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Ethics Tests William J. Frey (UPRM) José A. Cruz-Cruz (UPRM) Chuck Huff (St. Olaf)

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Presentation on theme: "Ethics Tests William J. Frey (UPRM) José A. Cruz-Cruz (UPRM) Chuck Huff (St. Olaf)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Ethics Tests William J. Frey (UPRM) José A. Cruz-Cruz (UPRM) Chuck Huff (St. Olaf)

2 Some issues Does Jorge have a duty to tell the truth during the interview? Should Jorge do whatever he can to avoid harming Carmen? If Jorge lied about his pacifism, how would his fellow pacifists view this action? Does Jorge have a right to assert his conscience? Does Jorges duties/responsibilities to his family outweigh his pacifism? Maybe its OK to tell a small lie if it avoids greater harms

3 Reversibility Would I still think the choice of this option good if I were one of those adversely affected by it? stakeholders? (Davis) Agent projects into standpoint of those targeted by the action and views it through their eyes. (Your brain into their brains and back again) Avoid extremes of too little and too much identification with stakeholder – go beyond your egocentric standpoint and make contact – but dont get lost in the perspective of the other – Empathic and Advisory Projections

4 Harm Does this option do less harm than the available alternatives? (Davis) Consider… – magnitude and range – distribution – Avoid too much (trying to factor in all harms no matter how trivial )and too little (leaving out significant harms)

5 Publicity Test would I want my choice of this potion published in the newspaper? (Davis) You are working at the office. Your supervisor passes by. You minimize the window where you are chatting with a friend and open the report due Friday What would Jorges pacifist friends think of his accepting the interview with Mega Weapons?

6 Test your solutions for their ethical and practical implications Make a solution evaluation matrix to compare and rank solutions Test the ethical implications of each solution Carry out a global feasibility assessment of the solution. – What are the situational constraints? – Will these constraints block implementation?

7 Making a table List your tests across the top List your alternatives in the left column – Compare three, two strong ones and one weak one In each cell provide an overall assessment of the strength of the solution under the given test – Give it a letter grade; assign it a number grade; give it a pass or fail assessment; list the deciding factor

8 Solution Evaluation Matrix Alternative / Test Reversibility (or rights) HarmPublicity (Or values, or virtues) Will it Work? (Feasibility) Alternative 1 Alternative 2 Alternative 3

9 A Feasibility TestWill it Work? Restate your global feasibility analysis Are there resource constraints? – Are these fixed or negotiable? Are there technical or manufacturing constraints? – Are these fixed or negotiable? Are there interest constraints? – Are these fixed or negotiable?

10 Meta-tests If the tests you use converge on a solution, that is independent evidence of that solutions strength. If the tests diverge on a given solution (one ranks it high, another low) then that is overall evidence of the weakness of the solution The tests are always relevant

11 Some Readings Anthony Weston. (2002). A Practical Companion to Ethics: Second Edition. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. – Weston has several excellent suggestions for brainstorming solutions to ethical problems. He also discusses how to avoid the dilemma trap. Michael Pritchard. (1996). Reasonable Chldren: moral education and moral learning. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press. Carolyn Whitbeck. (1998). Ethics in engineering practice and research. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. – Whitbeck provides an illuminating discussion of the analogy between ethics and design problems. Michael Davis. (2011). The Usefulness of Moral Theory in Teaching Practical Ethics: A Reply to Gert and Harris. Teaching Ethics, Fall William Frey. (2007). Commentary on Kellys Cosmetic Surgery: Integrating Values Through Three Ethics Tests. Teaching Ethics, Spring 2007.


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