly sexual emails and chat sessions with other men. This is a turn-on for us both, and our sex life has benefited enormously from the habit. In conversation, when I suggest that she could move onto IRL sex, her reactions vacillate between,"I don't think I could do that", and "I don't know who we'd ask...maybe we should take out an ad?" The most revealing thing she's said is that a part of her feels like she owes it to herself to take a chance on doing this. So my questions are: how do I encourage her to go through with it, without the encouragement crossing into "pressure". And secondly: given that we're both introverts with very small social circles, where do we find, and how do we approach, interesting guys for her to sleep with?
posted by anonymous on Sep 10, 2013 - 29 answers

What are the journalistic best practices for indie blogs?

I run a small blog (three part-time people, all editorial) in an industry known for having a cozy relationship between press and marketers (fashion). I didn't go to J school and never expected to be a journalist. Is there a useful best practices / ethics guide for folks in my position? [more inside]
posted by YoungAmerican on Aug 28, 2013 - 10 answers

Help me find a webcomic equating unethical behavior with climbing stairs

I'm trying to find an old webcomic I read years ago, possibly linked from metafilter. I remember that it was a really text heavy comic (large walls of text in speech bubbles). It made an analogy between committing immoral acts and climbing stairs. You don't just do evil things outright, you bend what is acceptable to you a little bit at a time, like climbing stairs one step at a time. I also think the webcomic overall had a feminist theme.
posted by fingo on Aug 15, 2013 - 3 answers

This might be illegal. We might be over reacting.

Help us determine if we're over reacting to a company paying at-risk adults below minimum wage because they can. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Aug 1, 2013 - 27 answers

I am planning to leave my boyfriend ... in 30 months time...

Is it immoral or unethical to stay in a relationship just long enough to get into a situation where I can leave? [more inside]
posted by the fish formerly known as sarcastic fringehead on Jul 19, 2013 - 55 answers

Articles about digital photo manipulation and ethics

Hi, I am curious about how photographers view the ethics of digital manipulation. Do you know any articles or discussions where I could learn more? I'm interested in a variety of views from photographers in different fields. Thanks!
posted by dfc5656 on Jul 4, 2013 - 5 answers

The Sign Painter's Dilemma: Is there such a thing?

I have a question, which I think is about morals and philosophy. I'm pretty sure I can elucidate the thing I'm looking for pretty clearly and hope this doesn't turn into chatfilter. Mainly I'm wondering if formalized discussions of this exist and looking for resources to read up on it. I call it "The Sign Painter's Dilemma" but it could also be a Tattoo Artist's Dilemma... [more inside]
posted by Infinity_8 on Jul 2, 2013 - 19 answers

How do I introduce a speaker who works for an organization I dislike?

Is it possible for me to be the "Mistress of Ceremonies" at an event where I would introduce a keynote speaker who works for an organization that has taken positions that I, personally, find very problematic? [more inside]
posted by QuantumMeruit on Jun 12, 2013 - 19 answers

How to talk about skills gained unethically during a job interview

I'm applying for a job in automation software development but from what I have on my resume, I've only touched upon the subject. However, what my resume doesn't mention is that I was active in the Warcraft botting community developing profiles and behaviors and made programs that botted various online games, surveys, and web forms. I'd be very happy to "go legit" as it were and use my skills for good, but mentioning that I have a good background in automation would prompt questions of specific examples and I don't know how I could talk about it without sounding like an unethical person.
posted by anonymous on Jun 12, 2013 - 19 answers

I want the system to work -- just not this time.

My husband got a ticket, but the ticket writer got his information wrong, can we get away with not paying? [more inside]
posted by blue_bicycle on May 25, 2013 - 23 answers

Set the bar...at what height exactly?

Recently I became friends with a group of people that lie and act in deceitful and unfair ways towards others - so I say, they apparently find it perfectly okay. Is it right to hold your friends to your own personal standards?
posted by travelwithcats on May 19, 2013 - 38 answers

Am I right to leave my company in this way?

I am planning on leaving my company in late spring to go to grad school in the fall. Am I employing the ethically right approach here? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Mar 15, 2013 - 8 answers

How to graciously break a work contract in twenty million easy steps

My boss wants to renew my work contract for a year. I really like my boss, and my workplace. But. I've been admitted into a prestigious graduate program for the fall, and I know I want to go. Please help me navigate workplace etiquette. [more inside]
posted by Bluestocking_Puppet on Mar 14, 2013 - 23 answers

Sailing away on the Ship of Theseus

I'm taking up restoration of mechanical calculators as a hobby. To what extent would repairs/part replacements constitute "restoration", and when does it become "reproduction" instead? [more inside]
posted by jackbishop on Mar 1, 2013 - 2 answers

Is it safe to report illegal pr0n to the FBI?

I'd like to report something to the FBI but I don't know if it would be dangerous to me to do so. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 19, 2013 - 12 answers

Should we give/sell back our site name? Are there legal repercussions?

Short: Guy let his domain name expire, we won it at auction after the one-month grace period, 1-2 weeks later we get an email from him saying "B-b-but..." [more inside]
posted by Anwan on Feb 16, 2013 - 25 answers

Ethics or not

When the AIDS crisis showed up, I literally put my education on pause. I figured I would spend the next 5 years caring for friends until they all died, and then go back to school. 23 years later, I have 23 years of experience in HIV research and social services and a B.A. in religious studies. Snowflaky details.... [more inside]
posted by Sophie1 on Feb 5, 2013 - 19 answers

What should we, as a company, do about insane customers?

Our store occasionally has customers who appear to be mentally unstable and who would benefit from medical help. What, if anything, should we do for them? Is it any of our business? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 4, 2013 - 16 answers

Post not-so-Secret

I'd like to start a blog featuring my small collection of found (used/sent) postcards. What measures should I take for due ethical diligence? [more inside]
posted by threeants on Jan 2, 2013 - 4 answers

I don't want Cruella De Ville's dressing table

Is it still moral/ethical to buy cosmetics from companies who have decided to enter the Chinese market? If not, are there any mainstream/high-street options left? [more inside]
posted by mippy on Dec 12, 2012 - 16 answers

Friendship is Magic

How do I tell my instructor that I would like to see him socially after the class is over without sounding like a stalker? You would think being direct would be the simple answer, but I am feeling socially awkward about the whole thing and need some advice. [more inside]
posted by evilcupcakes on Dec 7, 2012 - 20 answers

Playdate conundrum

My Son (Oliver, 8) goes to school. He has regular playdates and the occasional sleepover with other kids from his class. One of the children from his class is the child of a local politician, his name is Thomas. Oliver and Thomas are friends, but Oliver is friends with many other kids and some of whom he would prefer. Sometimes Thomas can be a difficult kid, not exactly sure what his status is, but he has more needs than most kids. With that said, he is only 8 and not a bad kid, quite polite. We have had drinks with Thomas's parents before and it was nice, however I made sure to avoid any political conversations as the father is the elected local representative of a party I find ... unappealing. I know the mother more than the father and we get along fine. [more inside]
posted by njk on Dec 1, 2012 - 40 answers

A Cat's the Only Cat Who Knows Where it's at

My cat was hit by a car and had to have high risk emergency surgery. Once he has fully recovered, I am debating whether or not to let him roam outside again. [more inside]
posted by drunkonthemoon on Nov 28, 2012 - 36 answers

Intro to Humanism, Winter 2012

If you think human rationality, and efforts to ‘predict and control’ are, together, shaky ground for ethics, what’s left? [more inside]
posted by nelljie on Nov 20, 2012 - 13 answers

Runners responsibility for lost dogs?

A puppy chased me 5km from it's house while I was running, and I ended up dumping the dog on another home owner's whose dogs tried to come after me.... looking for opinions on what others would have done. [more inside]
posted by dripped on Nov 7, 2012 - 60 answers

Ethical conundrum

A first draft document (press release) I emailed to a new colleague for reaction and comment in a new organization I volunteer for was headed 'for your eyes only', 'confidential", and "not for release." It was copied and distributed to others and a reply to me with the explanation, "I assumed you intended others in the group to see it." My disappointment stings. My trust non-existant. While I was highly motivated to do this volunteer work, in something I believe in and value, I fear future experiences will be as frustrating and discouraging as this one. Anyone ever have similar experiences? Options seem to me to 1. ignore it, 2. Confront directly, 3. Resign.
posted by NorthCoastCafe on Nov 4, 2012 - 31 answers

What should I do about this ethical issue at work?

Due to major recent changes in my field, I am now being listed as supervisor of most of the people I work with (including my actual supervisors), and this is due to my credentials. This is not information that is solely internal (since I am not actually everyone's supervisor) but actually is information sent to the third party funding sources, which I think raises a major ethical issue. Should I be allowing this to happen? What should I do about it?
posted by queenba on Oct 28, 2012 - 21 answers

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