The Ethical Philosophy Selector

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Check out the latest web test to determine something about yourself that you should but probably don't already know. It asks you questions about your ethical views and then tells you how much you match up with some of the most influential ethical theorists. I'm wondering how different it would be if the questions were practical rather than theoretical. They even give somewhat informative descriptions for the uninitiated (some of which are more informative than others). My list:

Aquinas 100%
Augustine 95%
Spinoza 68%
Aristotle 63%
Ockham 56%
Nel Noddings 51%
John Stuart Mill 49%
Kant 49%
Plato 46%
Cynics 39%
Ayn Rand 36%
Jean-Paul Sartre 36%
Jeremy Bentham 36%
Stoics 36%
Prescriptivism 34%
David Hume 28%
Nietzsche 23%
Epicureans 22%
Thomas Hobbes 4%

In the list of descriptions for the various philosophers, they also had Simone de Beauvoir and Utilitarianism in general (as opposed to Mill or Bentham's specific versions). I guess I had a 0% match to them, which doesn't surprise me.

I would have expected the Stoics to be higher. Everything else below the Cynics deserves to be very low. Mill should have been far lower. It doesn't surprise me that I half match Noddings' feminist ethic of care. I really do agree with about half of what she says. I'm wondering why Ayn Rand was higher than Epicureanism. I think Epicurus' version of ethical egoism is far better than hers. Of course, his hedonism may be affecting it, since she didn't say anything quite so strong, but then his qualifications of it reveal that he didn't either.

They didn't frame the questions right if they really wanted to see if someone matches Aquinas. The only divine option they had for the source of morality is God's will, never thinking to mention God's necessary nature. The closest they had to that was some impersonal holistic forces (which might explain the high Spinoza thing, but the Stoics and Plato should have gotten as much of a boost from that). Theologically speaking, Augustine should have been higher than Aquinas, but maybe the virtue influence on my thinking puts Aquinas higher.

2 Comments

Well we're in a dead heat for the first five thinkers. I have not idea how sudophilosopher Ayn Rand made the list.

1. Aquinas (100%)
2. St. Augustine (74%)
3. Spinoza (68%)
4. Aristotle (64%)
5. Ockham (60%)
6. Plato (54%)
7. Cynics (49%)
8. Nietzsche (45%)
9. Stoics (45%)
10. Ayn Rand (45%)
11. Jeremy Bentham (43%)
12. Kant (41%)
13. Jean-Paul Sartre (41%)
14. John Stuart Mill (38%)
15. David Hume (37%)
16. Epicureans (34%)
17. Nel Noddings (27%)
18. Prescriptivism (23%)
19. Thomas Hobbes (22%)

12-22-03 12:17 pm

Ayn Rand is the best-known modern advocate of ethical egoism, which is best represented in the history of philosophy by Epicurus, though his hedonism and her rationalism make them seem further apart than they are. The only other close theory I know of is Hobbes's, who develops into a very different view. That's why her view is significant, especially given her huge following. Her arguments are terrible, but James Rachels thought them worth spending time on in his introduction to ethical theory.

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