Caftori's cs-310I-01 Computer Ethics: Roger Gilman presentation

CS-310I Computer Ethics

Roger Gilman's presentation

Moral Health Insurance System (M-HIS)

Insurance = Protect+Promote Valuable and Vulnerable things (PPVV)

Morality = Practice (repeat of actions) of moral principles (principles are complex rules that include conditions of their application).

M-HIS consists of the practice of certain moral principles for the purpose of promoting and protecting valuable and vulnerable things.
e.g. things of moral worth may be humans, human institutions (democracy, science), animals, etc.

Ethics: the philosophical study of morality.
Philosophical work consists in the application of 2 sets of tests to evaluate the worth of Ideas and Actions:

Set of Rationality (or reasonableness) tests
  • Linguistic clarity
  • Empirical support:
  • Science
  • History
  • Personal experience
  • Logical Consistency
  • Practical usefulness
  • ... Set of Impartiality tests

    Impartial means unbiased, non-prejudiced, fair

  • Principle of Universalizability
  • Principle of Respect
  • 4 sub-principles of Respect
  • A set of moral Rules
  • A set of moral Rights
  • Thus: Morality requires us to be rational and impartial at the same time.

    It requires us to do 3 things:

    1. Do the Right thing
  • to avoid harming (trumps helping)
  • to initiate helping
  • ... 2. for the Right Reasons

    (Justify our judgements)


    ... 3. toward all objects
    . of moral worth (*)


    (*) Objects of moral worth have intrinsic value, not only instrumental value.
    Instrumental value = is a means to a further value. Intrinsic value = is value in itself (because the thing values itself).

    Ethics wheel


    2. Need Right Reasons because some actions cause great harm.
    "Right" justifies actions, non-accidental reasons, is a universalizable reason (not universal reason, should be universal even if it's not).
    "harm" to wellfare (material or biological) and dignity (rights, such as free speech right)
    "harm" leads to punishment for doing wrong (not doing right).

    Three criteria for the Principle of Universalizability:

    1. Noncontradictory (reasons and actions) of any other good reason.
    2. Consent to as permissible but not required
    3. Mutual

    Four subsystems of the M-H.I.S.

    1. Justification sub-system = most fundamental is the principle of Universalizability
    2. Motivation: to actually do right things
    3. Moral education or development (by imitation, etc.)
    4. Moral decision-making model

    Principle (form of our obligation) of Universalizability only acts on maxims of actions that can be willed as universally permissible (Immanuel Kant)

    Aristotle: It is unreasonable to treat similar things (you and other persons) differently, or treat different things similarly. (Principle of Respect).

    Principle of Respect

    Never treat a personm merely as a means (instrumental value = tool =resources) to someone else's ends, but rather treat them as ends in themselves.
    (have an intrinsic value = for being itself).

    Two ways to use people:

    1. respect
    2. disrespect

    Four sub-principles of respect

    1. Beneficience = benefit, help (when the cost is reasonable) (1.1 ACM)
    2. Non-malefiesence (do not harm) (1.2 ACM)
    3. Fairness (1.4 ACM)
    4. Autonomy (freedom of speech, etc.) (1.5-1.7 ACM)
      Corrolated with every rule there is a right.

      2. Motivation: incentives to do right things.
      political (external):

      1. Criminalize selected behaviors
      2. Democratize our social institutions (family, religion, economy)
      3. Create professional codes of ethics techniques: voting, grievance, etc.
      1. Develop a well-functionning conscience
      2. Develop good chracter traits (habits, attitudes, virtues [trustworthiness])
      3. Commit to a set of moral ideals

      Conscious (awake, aware) <> conscience = a set of feelings associated with right things and wrong things.

      3. Develpmental (educational) sub-system

      4. Decision-making process:

      Maxims of action

      Six step moral decision making process

      To analyse a case study with several stakeholders involved, follow Dr Gilman suggestion below:
      The actions of each stakeholder in the situation involves a different/separate maxim that can be tested by the set of impartiality tests (or more narrowly by the 4 subprinciples of respect).
      This is equivalent to reusing the 6-step procedure for each stakeholder who's action-response you want to consider. I had suggested that, at the beginning just consider and test the main character's potential responses to the situation. A full-fledged analysis would consider the responses (the obligations) of all players.

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      Revised on 8/4/04