I'm not sure where I fall in the philosophy of morality.
I hold morality to be two-pronged: Intent and result. The morality of the person is given by the intent, and the morality of the action is given by result, I suppose. That's not quite right, because actions, not being people, can't have a morality, but it gets roughly the idea across.
An action is one that should be done (and thus is "moral") if it, as its end result, causes more good than harm. A person is good if they strive to perform such actions.
As for the whole resistance to the idea of sexism thing, I think there's a few factors at work. The first is knee-jerk defensiveness. It wasn't very long ago that video games were blamed for all of society's ills, and even if that wasn't the case, fans of something are notoriously bad at taking criticism, no matter how justified, because the human mind likes to categorize things as all good or all bad.
Next, we've got the fact that institutionalized "-isms" are things that basic morality has trouble dealing with. Human morals seem predisposed to care exclusively about intent, and while most people will agree that a well-intentioned action can still be wrong if you make them think about it, they do have to really think about it, not go with gut feelings.
In addition, "-isms" can be hard to spot, especially if they're pervasive. It's hard to notice sexism if your brain says that male protagonists are just normal, say.
Finally, people loathe the idea that fiction could in any way influence them. The human mind is certain that it is the ultimate arbiter of itself: That we all know exactly what we believe and exactly why we believe it. This is utter rubbish, but it's a concept that's baked so deep into our minds that it takes a massive amount of evidence to shake it.
Combine all of the above and I seem to be condemning something for "crimes" that don't exist, wouldn't be morally wrong if they did exist, and which wouldn't hurt anyone anyways. None of that is true, but it's the knee-jerk reaction.
I take it you're not completely a consequentialist when it comes to morality, seeing as you'd say that someone with bad intent is morally worse than someone with good intent, having the exact same effect on society.
I wouldn't condemn someone who intended good but did harm
I'm sure few would, but I suspect one of the reasons there is such fervent opposition to what you say is that people can interpret you doing exactly this in your words.
As I see it, the harm is done regardless. If you intended to do harm then the harm itself isn't any worse, it's just the situation that is. An accidental Hitler still kills countless people, but is morally well above the actual Hitler.
If nothing else, look at it as a budget: If you budget to get to "good enough" then all it takes is one problem you didn't foresee to make you have to stop short. If you aim for perfection, then that problem only drops you down to "good enough".
You don't need to aim for a perfect budget to account for unforeseen calamities.
What's more, a budget is a perfect demonstration of the sort of thing I'm talking about: it's good to save, but being overly miserly might put you over the line and yield diminishing returns
This is where the awkwardness comes in: at my uni they force you to choose one paper that isn't related to the degree you're taking, so an engineering student taking a philosophy paper inevitably leads to stuff like "Why the hell can't I submit in .docx? Dang liberal arts."
It's just that I recently had to submit an assignment in .doc format (they made it clear that .docx format wasn't welcome), so I simply assumed that older versions of Word were still widely used, and therefore that it would be safer to default-save to a version compatible with all recent versions of Word.
That's...really weird, since Microsoft provides a free plugin for Word 2003 so that it can read .docx. This implies either that the reader doesn't know about the plugin (which Microsoft has Word '03 actively tell them about if they try to open .docx files) or they're using Word 2000 or something.
I don't usually like these sorts of statements, but this one spoke to me.
The kinds of statement I'm talking about is one that isn't meant to be taken at face value and applied everywhere. It has a deeper meaning and is more "focused" (another example of this would be "the customer is always right").
The reason the words in my sig "speak to me" is because, to me, it addresses the notion that art that disturbs more is "more artistic", or whatever, than something that disturbs less. The closest example is how people in the Zelda boards blindly call for a "deeper story" that amounts to little more than "PLS DISTURB ME NINTENDO".
BTW, I didn't make the sig. I just cropped an existing image in my collection, lol.
I'd disagree that something is art if it's disturbing. Art may be disturbing, but the converse is by no means always true.
I mean, if absolutely nothing else, I am disturbed by quite a few natural ways to die or be injured.
But more generally, what offends people differs from person to person, things that were designed to be shocking 50 years ago barely register now; While things they took for granted are rather disturbing to modern people. Does that mean that what's "art" changes dynamically over time? If so, then why do we have museums and galleries? Why preserve art which will stop being meaningful in short order? Why do we continue to display the works of, say, Michelangelo, since we've lost that entire cultural context, which means that his art must speak less to us than modern stuff?
My problem wasn't with changing my beliefs, merely how I defined them:
The thing is, I haven't changed or challenged my beliefs. I have merely changed the way I define what I am (I had some strange impression that agnosticism was "halfway between atheism and theism" and went around parading myself as such).
Also, I don't get it, but the word "atheist" just has a "GOD CANNOT EXIST NO MATTER WHAT" sort of connotation with me. The problem I expressed to John (or failed to) was that it felt awkward calling myself an atheist due to the above. Even if I am an atheist.