PROFESSIONAL ETHICS IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING

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1 PROFESSIONAL ETHICS IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING CD5590 LECTURE 1 Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic Department of Computer Science and Engineering Mälardalen University

2 Course Preliminaries Identifying Moral Issues Basic Moral Orientations Overview 2

3 Course Preliminaries All information about the course at: 3

4 Course Preliminaries Practical details Presentation of participants Course language is English, for all communication, as far as possible Communication means webpage, mail Book? Class Photos 4

5 Course Preliminaries Practical details Examination forms Taking notes and discussing the past lecture in the class. The class starts with the discussion of past notes. See Writing an article on a topic within Professional Ethics 5

6 Ethical Inventory Take the ethical inventory: Return to your answers after finishing the course. 6

7 Course Goals and the Measure of Success The course will develop a framework on which professional and ethical issues can be analyzed, and build up an awareness of various views of ethical issues as well as professionals ethical rights and responsibilities. The measure of success is how much new we learn and if we can notice any change in the attitudes (sensitivity) to the problems of professional ethics. 7

8 Planning for the course Examination GRADING Research paper (2p), assignment (1p), and class participation (2p). (Assignment means preparing and leading of in-class activity. Participation means class attendance with class notes). CLASS ATTENDANCE IS COMPULSORY. (80% presence is required for the course in total). RESEARCH PAPERS Choose research paper topic until next time! (Thursday 6 Nov) See even suggested topics in Cybernetics on the course home page, exam. Papers are written individually. Topics should be specific for everyone. 8

9 Taking Lecture and Class Notes A regular note taking is a continual learningand examination form in this course. We start the meeting by the discussion of the latest class notes. At the end of the course you are expected to send me a Word file with the complete class notes for the course, one A4 page for each class meeting [which makes 14 pages in total]. 9

10 Identifying Moral Issues Based on: Lawrence M. Hinman, Ph.D. Director, The Values Institute University of San Diego 10

11 Ethics and Morality What are they? The terms ethics and morality are often used interchangeably - indeed, they usually can mean the same thing, and in casual conversation there isn't a problem with switching between one and the other. However, there is a distinction between them in philosophy! 11

12 Ethics and Morality Etymology Morality and ethics have same roots, mores which means manner and customs from the Latin and etos which means custom and habits from the Greek. Robert Louden, Morality and Moral Theory 12

13 Ethics and Morality What are they? Strictly speaking, morality is used to refer to what we would call moral standards and moral conduct while ethics is used to refer to the formal study of those standards and conduct. For this reason, the study of ethics is also often called "moral philosophy." 13

14 Ethics and Morality Morality: first-order set of beliefs and practices about how to live a good life. The discipline dealing with what is good or bad. Ethics: a second-order, conscious reflection on the adequacy of our moral beliefs. The discipline dealing with what is good or bad. 14

15 MORALITY Morality The quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct. A system of ideas of right and wrong conduct: religious morality; Christian morality. Virtuous conduct. A rule or lesson in moral conduct. 15

16 ETHICS Philosophers commonly distinguish: descriptive ethics, the factual study of the ethical standards or principles of a group or tradition; normative ethics, the development of theories that systematically denominate right and wrong actions; applied ethics, the use of these theories to form judgments regarding practical cases; and meta-ethics, careful analysis of the meaning and justification of ethical claims Source: 16

17 SOCIETY VALUES ETHICS LAW MORAL 17

18 Identifying Moral Issues Moral concerns are unavoidable in life. They are not always easy to identify and define. 18

19 Ethics as an Ongoing Conversation Professional discussions of ethical issues in journals. We come back to ideas again and again, finding new meaning in them. See 19

20 The Moral Point of View What makes something a moral issue? Content: duties, rights, human welfare, suffering, character, etc. Perspective: impartial, compassionate, etc. 20

21 The Language of Moral Concerns Moral issues are characterized by a particular kind of language terms such as duty, obligation, right, and good. 21

22 Impartiality For many philosophers the moral point of view is characterized by impartiality, that is, I don t give my own interest any special weight. Immanuel Kant John Stuart Mill 22

23 Compassion Yet other philosophers have seen the origin of the moral life to be in compassion, feeling for the suffering of other sentient beings. Josiah Royce: Such as that is for me, so is it for him, nothing less. 23

24 Universally Binding Moral obligations, some philosophers maintain, are universally binding and that is what gives them their distinctive character. Kant: morality is a matter of categorical imperatives. Distinguish between hypothetical (a moral command that is conditional on personal motive or desire), and categorical (unconditional) imperatives. 24

25 Concern for Character Philosophers from Aristotle onward have seen the primary focus of morality to be character. Two questions: What ought I to do? (Kant and Mill) What kind of person ought I to be? (Aristotle) 25

26 The Focus of Ethics Ethics as the Evaluation of Other People s Behavior We are often eager to pass judgment on others Ethics as the Search for Meaning and Value in Our Own Lives 26

27 Ethics as the Evaluation of Other People s Behavior Ethics often used as a weapon Hypocrisy Possibility of knowing other people The right to judge other people The right to intervene Judging and caring 27

28 Ethics as the Search for Meaning and Value in Our Own Lives Positive focus Aims at discerning what is good Emphasizes personal responsibility for one s own life 28

29 What to Expect from a Moral Theory Functions of theory: Describe Explain Give strength Prescribe Open new possibilities Wonder 29

30 What to Expect from a Moral Theory What is ethics like? Physics Clear-cut, definitive answers Engineering Several possible ways of doing things, many ways that are wrong 30

31 The Point of Ethical Reflection Ethics as the evaluation of other people s behavior Ethics as the search for the meaning of our own lives 31

32 Basic Moral Orientations Overview 32

33 On what basis do we make moral decisions? (1) Divine Command Theories -- Do what the Bible tells you or the Will of God Utilitarianism -- Make the world a better place Virtue Ethics -- Be a good person The Ethics of Duty -- Do your duty Immanuel Kant s Moral Theory Ethical Egoism -- Watch out for #1 33

34 On what basis do we make moral decisions? (2) The Ethics of Natural and Human Rights --...all people are created...with certain unalienable rights Social Contract Ethics Moral Reason versus Moral Feeling Evolutionary Ethics 34

35 Divine Command Theories Being good is equivalent to doing whatever the Bible--or the Qur an or some other sacred text or source of revelation--tells you to do. What is right equals What God tells me to do. 35

36 Utilitarianism Hedonistic utilitarianism: Seeks to reduce suffering and increase pleasure or happiness Epicurus ( BC) Greek We count pleasure as the originating principle and the goal for the blessed life. (Letter to Menoeceus) Frances Hutcheson ( ) Irish The action is best, which procures the greatest happiness for the greatest number; and that worst, which in like manner, occasions misery. (An Inquiry Concerning Moral Good and Evil, 3.8) Bentham s Utilitarian Calculus Mill s Utilitarianism Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote [general] happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of [general] happiness. (Utilitarianism, 2) (in Swedish) Epicurus ( BC) John Stuart Mill Jeremy Bentham ( ) 36

37 Virtue Ethics One of the oldest moral theories. Ancient Greek epic poets and playwrights Homer and Sophocles describe the morality of their heroes in terms of virtues and vices. Plato - cardinal virtues: wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice. Even accepted by early Christian theologians. Plato ( BCE) Aristotle: The Nichomachean Ethics Morality is a matter of being a good person, which involves having virtuous character traits. Seeks to develop individual character Aristotle ( BCE.) 37

38 The Ethics of Duty Ethics is about doing your duty. Cicero (stoic): On duties (De Officiis) Medieval philosophers: duties to God, self and others Kant: only moral duties to self and others Samuel von Pufendorf ( ): moral duties spring from our instinctive drive for survival we should be sociable in order to survive. Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43) BC Intuitionism: we don t logically deduce moral duties, we know them as thy are! For each duty there is a corresponding virtue. Immanuel Kant

39 Immanuel Kant s Moral Theory Human reason makes moral demands on our lives The categorical imperative: Act so that the maxim [determining motive of the will] may be capable of becoming a universal law for all rational beings." We have moral responsibility to develop our talents Immanuel Kant

40 Ethical Egoism Says the only person to look out for is yourself Ayn Rand, The Ethics of Selfishness Well known for her novel, especially Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand sets forth the moral principles of Objectivism, the philosophy that holds that man's life--the life proper to a rational being--as the standard of moral values. It regards altruism as incompatible with man's nature, with the requirements of his survival, and with a free society. shrug - To raise (the shoulders), especially as a gesture of doubt, disdain, or indifference 40

41 The Ethics of Rights The most influential moral notion of the past two centuries Established minimal conditions of human decency Human rights: rights that all humans supposedly possess. natural rights: some rights are grounded in the nature rather than in governments. moral rights, positive rights, legal rights, civil rights 41

42 The Ethics of Rights Thomas Hobbes ( ) right from nature implies a liberty to protect myself from attack in any way that I can. John Locke ( ) principal natural rights: life, health, liberty and possessions. Thomas Hobbes ( ) John Locke ( ) 42

43 Moral Reason versus Moral Feeling Morality is strictly a matter of rational judgment: Samuel Clarke ( ) Since time of Plato: moral truths exist in a spiritual realm. Moral truths like mathematical truths are eternal. Morality is strictly a matter of feeling (emotion): David Hume ( ) We have a moral sense Samuel Clarke ( ) David Hume ( ) 43

44 Evolutionary Ethics Human social behavior is an extended development of biological evolution. Evolutionary ethics: moral behavior is that which tends to aid in human survival. Darwin: Origin of Species focuses on the evolutionary mechanisms of nonhuman animals. Biologists and philosophers of nineteenth century attempted to frame morality as an extension of the evolutionary biological process. Problem of the theory: what is progress? What is good? Any signs of moral improvement since Plato? 44

45 45

46 The Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics Computer Ethics Institute 1. Thou shalt not use a computer to harm other people. 2. Thou shalt not interfere with other people's computer work. 3. Thou shalt not snoop around in other people's computer files. 4. Thou shalt not use a computer to steal. 5. Thou shalt not use a computer to bear false witness. 46

47 The Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics Computer Ethics Institute 6. Thou shalt not copy or use proprietary software for which you have not paid. 7. Thou shalt not use other people's computer resources without authorization or proper compensation. 8. Thou shalt not appropriate other people's intellectual output. 9. Thou shalt think about the social consequences of the program you are writing or the system you are designing. 6. Thou shalt always use a computer in ways that insure consideration and respect for your fellow humans. 47

48 References Basic material: MORAL PHILOSOPHY THROUGH THE AGES, James Fieser, Mayfield Publishing Company, 2001 Additional resources: 48

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