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MMDS3201: ETHICS

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If you don't refrain, the global level of harm doesn't increase significantly. ... If you refrain, that won't make others reconsider their harmful behaviour. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: MMDS3201: ETHICS


1
MMDS3201 ETHICS
  • Professional practice
  • Lecturer Erik Champion
  • 27 July 2006 W1 L1

2
Ethics Outline
  • What is it?
  • Judgments
  • Moral conflicts and moral reasoning
  • Types of Ethics
  • Business Ethics
  • Design Ethics

3
What is Ethics?
  • Business ethics the ethical conduct of a
    business, the way business people should act,
    principles that should govern the conduct of a
    business...or this field of study.
  • Ethics is often confused with morality, the study
    of what people believe is ethically correct or
    valuable, not what they tend to innately believe
    is ethically correct or valuable. (NB Hegel saw
    ethics as customary norms, morality as a
    reflection on these norms).
  • Shaw, William H. 2003. Ethics at work basic
    readings in business ethics. New York Oxford
    University Press.
  • Grace, Damian, and Stephen Cohen. 1998. Business
    ethics Australian problems and cases. 2nd ed.
    Melbourne Oxford University Press.

4
Ethics (ethos) and Morality (mores)
  • Holmes ethics is the study of morality e.g.
    through moral philosophy (the pursuit of wisdom
    in moral matters) as well as other methods
  • Related to teleology (ends and purposes).

5
Judgments
  • Normative judgments (norms or standards rather
    than facts)
  • Value j deciding which is better.
  • Prescriptive j tells you what to do.
  • Moral j based on criteria to tell what is right
    or wrong.
  • Which are these?
  • This is a red car.
  • This is a good car.
  • You havent paid me the money you owe me.
  • You ought to return the money you owe me.

6
Moral conflicts
  • Between morality and social beliefs.
  • Between morality and the law.
  • Between different moral obligations.

7
Moral reasoning
  • Top-down approach universal moral principles
    applied to specific situations.
  • Bottom-up approach the first principle of moral
    reasoning are the moral judgments we make.
  • Ethical defeat acts cannot be ethically
    justified.
  • Reflective equilibrium when our moral judgments
    of particular situations and our moral principles
    are in harmony with each other.
  • Grace, Damian, and Stephen Cohen. 1998. Business
    ethics Australian problems and cases. 2nd ed.
    Melbourne Oxford University Press.

8
Moral Philosophy
  • AIMS
  • What are the criteria for rightness and
    wrongness?
  • Are there basic rules or principles?
  • APPROACHES
  • Normative ethics (identify and explain the most
    basic moral j about good or bad, right or wrong).
  • Applied ethics (what is right or wrong in
    specific cases).

9
Types of Ethics (a selection)
  • Ethical and Psychological Egoism
  • Ethical and Cultural Relativism
  • Divine Command Theory
  • Natural Law Ethics
  • Consequentialism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Deontological ethics
  • Kantianism
  • Holmes, Robert L. 2003. Basic moral philosophy.
    3rd ed. ed. Belmont, CA Wadsworth/Thomson.

10
Ethical / Psychological Egoism
  • One ought to always maximize ones own personal
    good.
  • This is the opposite of utilitarianism. For
    example, having friends are good, only because
    they make you feel better.
  • A form of micro ethics.
  • Psychological egoism the claim that we are all
    egoistically motivated in everything we do.

11
Cultural relativism
  • CR x is good if the majority of the society
    approve of x.
  • Kohlberg believed CR developed from
    punishment/obedience, rewards, parental approval,
    social approval.
  • Problems
  • Unlike subjectivism, relies on social approval.
  • Moral diversity makes it hard to separate
    cultures clearly and distinctly.
  • There are objective values.
  • Does not explain how to solve disputes between
    cultures.

12
Divine Command Theory
  • Whatever an all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly
    good God (or gods) command is right (strong form)
    or relevant (weak form).
  • This is deontological it is primarily
    prescriptive rather than evaluative.
  • Circular problem God commands what is right
    because it is right and what is right is right
    because God commands it.

13
Natural Law Ethics
  • Live in accordance with nature.
  • Holds that morality is part of the natural order
    of things.
  • Problem what is meant by nature, and how are
    we supposed to act?

14
Consequentialism
  • Perform the act that will result in the best
    consequences. Actions and behaviors are evaluated
    according to the consequences of that behavior.
  • E.g. utilitarianism, by founder Jeremy Bentham
    (1748-1832).
  • Axiological.

15
Utilitarianism
  • One ought always to maximize the general good.
    The greatest balance of good over bad for the
    greatest number of people is the most moral
    option.
  • This is axiological it is primarily evaluative
    rather than prescriptive.
  • How can this be measured?

16
Deontological ethics
  • Consequences never provide enough justification
    by themselves for moral actions.
  • Contractarianism based on the rights or claims
    of people when making moral judgments.
  • Kantian morality (and a sense of duty) is one of
    the most famous examples.
  • Usually requires consistency, rationality, and
    can be applied independently of the person making
    the judgment.

17
Kantianism
  • We must try to act morally and for the right
    reason (a moral duty is binding).
  • Categorical imperative Act only according to
    that maxim by which you can at the same time will
    that it should become a universal law.
  • In other words, one ought always to act on maxims
    that can be universalized.

18
Moral theories ethics of conduct
deontological
axiological
strong
weak
consequentialist
non-conseq.
conseq.
macro
micro
non-conseq.
utilitarian
utilitarian
ethical egoism
ethics of virtue is not discussed here
19
Ethics of virtue
  • Early Greek philosophers
  • Plato (429-347 BC) a things virtue or
    excellence allows it to perform its function
    well, the souls virtue is justice, developed
    through conduct (knowledge of the ideal good, and
    wisdom, and courage).
  • Aristotle (384-322 BC) Intellectual virtues of
    theoretical wisdom and practical wisdom.

20
Business Ethics
  • covers the whole spectrum of interactions
    between firms, individuals, industries, society
    and the state.
  • A decision-making process.
  • Professionals have clients and shareholders who
    have expectations.
  • Codes (say, medicine) are designed not to treat
    people as means to an end.
  • Ethical theory must be put into practice.
  • Business can create its own code or have it
    imposed by a government.
  • Grace, Damian, and Stephen Cohen. 1998. Business
    ethics Australian problems and cases. 2nd ed.
    Melbourne Oxford University Press.

21
Software Engineering Code of Ethics and
Professional Practice
  • http//onlineethics.org/codes/
  • Version 5.1 2002 (Appendix C, Ethics in
    Information Technology by George Reynolds).
  • 8 principles for ethical tensions.
  • Who is affected?
  • Who to respect?
  • How to present ethical decisions?
  • Have you considered consequences for the least
    advantaged?
  • Are the acts are worthy of an ideal professional?

22
Typical Business Ethics Problems
  • Public and private ethics
  • Stakeholders rights
  • Marketing and advertising ethics
  • Institutional ethics
  • International ethics
  • Equal opportunity
  • The Environment
  • Whistle blowing

23
Why Ethics in Design?
  • Navigating remarkably conflicting values is one
    of the central problems of design.
  • Caroline Whitbeck in Ethics in Engineering
    Practice and Research argues that ethics is
    traditionally regarded as judging something that
    has already been done. But the bigger challenge
    and what ethics should be is about the way to
    act. And that is a problem of design devising
    ethical courses of action.
  • Design itself is ethics. It is all about what is
    the right thing to do, and not just technically.
    Everything that is made is an argument about how
    we should live our lives. The world is filled
    with competing objects that are arguing amongst
    themselves for our attention. "Live my way! Live
    my way!"
  • Deciding where and how to employ the art of
    design is an ethical issue.
  • http//www.odannyboy.com/blog/cmu/archives/000776.
    html

24
Aims of Design Ethics
  • Expertise
  • Accessibility.
  • Consumer labelling and information.
  • Ecology and sustainability.
  • Professional Values
  • Consumer culture.
  • Corporate power.
  • Globalisation of trade.
  • Designers role in the wider world
  • Solving larger problems.
  • Integrating expertise
  • Political involvement.

25
Levels of Design Ethics
  • Day to day professional behaviour.
  • Expected or required professional behaviour.
  • A framework of moral principles and obligations
    in life.
  • Perkins, Shel. 2006. Talent Is Not Enough
    Business Secrets For Designers, Chapter 19. CA
    New Riders Press.

26
Ethics in Cyberspace
  • Our acts are constrained by
  • Laws (Cyberspace require special ones?)
  • Social norms (flaming).
  • The market (popular websites).
  • Architecture (physical constraints become
    software constraints).
  • Spinello, Richard A. 2006. Cyberethics morality
    and law in cyberspace. 3rd ed. ed. Sudbury,
    Mass. Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

27
Ethical Issues in Cyberspace
  • ISSUES
  • Privacy work checks email or a website keeps and
    sells information about you.
  • Free speech (anonymous or inflammatory) or
    government controls.
  • Freedom of choice versus protection of rights of
    minors (Childrens Online Protection Act).
  • Automating Control content updating or filtering
    software, govt. control, control by code,
    blocking software.
  • Intellectual property.
  • Metatag deception.

28
Harmful But Prevalent Behaviour
  • May not be unethical considering
  • If you refrain, you or those you care about or
    are responsible for, suffer.
  • If you dont refrain, the global level of harm
    doesnt increase significantly.
  • If you continue, it wont promote more or
    increased harmful behaviour.
  • If you refrain, that wont make others reconsider
    their harmful behaviour.
  • OPTIONAL If you refrain (publicly), it
    encourages others to engage in even more harmful
    behaviour.
  • Ronald Green, When is Everyones doing it a
    moral justification? Business Ethics Quarterly 1
    (January 1991), pp. 7593, or Mellahi, Kamel,
    and Wood, Geoffrey. 2003. The Ethical Business
    Challenges and Controversies. New York Palgrave
    Macmillan.

29
Ethics in Australia
  • Employment discrimination 1994 BHP.
  • Workplace discrimination 1993, TNT.
  • Pregnancy discrimination 1991, Beaurepaire
    Tyres.
  • Maternity leave.
  • Glass ceiling.
  • Sexual harassment 1989, K-Mart.
  • Disability 1990, HIV case, Complete Table.
  • Grace, Damian, and Stephen Cohen. 1998. Business
    ethics Australian problems and cases. 2nd ed.
    Melbourne Oxford University Press. See
    especially chapter 6.

30
References
  • Holmes, Robert L. 2003. Basic moral philosophy.
    3rd ed. ed. Belmont, CA Wadsworth/Thomson.
  • Gensler, Henry J. 1998. Ethics a contemporary
    introduction. Routledge.
  • Grace, Damian, and Stephen Cohen. 1998. Business
    ethics Australian problems and cases. 2nd ed.
    Melbourne Oxford University Press.
  • Mellahi, Kamel, and Wood, Geoffrey. 2003. The
    Ethical Business Challenges and Controversies.
    New York Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Perkins, Shel. 2006. Talent Is Not Enough
    Business Secrets For Designers, Chapter 19. CA
    New Riders Press.
  • Reynolds, George W. 2003. Ethics in information
    technology. Boston, Mass. Thomson Course
    Technology, (see Appendix C for Code of Ethics).
  • Shaw, William H. 2003. Ethics at work basic
    readings in business ethics. New York Oxford
    University Press.
  • Spinello, Richard A. 2006. Cyberethics morality
    and law in cyberspace. 3rd ed. ed. Sudbury,
    Mass. Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
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