Beyond Naïveté: Ethics, Economics and Values
Dark, M. A framework for information security ethics education. Dejoie, R. Ethical issues in information systems.
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Russell Hardin rejects such arguments. He argues that it is possible to distinguish the moral impulse of utilitarianism which is "to define the right as good consequences and to motivate people to achieve these" from our ability to correctly apply rational principles that, among other things, "depend on the perceived facts of the case and on the particular moral actor's mental equipment. The moral impulse of utilitarianism is constant, but our decisions under it are contingent on our knowledge and scientific understanding.
From the beginning, utilitarianism has recognized that certainty in such matters is unobtainable and both Bentham and Mill said that it was necessary to rely on the tendencies of actions to bring about consequences. Moore , writing in , said: . We certainly cannot hope directly to compare their effects except within a limited future; and all the arguments, which have ever been used in Ethics, and upon which we commonly act in common life, directed to shewing that one course is superior to another, are apart from theological dogmas confined to pointing out such probable immediate advantages….
An ethical law has the nature not of a scientific law but of a scientific prediction : and the latter is always merely probable, although the probability may be very great. Act utilitarianism not only requires everyone to do what they can to maximize utility, but to do so without any favouritism. Mill said, "As between his own happiness and that of others, utilitarianism requires him to be as strictly impartial as a disinterested and benevolent spectator.
The well-being of strangers counts just as much as that of friends, family or self. Hooker describes two aspects to the problem: act utilitarianism requires huge sacrifices from those who are relatively better off and also requires sacrifice of your own good even when the aggregate good will be only slightly increased. One response to the problem is to accept its demands. This is the view taken by Peter Singer, who says: "No doubt we do instinctively prefer to help those who are close to us. Few could stand by and watch a child drown; many can ignore the avoidable deaths of children in Africa or India.
The question, however, is not what we usually do, but what we ought to do, and it is difficult to see any sound moral justification for the view that distance, or community membership, makes a crucial difference to our obligations. Others argue that a moral theory that is so contrary to our deeply held moral convictions must either be rejected or modified.
In Satisficing Consequentialism, Michael Slote argues for a form of utilitarianism where "an act might qualify as morally right through having good enough consequences, even though better consequences could have been produced. Samuel Scheffler takes a different approach and amends the requirement that everyone be treated the same. Kagan suggests that such a procedure might be justified on the grounds that "a general requirement to promote the good would lack the motivational underpinning necessary for genuine moral requirements" and, secondly, that personal independence is necessary for the existence of commitments and close personal relations and that "the value of such commitments yields a positive reason for preserving within moral theory at least some moral independence for the personal point of view.
Robert Goodin takes yet another approach and argues that the demandingness objection can be "blunted" by treating utilitarianism as a guide to public policy rather than one of individual morality. He suggests that many of the problems arise under the traditional formulation because the conscientious utilitarian ends up having to make up for the failings of others and so contributing more than their fair share. Harsanyi argues that the objection overlooks the fact that "people attach considerable utility to freedom from unduly burdensome moral obligations… most people will prefer a society with a more relaxed moral code, and will feel that such a society will achieve a higher level of average utility—even if adoption of such a moral code should lead to some losses in economic and cultural accomplishments so long as these losses remain within tolerable limits.
This means that utilitarianism, if correctly interpreted, will yield a moral code with a standard of acceptable conduct very much below the level of highest moral perfection, leaving plenty of scope for supererogatory actions exceeding this minimum standard. The objection that "utilitarianism does not take seriously the distinction between persons"  came to prominence in with the publication of John Rawls ' A Theory of Justice.
The concept is also important in animal rights advocate Richard Ryder 's rejection of utilitarianism, in which he talks of the "boundary of the individual", through which neither pain nor pleasure may pass. But this is absurd. Individuals have wants, not mankind; individuals seek satisfaction, not mankind. A person's satisfaction is not part of any greater satisfaction. A response to this criticism is to point out that whilst seeming to resolve some problems it introduces others. Intuitively, there are many cases where people do want to take the numbers involved into account.
As Alastair Norcross has said, "suppose that Homer is faced with the painful choice between saving Barney from a burning building or saving both Moe and Apu from the building…it is clearly better for Homer to save the larger number, precisely because it is a larger number… Can anyone who really considers the matter seriously honestly claim to believe that it is worse that one person die than that the entire sentient population of the universe be severely mutilated?
Clearly not. It may be possible to uphold the distinction between persons whilst still aggregating utility, if it accepted that people can be influenced by empathy. The philosopher John Taurek also argued that the idea of adding happiness or pleasures across persons is quite unintelligible and that the numbers of persons involved in a situation are morally irrelevant.
He argues that each person can only lose one person's happiness or pleasures. There isn't five times more loss of happiness or pleasure when five die: who would be feeling this happiness or pleasure? Parfit  and others  have criticized Taurek's line, and it continues to be discussed. An early criticism, which was addressed by Mill, is that if time is taken to calculate the best course of action it is likely that the opportunity to take the best course of action will already have passed.
Mill responded that there had been ample time to calculate the likely effects: . During all that time, mankind have been learning by experience the tendencies of actions; on which experience all the prudence, as well as all the morality of life, are dependent…It is a strange notion that the acknowledgment of a first principle is inconsistent with the admission of secondary ones. To inform a traveller respecting the place of his ultimate destination, is not to forbid the use of landmarks and direction-posts on the way.
The proposition that happiness is the end and aim of morality, does not mean that no road ought to be laid down to that goal, or that persons going thither should not be advised to take one direction rather than another. Men really ought to leave off talking a kind of nonsense on this subject, which they would neither talk nor listen to on other matters of practical concernment.
More recently, Hardin has made the same point. Parallel considerations in other realms are dismissed with eminently good sense. Lord Devlin notes, 'if the reasonable man " worked to rule " by perusing to the point of comprehension every form he was handed, the commercial and administrative life of the country would creep to a standstill. It is such considerations that lead even act utilitarians to rely on "rules of thumb", as Smart  has called them. One of the oldest criticisms of utilitarianism is that it ignores our special obligations.
For example, if we were given the choice between saving two random people or our mother, most would choose to save their mothers. According to utilitarianism, such a natural action is immoral. The first to respond to this was an early utilitarian and friend of Jeremy Bentham named William Godwin , who held in his work Enquiry Concerning Political Justice that such personal needs should be disregarded in favour of the greatest good for the greatest number of people. He wrote,. Supposing the chambermaid had been my wife, my mother or my benefactor.
That would not alter the truth of the proposition. The life of two would still be more valuable than that of the chambermaid; and justice- pure, unadulterated justice- would still have preferred that which was most valuable. Utilitarianism's assertion that well-being is the only thing with intrinsic moral value has been attacked by various critics.
Karl Marx , in Das Kapital , criticises Bentham's utilitarianism on the grounds that it does not appear to recognise that people have different joys in different socioeconomic contexts: . With the driest naivete he takes the modern shopkeeper, especially the English shopkeeper, as the normal man. Whatever is useful to this queer normal man, and to his world, is absolutely useful.
This yard-measure, then, he applies to past, present, and future. The Christian religion, e. With such rubbish has the brave fellow, with his motto, "nulla dies sine linea [no day without a line]", piled up mountains of books. Pope John Paul II , following his personalist philosophy , argued that a danger of utilitarianism is that it tends to make persons, just as much as things, the object of use.
Roger Scruton is a deontologist, and believes that utilitarianism does not give duty the place that it needs inside our ethical judgements. He asks us to consider the dilemma of Anna Karenina , who had to choose between her love of Vronsky and her duty towards her husband and her son. Scruton wrote, "Suppose Anna were to reason that it is better to satisfy two healthy young people and frustrate one old one than to satisfy one old person and frustrate two young ones, by a factor of 2.
What would we think, then, of her moral seriousness? A critic of utilitarianism, in Innocence and Consequentialism Jacqueline Laing argued in that utilitarianism has insufficient conceptual apparatus to comprehend the very idea of innocence, a feature central to any comprehensive ethical theory. He notes that, although he speaks of the happiness of communities, "the happiness of a people is made up of the happiness of single persons; and the quantity of happiness can only be augmented by increasing the number of the percipients, or the pleasure of their perceptions" and that if extreme cases, such as people held as slaves, are excluded the amount of happiness will usually be in proportion to the number of people.
Consequently, "the decay of population is the greatest evil that a state can suffer; and the improvement of it the object which ought, in all countries, to be aimed at in preference to every other political purpose whatsoever. Since Sidgwick raised the question it has been studied in detail and philosophers have argued that using either total or average happiness can lead to objectionable results. According to Derek Parfit , using total happiness falls victim to the repugnant conclusion , whereby large numbers of people with very low but non-negative utility values can be seen as a better goal than a population of a less extreme size living in comfort.
In other words, according to the theory, it is a moral good to breed more people on the world for as long as total happiness rises. On the other hand, measuring the utility of a population based on the average utility of that population avoids Parfit's repugnant conclusion but causes other problems. For example, bringing a moderately happy person into a very happy world would be seen as an immoral act; aside from this, the theory implies that it would be a moral good to eliminate all people whose happiness is below average, as this would raise the average happiness.
William Shaw suggests that the problem can be avoided if a distinction is made between potential people, who need not concern us, and actual future people, who should concern us. He says, "utilitarianism values the happiness of people, not the production of units of happiness. Accordingly, one has no positive obligation to have children. However, if you have decided to have a child, then you have an obligation to give birth to the happiest child you can. Utilitarianism is typically taken to assess the rightness or wrongness of an action by considering just the consequences of that action.
Bentham very carefully distinguishes motive from intention and says that motives are not in themselves good or bad but can be referred to as such on account of their tendency to produce pleasure or pain. He adds that, "from every kind of motive, may proceed actions that are good, others that are bad, and others that are indifferent. He who saves a fellow creature from drowning does what is morally right, whether his motive be duty, or the hope of being paid for his trouble.
However, with intention the situation is more complex. In a footnote printed in the second edition of Utilitarianism , Mill says: "the morality of the action depends entirely upon the intention—that is, upon what the agent wills to do. But it is the intention, that is, the foresight of consequences, which constitutes the moral rightness or wrongness of the act.
The correct interpretation of Mill's footnote is a matter of some debate. The difficulty in interpretation centres around trying to explain why, since it is consequences that matter, intentions should play a role in the assessment of the morality of an action but motives should not. One possibility "involves supposing that the 'morality' of the act is one thing, probably to do with the praiseworthiness or blameworthiness of the agent, and its rightness or wrongness another. An interpretation given by Roger Crisp draws on a definition given by Mill in A System of Logic , where he says that an "intention to produce the effect, is one thing; the effect produced in consequence of the intention, is another thing; the two together constitute the action.
Dancy notes that this does not explain why intentions count but motives do not. A third interpretation is that an action might be considered a complex action consisting of several stages and it is the intention that determines which of these stages are to be considered part of the action. He wrote in his System of Logic I iv.
Finally, whilst motives may not play a role in determining the morality of an action, this does not preclude utilitarians from fostering particular motives if doing so will increase overall happiness. Are we to extend our concern to all the beings capable of pleasure and pain whose feelings are affected by our conduct? The former view is the one adopted by Bentham and Mill, and I believe by the Utilitarian school generally: and is obviously most in accordance with the universality that is characteristic of their principle Moreover, John Stuart Mill himself, in Whewell on Moral Philosophy , defends Bentham's advocacy for animal rights, calling it a 'noble anticipation', and writing: "Granted that any practice causes more pain to animals than it gives pleasure to man; is that practice moral or immoral?
And if, exactly in proportion as human beings raise their heads out of the slough of selfishness, they do not with one voice answer 'immoral', let the morality of the principle of utility be for ever condemned. The utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer and many other animal rights activists have continued to argue that the well-being of all sentient beings ought to be seriously considered.
Singer suggests that rights are conferred according to the level of a creature's self-awareness, regardless of their species. He adds that humans tend to be speciesist discriminatory against non-humans in ethical matters, and argues that, on utilitarianism, speciesism cannot be justified as there is no rational distinction that can be made between the suffering of humans and the suffering of nonhuman animals; all suffering ought to be reduced.
Singer writes: "The racist violates the principle of equality by giving greater weight to the interests of members of his own race, when there is a clash between their interests and the interests of those of another race. Similarly the speciesist allows the interests of his own species to override the greater interests of members of other species.
The pattern is the same in each case Most human beings are speciesists. In his edition of Animal Liberation , Peter Singer said that he no longer ate oysters and mussels, because although the creatures might not suffer, they might, it's not really known, and it's easy enough to avoid eating them in any case  and this aspect of seeking better alternatives is a prominent part of utilitarianism. This view still might be contrasted with deep ecology , which holds that an intrinsic value is attached to all forms of life and nature, whether currently assumed to be sentient or not.
According to utilitarianism, the forms of life that are unable to experience anything akin to either enjoyment or discomfort are denied moral status, because it is impossible to increase the happiness or reduce the suffering of something that cannot feel happiness or suffer.
Singer writes:. The capacity for suffering and enjoying things is a prerequisite for having interests at all, a condition that must be satisfied before we can speak of interests in any meaningful way. It would be nonsense to say that it was not in the interests of a stone to be kicked along the road by a schoolboy. A stone does not have interests because it cannot suffer. Nothing that we can do to it could possibly make any difference to its welfare. A mouse, on the other hand, does have an interest in not being tormented, because it will suffer if it is.
If a being suffers, there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into consideration. No matter what the nature of the being, the principle of equality requires that its suffering be counted equally with the like suffering—in so far as rough comparisons can be made—of any other being. If a being is not capable of suffering, or of experiencing enjoyment or happiness, there is nothing to be taken into account. Thus, the moral value of one-celled organisms, as well as some multi-cellular organisms, and natural entities like a river, is only in the benefit they provide to sentient beings.
Similarly, utilitarianism places no direct intrinsic value on biodiversity , although the benefits that biodiversity bring to sentient beings may mean that, on utilitarianism, biodiversity ought to be maintained in general. In John Stuart Mill's essay "On Nature"  he argues that the welfare of wild animals is to be considered when making utilitarian judgments. Tyler Cowen argues that, if individual animals are carriers of utility, then we should consider limiting the predatory activity of carnivores relative to their victims: "At the very least, we should limit current subsidies to nature's carnivores.
An article in the American journal for Economics has addressed the issue of Utilitarian ethics within redistribution of wealth. The journal stated that taxation of the wealthy is the best way to make use of the disposable income they receive. This says that the money creates utility for the most people by funding government services. Peter Singer, for example, argues that donating some of one's income to charity could help to save a life or cure somebody from a poverty-related illness, which is a much better use of the money as it brings someone in extreme poverty far more happiness than it would bring to oneself if one lived in relative comfort.
However, Singer not only argues that one ought to donate a significant proportion of one's income to charity, but also that this money should be directed to the most cost-effective charities, in order to bring about the greatest good for the greatest number, consistent with utilitarian thinking. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article discusses utilitarian ethical and philosophical theory.
For the architectural theory, see Form follows function. Key proponents.
Beyond Naïveté: Ethics, Economics, and Values - Rohnn B. Sanderson, Marc A. Pugliese - Google книги
Types of utilitarianism. Key concepts. Demandingness objection Mere addition paradox Paradox of hedonism Utility monster. Related topics. Rational choice theory Game theory Social choice Neoclassical economics. See also: Hedonism. Main article: Jeremy Bentham. Main article: John Stuart Mill.
Main article: Two-level utilitarianism. Main article: Preference utilitarianism. Main article: Negative utilitarianism. Main article: Average and total utilitarianism. Further information: Speciesism and Animal welfare. Altruism ethical doctrine Applied ethics Anti-Utilitarianism Appeal to consequences Bounded rationality Charity International Classical liberalism Cost—benefit analysis Decision analysis Decision theory Effective altruism Gross national happiness List of utilitarians Pleasure principle psychology Prioritarianism Probabilistic reasoning Relative utilitarianism State consequentialism Uncertainty Utility monster Utilitarian bioethics Utilitarian cake-cutting.
Utilitarianism: A Very Short Introduction , p. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. The Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy. Oxford University Press. In Schneewind, J. Moral Philosophy from Montaigne to Kant. Cambridge University Press. William and Mary Quarterly. Sidgwick's Ethics and Victorian Moral Philosophy.
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Dover Philosophical Classics. Dover Publications. Adamant Media Corporation. The Growth of Philosophic Radicalism. They include not only physical, but psychological, emotional, cognitive, moral, institutional, environmental, and political well-being or injury, or degradation. The distinction is subtle but important. Utilitarians consider likely injuries or benefits to discrete individuals, then sum those up to measure aggregate social impact.
Common good ethicists will also look at the impact of a practice on morally significant institutions that are critical to the life of communities, for example, on government, the justice system, or education, or on supporting ecosystems and ecologies. Common good frameworks also have more in common with cultural perspectives, such as those widespread in East Asia, in which promoting social harmony and stable functioning may be seen as more ethically important than maximizing the autonomy and welfare of isolated individuals.
Reconciling the utilitarian and common good approaches is complex; for practical purposes we can view them as complementary lenses that provoke us to consider both individual and communal welfare, even when these are in tension. By now, most technologists have had to abandon this level of ethical naivete about issues like technology addiction. Leading device manufacturers now increasingly admit this by building tools to fight tech addiction.
We have graduated to a more sophisticated consequentialist perspective. Consequentialist Questions for Technologists that Illuminate the Ethical Landscape: Who will be directly affected by this project? Does it do the opposite, by sacrificing the welfare or key interests of individuals for the common good? Do the risks of harm from this project fall disproportionately on the least well-off or least powerful in society? Will the benefits of this project go disproportionately to those who already enjoy more than their share of social advantages and privileges?
Have we fallen victim to any false dilemmas or imagined constraints? Overview Virtue ethics is more difficult to encapsulate than either deontological or consequentialist frameworks, which can be a hindrance but also a source of practical richness and power.
Aristotle B. It is an endless task of skillfully navigating a messy, open-ended, constantly shifting social landscape in which we must find ways to maintain and support human flourishing with others, and in which novel circumstances and contexts are always emerging that call upon us to adapt our existing ethical heuristics, or invent new, bespoke ones on the spot. Virtue ethics is benefiting from a recent renewal of popularity, especially among technology ethicists, precisely for its power to navigate unprecedented ethical landscapes for which our existing moral rules and principles may not have adequately prepared us.
Virtue ethics does offer some guidance to structure the ethical landscape. For example, a soldier who has a highly-developed virtue of courage will in one context run headlong into a field of open fire while others hang back in fear; but there are other contexts in which a soldier who did that would not be courageous, but rash and stupid, endangering the whole unit. It also asks us to describe the model of moral excellence in our field that we are striving to emulate, or even surpass.
What happens when we discover that an accomplished, highly regarded engineer possessed of great technical prowess and intelligence has habitually been falsifying documentation out of laziness or spite? Or using subpar materials to meet the customer specs or delivery date? Or ignoring, dismissing, and covering up serious risks to public safety or welfare that junior members of the team brought to her attention? Even if no one was yet harmed by these habitual failings, discovering them would greatly diminish the professional and moral excellence of that person, and we would be right to hesitate to put them in charge of the next big project.
Finally, virtue ethics is a type of moral framework that cuts across many cultural traditions.