Presentation on theme: "What is Ethics? Ethics is concerned with: n The values and guidelines by which we live, and how they are justified n Standards of right and wrong n Identification."— Presentation transcript:
What is Ethics? Ethics is concerned with: n The values and guidelines by which we live, and how they are justified n Standards of right and wrong n Identification with cultural norms or customs
Normative and Descriptive Ethics Normative ethics n Provide rules that tell us how to “do the right thing” [Be honest, do your work, keep your promises, do not steal, don’t harm people, admit your mistakes] Descriptive ethics n Tell us how people behave, and what ethical rules have emerged within a society
Ethical Views Deontological theory (e.g., Immanuel Kant) n Ethical nonconsequentialist or absolutists n Generally emphasizes absolute rules that must be followed regardless of consequences Sample expression: ”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"
Ethical Views Deontological theory (continued) n Some principles – Universality (same rules apply to all) – Logic/rationality are the standard for what is good – People feel injured when others control them, even if it is in their own interest (loss of dignity). Thus dignity and autonomy (control of our own lives) go together. This leads to the Principle of Respect for Persons: “Treat Humanity...always as an end in itself [intrinsically valuable] never as a mere means [instrumentally valuable]…”
Ethical Views (cont) Utilitarianism (e.g., John Stuart Mill) n Ethical conseqeuntialsts n Generally emphasizes increasing happiness or “utlity”, and considers effects on others Sample expression: "This may not be right in every case, but its the right thing to do this time."
Ethical Views (cont) Utilitarianism (continued) n Some principles – Act Utilitarianism: Judge each action by the net impact it has [Note 1: often very difficulty to judge, Note 2: has no absolute prohibitions, and therefore does not respect individual rights] – Rule Utilitarianism: Apply utility to ethical rules [Note: allows consideration of individual rights]
Ethical Views (cont) Natural Rights n Generally emphasizes that ethical behavior has to do with respecting the rights of others to such things as life, liberty, and property n Some principles – Oriented toward guidance for actions (e.g., do not kill, do not oppress, do not deceive because these tend to impinge on the rights of others) – Provides a domain in which people can act according to their own values and judgement
Ethical Views (cont) Ethical Relativism n Cultural context (programming?) determines values (with conformity to custom prominently among them) n Whatever the individual (or society) believes to be right is right for that individual (or society). Sample expression: "Who's to say that's wrong? Its up to the individual to decide what she feels is wrong!" Big issue: If all viewpoints are equally right, we lose the basis for using ethics and morals to work out human conflicts (since nobody is ever wrong).
Negative and Positive Rights Negative Rights (liberties) n Rights of non-interference – Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (Declaration of Independence) – Freedom of speech and religion (First amendment of the constitution) – Freedom to work, use your property, not assaulted, etc
Negative and Positive Rights Positive Rights (claims) n Obligations to have things provided – Universal medical care (some countries) – Not be evicted from your apartment without adequate notice – Civil rights: not be discriminated against because of age, ethnicity, race, or gender – Equal time: requiring the airing of opposing viewpoints –
A Big Question How can society craft Tradeoffs between Negative and Positive Rights? Examples: n Does a positive right to internet access encroach upon a negative right of telecom companies to operate free of regulation and/or citizens to not pay excessive taxes? Do we have positive rights to food on the table, excellent roads, a strong military, a university education, basic health care, heat in our homes in January? What is the role of social vs legal mechanisms?
Ethics in Professional Organizations Special Ethical Responsibilities of Professionals n Most people don’t have much knowledge of a professional field (computer science, medicine) - thus, problems can surreptitiously have a great impact n Huge numbers of people can be affected, including being victims n Responsibility to employer as well as to society n Accuracy about capabilities and reliability n Proper training of users
Summary of ACM Code of Ethics http://www.acm.org/constitution/code.html 1. GENERAL MORAL IMPERATIVES. n As an ACM member I will.... n 1.1 Contribute to society and human well-being. n 1.2 Avoid harm to others. n 1.3 Be honest and trustworthy. n 1.4 Be fair and take action not to discriminate. n 1.5 Honor property rights including copyrights and patent. n 1.6 Give proper credit for intellectual property. n 1.7 Respect the privacy of others. n 1.8 Honor confidentiality.
ACM Code of Ethics http://www.acm.org/constitution/code.html A Gift of Fire, pp 361 -368
Summary of ACM Code of Ethics 1. GENERAL MORAL IMPERATIVES. n As an ACM member I will.... n 1.1 Contribute to society and human well-being. n 1.2 Avoid harm to others. n 1.3 Be honest and trustworthy. n 1.4 Be fair and take action not to discriminate. n 1.5 Honor property rights including copyrights and patent. n 1.6 Give proper credit for intellectual property. n 1.7 Respect the privacy of others. n 1.8 Honor confidentiality.
Summary of ACM Code of Ethics code 2. MORE SPECIFIC PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES As an ACM computing professional I will.... n 2.1 Strive to achieve the highest quality, effectiveness and dignity in both the process and products of professional work. n 2.2 Acquire and maintain professional competence. n 2.3 Know and respect existing laws pertaining to professional work. n 2.4 Accept and provide appropriate professional review. n 2.5 Give comprehensive and thorough evaluations of computer systems and their impacts, including analysis of possible risks. n 2.6 Honor contracts, agreements, and assigned responsibilities. n 2.7 Improve public understanding of computing and its consequences. n 2.8 Access computing and communication resources only when authorized to do so.
Summary of ACM Code of Ethics 3. ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP IMPERATIVES As an ACM member and an organizational leader, I will.... n 3.1 Articulate social responsibilities of members of an organizational unit and encourage full acceptance of those responsibilities. n 3.2 Manage personnel and resources to design and build information systems that enhance the quality of working life. n 3.3 Acknowledge and support proper and authorized uses of an organization's computing and communication resources. n 3.4 Ensure that users and those who will be affected by a system have their needs clearly articulated during the assessment and design of requirements; later the system must be validated to meet requirements. n 3.5 Articulate and support policies that protect the dignity of users and others affected by a computing system. n 3.6 Create opportunities for members of the organization to learn the principles and limitations of computer systems.
Summary of ACM Code of Ethics 4. COMPLIANCE WITH THE CODE. As an ACM member I will.... n 4.1 Uphold and promote the principles of this Code. n 4.2 Treat violations of this code as inconsistent with membership in the ACM