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MICRO- AND MACROETHICS ==> SYSTEM ETHICS? PIRE workshop April 25, 2013 Indira Nair Professor Emeritus, Carnegie Mellon
2 Ethics • Long standing field of thought and inquiry articulated most in Western philosophy • Aristotle (Plato & Socrates) : ethical virtues, complex social, emotional skills (justice, courage, temperance…) • Main concern: How to live well • Informed by the ethos of the culture social, disciplinary
3 Professional Ethics • General standards that serve as a reminder of the variety of responsibilities assumed by all members of a profession- part of “certification” • Primacy of obligations differ according to the type of service the profession provides to society • Articulated in the codes of the professions – often as individual behavior
4 Codes taught and sworn to explicitly? • Medicine -Oath of Hippocrates – oldest, ~400 BC ; most medical schools have swearing-in, but now modern version of written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Tufts, as capabilities and mores have changed • “I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings…” • Engineering – ethics part of the PE exam (7%); one of ABE criteria for engineering programs • Law- ethics course, MPRE (multistate professional responsibility exam) required. Continuing ed requirement includes ethics (amount varies state-to-state)
5 As we go through…note • Difference in character of codes – • professional vs disciplinary; • practice vs research • Recipient individual vs. group • Opportunities for integrating, generative learning, enabling students’ metacognition
6 Codes of disciplines/ professions: Engineering 1: NSPE Canons, Rules of Practice, Professional Obligations “Engineers, in the fulfillment of their professional duties, shall: • Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public. . . Engineers shall perform services only in the areas of their competence. . . continue professional development… “d. Engineers are encouraged to adhere to the principles of sustainable development in order to protect the environment for future generations. under serving the public interest. ” (SD defined in footnote)
7 Engineering 2: ASCE Canon 1, e & f Engineers shall hold paramount…. e. Engineers should seek opportunities to be of constructive service in civic affairs and work for the advancement of the safety, health and well-being of their communities, and the protection of the environment through the practice of sustainable development. f. Engineers should be committed to improving the environment by adherence to the principles of sustainable development so as to enhance the quality of life of the general public.
8 ASCE definition of SD In October 2009, the ASCE Board of Direction adopted the following definition of Sustainable Development: “Sustainable Development is the process of applying natural, human, and economic resources to enhance the safety, welfare, and quality of life for all of the society while maintaining the availability of the remaining natural resources. ” Local vs. global and the engineer
9 Code of Ethics – Planning – AICP – “ACTIVE” Aspirational Principles, rules of conduct, procedural provisions C and D. “. . primary obligation. . serve the public interest …owe our allegiance to a conscientiously attained concept of the public interest. . formulated through continuous and open debate” a) always be conscious of the rights of others. b) special concern for the long-range consequences of present actions. c) special attention to the interrelatedness of decisions f) seek social justice by working to expand choice and opportunity for all persons, recognizing a special responsibility to plan for the needs of the disadvantaged and to promote racial and economic integration. We shall urge the alteration of policies, institutions, and decisions that oppose such needs. g) We shall promote excellence of design and endeavor to conserve and preserve the integrity and heritage of the natural and built environment.
10 Public Administration - ASPA …the spirit of responsible professionalism within its membership and to increase awareness and commitment to ethical principles and standards • Advance the Public Interest. . . above service to oneself. • Uphold the Constitution and the Law. Respect and support while seeking to improve laws and policies to promote the public good. • Promote participation. Inform the public and encourage their active engagement in governance. . open, transparent and responsive, and respect and assist • Strengthen social equity. Treat all persons with fairness, justice, and equality and respect individual differences, rights, and freedoms. Act affirmatively to reduce unfairness, injustice, . . • Fully Inform and Advise. Provide accurate, honest, comprehensive, and timely. • Demonstrate commitment to duty, principle, and personal integrity. . • Promote Ethical Organizations • Strive for Professional Excellence: Strengthen individual capabilities to act competently and ethically and encourage the professional development of others. “
11 Public Health Ethics • Derived from biomedical ethics, but for practice in community Foundational principles (Baum et al. , 2007) Population-level utility Evidence Justice/Fairness Accountability Costs/efficiencies Political feasibility (& cultural acceptance) Compare with biomedical: Autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, justice/fairness, Utility Caring
12 Disciplinary Code of ethics – Social sciences research NCESSRH – India- motivated by public health and human subject concerns, “maximization of public interest and of social justice”: Research is a social activity carried out for the benefit of society. It should be undertaken with the motivation of public interest and social justice. AAA – issues: cultural relativism and intervention: “research… primary ethical obligations to the people species, and materials they study and to the people with whom they work. . Supersedes the goal of seeking new knowledge and can lead to decisions not to undertake or to discontinue…”
13 Approaches/ frameworks • Utilitarian Approach: ethical action is the one that provides the • • most good or does the least harm, or greatest balance of good over harm. Rights approach: Human dignity ==> right to be treated as ends and not merely as means to other ends; rights imply duties, and to respect others' rights. Fairness or Justice approach: treat all human beings equally-or if unequally, then fairly based on some standard Common goods approach: community is a good in itself ==>interlocking relationships of society as basis of ethical reasoning; respect and compassion for all others-especially the vulnerable-are requirements. Virtue approach: consistent with ideal virtues, like honesty, courage, compassion, generosity, tolerance, love, fidelity, integrity, fairness, self-control, and prudence
14 Tensions and Questions; frames of reference • individual vs collective • one to many; variability: “engineering is social experimentation” • One set of principles in engineering ethics: competence, Awareness, Accountability, Autonomy • Principle in anthropology: intervention (People primary) • Long-term impacts, uncertainties – to what extent is an engineer responsible for unforeseen side effects? (Important in systems) To what extent is it the design engineer’s obligation to predict possible long-term consequences? ( Jonas) • Endpoint focused on: • humans, environment • “sustainable wellbeing”, including correct metrics • present, future • Definitions of “good”, “bad”
15 Micro- and Macro- ethics Most engineering and planning, public administration, ethics focused on individual values, actions and behaviors. Dilemmas in terms of frames and scales: Individual – professional – social + interactions Consequences of policy, planning , development Issues due to: • scale in time and space/ organization • effects removed in time and space • individuals working within systems • System boundaries Micro – and macro-scales introduced for engineering to sort ethical questions
16 Micro- and Macro- ethics (2) • Professional ethics – micro perspective, but. . • Codes change, incorporating social changes • Role responsibilities change • Research Ethics: micro- and macro- depending on context • Anticipatory ethics – • macro-, • “hoped-for” end state, aspirational • social, collective, engaged decision making • Interdisciplinary • Has to include time evolution of states, often left out
17 Micro- and Macro- ethics (2): teaching in context • Self efficacy in solving real problems: Vital to life-long learning • Promotes systems thinking while recognizing action modes (possibilities and constraints) as professionals, citizens, individuals • Four desirable outcomes (Davis, ethicist, 1999): increased ethical sensitivity; increased knowledge of relevant standards of conduct; improved ethical judgment; greater ability to act ethically • Ethical responsibility (Winner, political philosopher): more than leading honest. . life, more than wise choices. Moral obligations must include willingness to engage others in defining the crucial choices…”
18 Tensions and Questions; frames of reference (2) Building expertise AND systems thinking • Both possible – question of pedagogy and sorting • Teaching frameworks, and decision making as part of disciplinary education, important to cultivating ownership of knowledge and self efficacy Integrating micro- and macro ethics part of a mental model for: • Navigating complex systems – distinguish for the student • Decision making (behavioral psychology important) • Agency leading to action • Developing a system ethics
19 Ethic of Care – one integrative framework • “a species activity that includes everything that we do to maintain, continue and repair our ‘world’ so that we can live in it as well as possible. That would include our bodies, our selves, and our environment, all of which we seek to interweave in a complex, lifesustaining web. ” • - Joan Tronto and Berenice Fisher
22 System Ethics – anticipatory macro-ethics • Individual --> collective group/ community --> • combined systems – ecological, economic, cultural/ political • Integrative, starts with systems thinking • But, anticipate interactions and emergent behavior. Balancing interests and wellbeing becomes complex.