I would like to ask a question along the lines of “Who is more at fault, the one who started it or the one who did the most damage?”

I would like to know if this is considered within the scope of this website. I went through this and this page in the help center. I see that ethics-related questions are allowed and my question does not resemble the examples of questions not to ask, but I am still not sure.

If the question in this formulation is not on topic, is there a way it can be reworded to improve it? For example, should I ask about examples of literature by philosophers who wrote about this issue instead?

1 Answer 1


The main problem with ethical questions in general is that the answer depends very much on the ethical framework.

Broadly speaking, you can distinguish between consequentialist (value is to be determined by either reasonably expected or actual outcome) and deontological (value is determined by judging the action by principles) frameworks. The former try to establish a good world or happy life by producing good outcomes, the latter think that good actions will eventually lead to a better world or happy life (even if that may include detours).

Within these very broad categories, there are countless subcategories and theories that differ with regards to what the actual goal of moral behaviour is (Happy life? Better world? Satisfaction? Evolutionary advantages? Stability of social structures? ...) and how to achieve it. Your question is at the heart of how these theories differ from one another. Therefore, there are good chances your question will be closed as being "too broad" since without more focus, you could basically answer with a synopsis of the quite voluminous "The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory" which stands at close to 700 pages.

Thus, I'd suggest you read a bit into some basic frameworks like Utilitarianism, Deontological ethics, and virtue ethics (there still will be many different opinions and theories within these notions) and at least limit the question to the one you find to be most appealing to you.

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