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Topic 4: Virtue Ethics and the IS Professional
Terms in this set (21)
What are Baun's two versions of morality?
1) Follow the law, follow the moral rules: the ten commandments given by God. This is our common view.
2) Having tasted from the tree of knowledge we are banished from Eden for we have knowledge of good and evil but not the God‐like ability to always distinguish between the.m
what are examples of the 'failure' of the Enlightenment project?
-"Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains" (Rousseau)
-The Enlightenment was to free us of superstition and (hereditary) hierarchy. It was an audacious time
(with plenty of risks and lack of respect).
-"Enlightened" humanity was capable of : The horror of Auschwitz
-"Auschwitz concentration camp was a network of German Nazi concentration camps and extermination
camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War
-The gulags (forced labour camps) of Stalin
-"One of the most powerful and murderous dictators in history, Stalin was the supreme ruler of the Soviet Union for a quarter of a century. His regime of terror caused the death and suffering of tens of millions, but he also oversaw the war machine that played a key role in the defeat of Nazism."
what has the failure of enlightenment led to?
The incredulity towards the metanarrative" (Jean-Francois Lyotard): we no longer believe so much in big ideas or ideologies!
-We are reluctant to believe that there ARE any intrinsic "rules" that are absolutes, damaging the prospect of a satisfactory deontological ethics system.
-Are moral problems tractable to human reason Are they, as Zygmunt Bauman insists, aporetic (are we at a loss, doubtful, raise objections)?
-Zygmunt Bauman is a serious critic of modernity (the era ushered in by the Enlightenment scholars).
-He suggest that if we use a moral rule (a reason) then morality goes to sleep (e.g. mandatory sentencing)
-He also suggested that 'society" and our experience of it distorts our basic morality.
-Society is so complex now that we are constantly having to create exceptions or establish free rules.
What is virtue ethics?
-focused on the character, or virtues of the person, not the action; that is who we are, not what we do.
-Happiness results from living a life of virtue.
-A Person with many moral virtues has a strong character
-A Person with strong character will do the right thing because it is consistent with their character.
-An action is right if and only if it is what an agent with a virtuous character would do when faced with a moral problem.
What does Aristotle say?
-expresses the opinion that the path to true happiness and genuine.
-flourishing as a human being lies in living a life of virtue.
-To have the potential of ever being happy in this way necessarily requires a good character, moral (or ethical) virtue (or excellence).
-He considered ethics as a practical rather than a theoretical study, that is one aimed at becoming good and doing good rather than just knowing the action is good.
What makes a person virtuous and how can this be cultivated?
-When, they exhibit the characteristics of: Productivity, Bravery,
Courage, Honesty. Moderation, Generosity, Loyalty, Tolerance, Fairness, Friendliness.
- cultivated by making deliberate choices to engage in
virtuous acts, and after a time, the virtue underlying these acts becomes part of one's character.
How can ethics be used during the development process?
-Important because once virtue has been developed, good decision‐making in difficult situations becomes instinctive, based on possessing virtue.
-Virtue is the ethics of becoming, a guide to improvement, the development of character, not an end product but a practice, an ongoing, never ending journey, the improvement of moral agency.
What are the strengths of virtue ethics?
Makes more sense to focus on virtues rather than obligations, rights and consequences. We should be motivated for good behaviour.
-Reduces the problem of impartiality and allows us to be partial towards certain people like our children and family.
-Reflects moral development and moral decision making develops over time.
-There are no irresolvable moral dilemmas (unlike Kantianism where there can be conflict between the perfect duties).
-Virtue ethics recognise the important role that emotions play in living a moral life. Virtuous people do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons, they feel satisfied doing good and feel upset when faced with difficult decisions (Quinn 2015).
Weakness of virtue ethics?
-Different people may have quite different conceptions of the virtues that help 'human flourishing'; as a society we cannot agree on which character traits are virtuous, and hence cannot agree on what a virtuous person would do in a particular situation.
-cannot be used to guide government policy since it focuses on the agent, rather the motives or consequence or the action itself.
-undermines attempts to hold people responsible for their bad actions. We are not born virtuous, moral and intellectual virtues develop over time and as a result of our upbringing, education and community: how can we hold an agent responsible if they acquire vices rather than virtues?
What are Kohlberg's six stages of moral development?
1. Pre-morality (direct conseuqneces):
>Stage 1- Punishment and obedience orientation (fear of punishment when deciding to do things right).
>Stage 2- Hedonistic orientation (doing it for personal gain, for reward).
2. conventional morality (please):
>Stage 3- Interpersonal concordance orientation (conforming to the views of the majority).
>Stage 4- Law/Order orientation (duty and helpful to society).
3. post-conventional morality (justice):
> Stage 5- social and legalistic orientation (following moral judgement rather than legal obligation)
>Stage 6- universal ethical principles (doing what is right because of our inner conscience, according to beliefs in justice, equality and sacredness in life)
What is moral agency?
-an individual's ability to make moral judgements based on some notion of right and wrong and to be held accountable for these actions.
-a being who is capable of acting with reference to right and wrong.
What is a professional?
A member of a profession or any person who earns their living from a specified professional activity.
What is a profession?
-a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards and who hold themselves out as, and are accepted by the public as possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognised body of learning derived from research, education and training at a high level, and who are prepared to apply this knowledge and exercise these skills in the interest of others.
How does professions and ethical codes relate?
-a code of ethics governs the activities
of each profession.
-Such codes require behaviour and practice beyond the personal moral obligations of an individual.
-They define and demand high standards of behaviour in respect to the services provided to the public and in dealing with professional colleagues.
-Further, these codes are enforced by the profession and are acknowledged and accepted by the community.
What is the Australian Computer Society?
-the recognised Australian
association for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) professionals, attracting a large and active membership from all levels of
the ICT industry.
- the public voice of the ICT profession and the guardian of professional ethics and standards in the ICT industry, with a commitment to the wider community to ensure the beneficial use of ICT.
What is the primacy of public interest?
-You will place the interests of the public above those of personal, business or
-The public interest takes precedence over personal, private and sectional interests, and any conflicts should be resolved in favour of the public interest. The public interest is taken to include matters of public health, safety and the environment.
-We can do this by: >Advising stakeholders as soon as possible of any conflicts of interest or conscientious objections that you have. >endeavouring to preserve the integrity, security, continuity and utility of ICT by respecting the intellectual property of others; and endeavour to preserve the confidentiality and privacy of the information of others.
How can we enhance the quality of life?
-You will strive to enhance the quality of life of those affected by your work.
-The development of ICT has had a significant impact on our society and way of life. Whilst this impact has been beneficial to a very great extent, like all technologies, ICT has also had some negative effects, and will continue to do so.
-An ethical approach
to how work is done will help to recognise and minimise these adverse effects.
-We can do this by:
> promoting equal access to the benefits of ICT by all members of society.
>protecting and promoting the health and safety of those affected by the person's work.
>attempting to increase the feelings of personal satisfaction, competence, and control of those affected by person's work.
What must be done to be honest?
-You will be honest in your representation of skills,
knowledge, services and products.
-Do not breach public trust in the profession or the specific trust of your
-Observance of utmost honesty and integrity must underlie all your professional decisions and actions.
-Circumstances will undoubtedly arise during the course of your professional career where it may appear to be beneficial for you to be deceptive in some way.
-This type of behaviour is not acceptable professional conduct.
-We can do this by:
>rejecting and not making any offer of bribery or inducement.
>not knowingly misleading a client or potential client as to the suitability of
a product or service;
-giving realistic estimates for projects under person's control.
-giving credit for work done by others where credit is due.
what must be done to be competent?
-You will work competently and diligently for your
-Accept only such work as you believe you are competent to perform, and do not hesitate to obtain additional expertise from appropriately qualified individuals where advisable.
-We can do this by:
>not misrepresenting skills or knowledge.
>making aware of relevant standards and
legislation, and act accordingly.
>accept responsibility for work.
What is Professional Development?
-You will enhance your own professional development, and that of your staff.
-We can do this by:
>Keeping yourself informed of new technologies, practices and standards as are relevant to your work. Others will expect you to provide special skills and advice; and in order to do so, you must keep your knowledge up‐to‐date.
>Taking action to ensure that your hard‐won knowledge and experience are passed on in such a way that the recipients not only improve their own effectiveness in their present work but also become keen to advance their capabilities and take on additional responsibilities.
>Continuing to upgrade your knowledge and skills.
>Encouraging your colleagues, employees and students to continue their own professional development.
What is professionalism?
-You will enhance the integrity of the ACS and the respect of its members for each other.
-The ICT industry is relatively new and characterised by rapid change.
-It has not had the opportunity to evolve over many decades and acquire its own standards and legislation.
-The Society is endeavouring to improve public confidence in the ICT industry.
-We can do this by:
>maintaining professional standards that improve and
enhance the industry's image, especially in the workplace.
>treating everyone with dignity and respect.
>not discriminating or harassing anyone.
>being aware that ACS can help resolve ethical dilemmas (it can also provide support for taking appropriate action, including whistle‐blowing, if you discover an ACS member or employer is engaging in unethical behaviour).
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