re: Morality and Ethics - Caring is Everything VIEW POST


Although we commonly understand cost-benefit analysis to be somewhat utilitarian, and as such incompatible with more moral viewpoints, for example those focused on deontological concepts such as ethics, and putting a 'value' against potentially life-changing access or effect of new tools might initially seem somewhat impersonal, I can certainly see the use of it.

Not really sure what you mean by this here? Ethics isn't really a deontological concept. Utilitarianism is a Moral/Ethical Theory.

There are three major forms of normative ethics: consequentialism (of which Utilitarianism is a part), deontology (of which Kantianism and Divine Law are a part), and Virtue Ethics (of which Aristotelianism is a part).

Personally I have more of an interest in Virtue Ethics which focuses on the inherent character of a person rather than on specific actions, so that would be an interesting way to explore these questions.

Thanks for the post, Ethics doesn't come up quite often enough in the Software field, and does not typically become a focus till after something questionable has happened.


Hi @tcolligan-ap! Thanks for the comment.

Sorry I was a bit vague there, I was referencing deontological ethics, i.e. the way an action's morality can be judged based on rules or metrics. I hope that is clearer now!

I completely agree that Virtue Ethics is also an interesting way to look at some of these questions (though obviously far more personal).

You have a very good point that questions around ethics seem to only be asked after an incident. I hope that one day soon we will have mitigated the risk of this happening again (and repeatedly) by being more mindful about ethics and relentlessly asking ourselves questions!

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