UNIT10: Science, Technology and Ethics
Ethics: A system of moral principle or values Principle: A basic truth, law, or assumption Value: A principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile
Focus of Ethical Dilemmas in S&T
Ethical issues related to science and technology usually focus on the following: Medicine Military Economics
.g. growth hormone Medicine Transplants Life Extending Machines Fertility
.Ethics in Medicine:
Biotechnology Cloning Gene Therapy Altering species for enhanced production. e.
Chemical Warfare.Ethics and the Military
Weapons of Mass Destruction Nuclear Testing Human subjects in Military Experiments.e. LSD. i. Nuclear testing
Ethics and Economics
Pollution for Profit Whistle Blowers Monopolies Advertising Buying Influence
Key concepts. 1. Ethical Theories and Arguments
. and principles (What is life? What does it mean to kill) 4. criteria. The facts of the matter 2.Ethical Decision Making in S&T
Generally ethical issues can be usefully clarified if the following considerations to ethical decision and judgment making are applied. Affected Patients and Their Interests (all affected parties) 3.
moral leaders.Ethical Theories and Arguments
The theories and arguments for ethical behavior in science and technology have developed over many centuries. employers. The sources and foundations for our ethical and moral behavior are usually traced to religion. even ancient philosophers.
Teleology (Consequence Ethics) Deontology (Duty Ethics) Personal Ethics
. Generally speaking our ethical decisions can be associated with one of three models ethical decision making. schools. family.
Ayn Rand (egoistic) Relative Consideration of Consequences People oriented
Selected Altruism (one or a few)
Utilitarianism (Greatest number of people)
. Mills (Altruistic).Three Classes of Ethical Theory
Teleological (consequence ethics)
Jaspers.S. Lewis. C.Three Classes of Ethical Theory
Subjective (Personal Ethics)
Ex: Kierkegaard. K. Nietzche. Emil Brunner Nonrational Existential
Three Classes of Ethical Theory
Deontological (Duty Ethics)
Example: I. Kant
Absolutist Legalistic Follow Maxims
Sources of Maxims
Principle oriented A priori guidance Importance of goodwill
alienation and ugliness (bad) .Teleology (Consequence Ethics)
Teleology (Consequence Ethics): determination of Ethics): rightness or wrongness based on consequences Utilitarianism . Jeremy Bentham.
.the view that an action or policy is right if and only if it is likely to produce at least as great a surplus of good over evil consequences as any available alternative Hedonic Utilitarians: 19th century. Pleasure is the only good and pain the only bad Ideal Utilitarians: Friendship and beauty (good) and opposites.
For example. right or wrong regardless of consequences. regardless of the consequences
.Deontology (Duty Ethics)
Deontology (duty ethics): Certain actions are ethics): inherently or intrinsically right or wrong . telling lies or breaking a promise are intrinsically wrong.that is.
3. 2.Six Classifications of S&T Ethical Conflicts
1. 4. 6.
Violation of Established World Orders: (Natural or Social Order of Things): Violations of Supposedly Exception less Moral Principles Distribution of Science or Technology Related Benefits Infliction of Harm or Exposure to Significant Risks of Harm without Prior Consent Infliction of Harm or Exposure to Significant Risks of Harm without Prior Consent Science or Technology-Engendered ³Positive TechnologyRights´
) Bovine Growth Hormone
.´ Biomedicine Genetic Engineering In vitro fertilization Animal Science:Transgenic Animals (Beefalo. etc.Violation of Established World Orders: (Natural or Social Order of Things):
Some ethical conflicts arise from the fact that scientific or technological breakthroughs make possible actions that some believe violate some ³established natural or social order.
therefore. TV Torah. NY. Technology is seen as artificial. Examples: Hasidic Community of Brooklyn.Ethical Responses to Violations of Established World Orders: (Natural or Social Order of Things):
Teleologists: Concern for safety of humans who consume from an ³unnatural alliance´ Deontologists: The ³natural order of things´ is intrinsically good.
. Birth control is forbidden on the basis of the Torah. its use to change the natural order is bad. Humans are part of the natural order. Wahibi Muslim sect. violates sacred order related to the Koran. Some opposition to intervention in the ³natural´ or ³social´ order is based on ³sacredness´. intervention of humans is natural. Those in favor of this technology might counter by saying that God created the natural order. ³sacredness´. Therefore.
Any course of action sure to result in the destruction of innocent civilian lives in time of war is ethically impermissible. Life must always be preserved (Kavorkian) 3. or withdrawal of particular scientific or technological procedures that are seen by some as violating one or another important moral principles that is believed exception less.
. failure to use. A human being must never be treated merely as a means to
an end (harvesting of fetal tissue). Iraq 2.
Examples: 1.Violations of Supposedly Exception less Moral Principles
Ethical issues related to the use.
particularly so with respect to medical benefits. Motivated to save life 2. The ethical issue often centers on ³who should receive the benefits and who will not. Show up for post transplant appointments 5.´ Often life and death decisions. Post treatment quality of life 6. 1. whether diagnostic tests. Capable of adhering to strict diet 4. Understands the benefits 3. Contribution of treatment candidate to community
.Distribution of Science or Technology Related Benefits
Benefits of developments in science and technology allocated in ways that do not seem equitable to one or another social groups. Example: Transplant criteria often based on middle class values. or therapeutic drugs devices or services. surgical procedures.
more beneficial. non-life-or-death non-life-ortreatments. that is that guaranteeing everyone who needs an expensive exotic treatment may preclude many more individuals from getting less expensive. socioTeleologists: May find the concept of ³absolute right´ potentially dangerous. it is morally unthinkable to deny a person treatment simply because of socio-economic status.
.Ethical Responses to Distribution of Science or Technology Related Benefits
Deontologists: Medical care is a basic human right. Individuals do not have the moral right to draw. on public or insurance company funds to have their lives extended. regardless of the quality sustained life. therefore. without limit.
Examples: Research on animals. production of crosscrossborder and multi generational pollution.containing workplaces.Infliction of Harm or Exposure to Significant Risks of Harm without Prior Consent
Developments in science and technology while undertaken to benefit one group. and the operation of hair trigger military defense systems. the maintenance of carcinogen .
. may inflict harm or impose significant risk of harm on another without the latter¶s prior consent.
Deontologists: Research using animals as morally wrong because animals are not capable of consenting.
.Responses to Infliction of Harm or Exposure to
Significant Risks of Harm without Prior Consent
Teleologists: on cost-benefit grounds. Rationale: since animals cannot consent to anything. activities that costpromise future benefits for humans but inflict suffering on animals are ethically permissible and perhaps obligatory. they are different in a moral ly relevant respect from humans.
The critical point is that this conflict would not exist without technology. Example: Genetic tests showing predisposition for certain diseases. Should disclosure be made? What actions are appropriate?
.Science or Technology Precipitated Value Conflicts:
Scientific or technological advances allow something new to be done that precipitates a value conflict. Example: Human life preservation and death with dignity.
. Technology is often perceived as a threat to rights of privacy.Science or Technology-Engendered ³Positive TechnologyRights
Irrevocable Entitlements: Right to ³life´ and ³liberty´ Entitlements: Privacy is a part of liberty.
on the scientist or technologist to make the ³ethical decision´
.Other Issues: Ethics in Science and Technology
Public Harm of Aggregation: Accumulation of small transgressions by human¶s results in an aggregation that has significant consequences. Example: Example: The aggregate pollution of 400 million automobiles. perhaps unfairly. Practitioner Problems: Falling within the province of ³Professional Ethics´ we often rely.
Example: Morton Thiokal .S. Design of Obsolescence Half-
. botched installations. Public Health Service.Other Issues: Ethics in Science and Technology (cont. Whistle Blowing: Cheap unreliable designs. 1. 432 Black Males 1950s CIA.)
Problems of Execution: Edward Wenk¶s three kinds of ethical issues faced by engineers. faulty manufacturing. 239 tests 2. Distributive Justice: Should a project be given approval if a non trivial degree of risk to health and safety could exist without the consent of those within the impact area? Examples: Hydroelectric dam in an unstable area. U.O-rings 1986 Challenger 3. Dilemma often relates to what constitutes ³acceptable risk´ 1932. ³mind controlling experiments´ 19491949-1969 Biological Warfare. etc. Consideration of Long-term Effects: LongExample: Half-life of nuclear waste. testing shortcuts. misrepresented results.
cultural. 4.social. Prudent: Embodying and attitude toward safety
. as well as economic and physical on all participants.The Challenge of Contemporary Science and Technology to Traditional Ethical Theory
Developments in contemporary science and technology require revisions in traditional ethical thinking and decision making. Comprehensive: designed to attend to all harm and well being related effects . Focused on harm and well-being: directed to identifying and wellweighing the importance of consequences likely to influence the harm or well being of affected patients 2. case-by5. McGinn Proposal Qualified Neo Consequntialism: Assessments must have the following Neo Consequentialist Qualities: 1. Refined: designed to be sensitive to subtle effects 3. Discriminating: Designed to enable scientific and technological options to be examined on a case-by-case basis.