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Can bad actions be justified by unfair circumstances?

An interesting video stimulus from the BBC this week:

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170210-monkeys-lie-to-one-another

We’re often presented with examples of behaviour from the animal world that are chosen to compare favourably against humans. This contrasting example has several layers: the selfish behaviour may be out of necessity due to the monkey’s low status – how far can bad actions be justified by unfair circumstances? Then there’s the whole question of whether pre-human origins of behaviour have any ethical implications – does something being natural make it good/permissible?

 

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