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Ethical Considerations. Ethics What do we mean by “ethics” or “unethical”? Motivations to behave unethically: – –Personal gain, especially power – –Competition.

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Presentation on theme: "Ethical Considerations. Ethics What do we mean by “ethics” or “unethical”? Motivations to behave unethically: – –Personal gain, especially power – –Competition."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ethical Considerations

2 Ethics What do we mean by “ethics” or “unethical”? Motivations to behave unethically: – –Personal gain, especially power – –Competition – –Restoration of justice or fairness What is “fairness?”

3 Some Ways to Behave Unethically Selective disclosure &/or misrepresentation to others Deception False threats or false promises Provide false information (lie) Inflict intentional harm on the other party Selective disclosure or misrepresentation to constituencies

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5 Ethical Decisions Have Complexity Multiple alternatives Broad & long-range consequences Uncertain consequences Mixture of economic, legal, ethical, social, and personal benefits and costs

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7 Some Ethical Systems Eternal law: "capital-T truth" Ethical Egoism: seek self-interests & promote greatest balance of good over bad for self, with ethical constraints Utilitarianism: greatest good for the greatest number, or maximize the social benefit function Universalism (Categorical imperative): would I be willing to make the basis for my action a general law binding everyone, given similar circumstances? Enlightened self-interest: self-interest rightly understood, with long-term perspective or judging from my deathbed Ethics of interdependence: interdependence between individuals is fundamental; be willing to compromise to help the other side achieve goals

8 Some Ethical Introspections Is it right? Is it fair? How does it smell? Who benefits and who gets hurt? What if details were made public? What would you tell your child to do? What if everyone did this?

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10 Consider Learning from your mistakes Look in the mirror & see how you like what you see Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see how they see you However, don’t be naive

11 Exercise Individually, consider each of the Scenarios, one at a time: –Write your decision –Write your reasoning In small groups, discuss reasoning for each Scenario, one at a time

12 Kohlberg Stages of Moral Development Stage 1: Obedience and Punishment (e.g., I won't hit him because he may hit me back.) Stage 2: Individual Instrumental Purpose and Exchange (I will help her so she will help me in exchange.) Stage 3: "Good Boy/Girl" (I will go along with you because I want you/people to like me.) Stage 4: Law and Order (I will follow the rule/order because it is wrong not to.) Stage 5: Valuing Rights of Others plus Social Rights and Responsibilities (Although I disagree with his views, I support his right to have them.) Stage 6: Individual Principles of Conscience Grounded in Universal Ethical Principles (There is no external force that can compel me to do an act that I consider morally wrong.)

13 Heinz’s Reasoning re Stealing the Drug Moral stage Argument For Argument Against 1 It isn’t wrong; it’s only worth $100 & I probably won’t get caught It’s wrong; it’s worth $4000 & I probably will get caught & punished 2 I don’t want to lose my wife; the drug is the only hope I shouldn’t risk myself for my wife. It would be wrong to risk myself for her well-being. 3 Taking it is the only thing for a good husband to do. What would my friends say if I didn’t try to save her? People won’t blame me for not stealing the drug; they wouldn’t approve of stealing.

14 Heinz’s Reasoning (cont.) Moral stage ForAgainst 4 I must steal the drug to live up to my marriage vows. If husbands don’t protect their wives, the family structure will disintegrate… Stealing is illegal. I have to obey the law, no matter what. Imagine what society would be like if everybody broke the law. 5 The law is unjust because it does not protect my wife’s right to life. I have no obligation to obey the law. I have an obligation to respect the scientist’s right to property; it would be wrong to steal the drug. 6 The principle of the sanctity of life demands that I steal the drug, no matter the consequences to me. The principle of justice & the greatest good for the greatest number prevents me from stealing it, even for the good of my wife.

15 Reasoning from 693 class: stealing drug Moral stage ForAgainst

16 Reasoning from classes: stealing drug Moral stage ForAgainst (4) 5 (4) 3 (1) (1) 4 1 (4) 4 (4) 5 6 (4) 6

17 Reasoning from 693 class: stealing drug Officer telling Moral stage ForAgainst (2) 5 (5) (19)

18 Reasoning from classes: stealing drug Officer telling Moral stage ForAgainst (2) 4 (1) 5 (5) 4 (4) 3 1 (2) (2) 4 1 (19) 4 (14)

19 Reasoning from 693 class: stealing drug Officer telling, Jail Time Moral stage ForAgainst (2) 5 (5) (12) (19) (13)

20 Reasoning from classes: stealing drug Officer telling, Jail Time Moral stage ForAgainst 1 (punishment) 2 (benefits) 9 (2) 4,1,1 5 (5) (12) 4,4,10 3 (social approval) 1 2,1 2,1 4 (law & order) 1 (19) (13) 4,14, (others’ rights) (universal ethical principles)

21 The Insufficiency of Honesty */honesty.doc Honesty: refusal to steal, lie, or deceive in any way Integrity: trustworthiness & incorruptibility to a degree that one is incapable of being false to a trust or responsibility

22 Integrity Honesty is necessary, but not sufficient The most important thing in acting is honesty; once you learn to fake that, you’re in. - Sam Goldwyn

23 Integrity Honesty Discerning – –Examining beliefs & assumptions – –Searching for "truth," avoiding error – –Allowing others the same Acting on what you have discerned – –Even at personal cost Saying openly that you are acting re the above Fulfilling moral obligations – –Do no harm to others – –Not just the minimum

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