This challenge was over on 9/5/2014. But you can still read about it below if you like!

It's time for the second in an ongoing series of question challenges! Please consider joining us for a midweek roundtable to share ideas.


, with 392 questions, is one of our community's strongest subject areas overall, although it remains a distant second to the behemoth with 617 questions. However, much of our content around ethics tends towards the general or abstract. I think it might be interesting to focus on concrete applications of ethical concepts to specific problems: human and animal rights, political and social ethics, professional (legal, medical) ethics, environmental ethics, religious ethics, etc. So I propose:

  • That as a community of students and teachers of philosophy,
  • in order to strengthen the quality of our ethics-related content
  • we shall hold a week-long question challenge encouraging community members to engage with each other in exploring ethical themes and problems.


  1. Just ask a question relevant to the topic!
  2. Be sure to use the tag on your question.
  3. At the end of the week (Friday September 5th), we will post an answer here with a count of how many questions were asked and anything else that might be interesting to highlight.

Topic: Ethics

Wikipedia describes ethics as

a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct, often addressing disputes of moral diversity

Wikipedia also has a separate entry for applied ethics (in passing: we don't have a tag for "applied ethics", though we do have the very neglected ). Wiki describes it as

the philosophical examination, from a moral standpoint, of particular issues in private and public life that are matters of moral judgment

Wiki also mentions bioethics in particular as an example of philosophical methods applied to real-world/practical problems. This SEP query for "ethics" might not be the worst place to get started in terms of the 'applied' aspect of the challenge . Note SEP doesn't seem to even have an entry for ethics as such (although there is one for the definition of morality): rather they have a large number of pages on systems, applications of ethical theories to different domains, etc. I am hoping this may inspire us to imagine nuanced, careful, "neutral" ways to enframe the various kinds of problems that ethical theories encounter when applied to specific contexts.

We actually have bunch of neglected ethical subcategory tags! What do you think are some of the most important still missing? If you feel particularly heroic you might even consider going through older ethics questions and trying to apply these subcategory tags more evenly! (And even just reading over a few of our ~400 questions should provide some ideas for question seeds.) Consider trying to specify your questions with these systems or applied categories:

What sort of questions do you think might add value to our content? What sort of questions do you have yourself? These challenges are going to be most rewarding when we can struggle on behalf of our own passions and interests; perhaps computer and information ethics is interesting to you, or perhaps you might be interested in environmental ethics.

Share with us what is most interesting and important to you! As always it's best to try to provide a little bit about what your research around ethics and its application is uncovering as well, and of course to be as specific as possible regarding what problems you are facing in terms of interpreting and evaluating particular works, claims or notions.

  • 2
    I had seen your Aesthetics challenge last week and thought I better check to see how it's going. I'm very pleased to see you take the ball and run with it. :-) Aug 29, 2014 at 23:23

1 Answer 1


As of 7P EST, there are 7 new questions tagged not on hold:

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the question asking after the ethicality of the fare at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe had far and away the most upvotes (with 5.) In second place with 3 votes was the most recently-asked question, which is curiously also about culinary ethics...

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