The strangeness of Moral Philosophy

Earlier Brian brought up his annoyance with an Ethical Philosophy Selector quiz he had found via Gene Expression's post.

The World Wide Rant was simply confused by his results.

Which were as follows:

1. Ayn Rand (100%)
2. John Stuart Mill (99%)
3. Epicureans (97%)
4. Kant (96%)

As someone who majored in philosophy in college and have been knee-deep in it my entire life, I think I can clear up some of the confusion here.

(By the way, this thing has been all over the blogosphere. Other blog posts can be found on this here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here. If I forgot to link to your thoughts on this, let me know in the comments and I'll do so as soon as I can.) First, let me put up my own results so that we are all on the same page here.

1. Ayn Rand (100%) Click here for info
2. Cynics (77%) Click here for info
3. Nietzsche (77%) Click here for info
4. Aquinas (71%) Click here for info
5. Aristotle (70%) Click here for info
6. Plato (69%) Click here for info
7. David Hume (68%) Click here for info
8. Epicureans (66%) Click here for info
9. John Stuart Mill (64%) Click here for info
10. Thomas Hobbes (61%) Click here for info
11. St. Augustine (59%) Click here for info
12. Stoics (56%) Click here for info
13. Jean-Paul Sartre (55%) Click here for info
14. Jeremy Bentham (43%) Click here for info
15. Spinoza (43%) Click here for info
16. Ockham (40%) Click here for info
17. Kant (38%) Click here for info
18. Prescriptivism (23%) Click here for info
19. Nel Noddings (22%) Click here for info

When a philosopher says, "Let's see who you most agree with in the subject of philosophy known as ethics." He is also saying, "We are going to ignore anything that each of these philosophers thought when they weren't discussing ethics."

Now prepare for a crash course in ethical philosophy using my own results since they reflected me fairly accurately.

1. Ayn Rand

Advocates Ethical Egoism, Libertarianism (Free Will), and the existence of rationally knowable moral standards.

With the exception of the ever engaging Calvinist Libertarians, most of the people who frequent this site are likely to be Free Will Libertarians.

We all would likely agree to the rationally knowable moral standard that coercion is bad.

This leaves the Ethical Egoism which seems widely misunderstood. Do you know someone else who can technically qualify as an Ethical Egoist?

Adam Smith. He identified acting in accordance with "enlightened self-interest" as moral in his Theory of Moral Sentiments. So all of us who have studied economics have either directly or indirectly studied ethical egoism.

It is unsurprising that there is so much agreement with Rand's ethical philosophy in this setting. This leaves plenty of room for disagreement elsewhere, but the quiz was just trying to be fun and educational in the area of ethical philosophy.

2. Cynics

I'm just going to put up the paragraph about Diogenes of Sinope from their recommended page on cynicism because he was always my favorite.

In contrast, Diogenes, one of Antisthenes most famous followers carried the cynical philosophy to its farthest extreme. Diogenes was not known merely as one of "The Dog Philosophers," his personal nickname was "The Dog" and Plato referred to him as "Socrates gone mad." He denied all physical wealth and pleasure; he lived in a barrel and his only possessions were a robe to cover himself and a walking stick. There is an antecdote of questionable historical accuracy that demonstrates the character of Diogenes: One day Diogenes was sitting on a hill next to his barrel enjoying the warm rays of the sun when he was approached by Alexander the Great. Alexander asked Diogenes if he was the infamous Diogenes of whom the Athenians had spoken. Diogenes replied that he was. Alexander asked Diogenes if it was true that he had no desire for anything. Diogenes looked up at Alexander and said that he only wanted one thing, with that he asked Alexander to move a little to one side because he was blocking the sun. After the encounter, Alexander reportedly stated that if he could be anyone other than Alexander he would want to be Diogenes. Although Diogenes' behavior was sometimes amusing, he was not well liked in Athens primarily because of his writings encouraging incest and cannibalism.

(I'm going to pause to take a nap.)

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