Final%20Review.F10 - Review for Final Exam PHIL/ENGR...

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PHIL/ENGR 482—Fall, 2010 1. Review the factual/conceptual/application/moral distinctions and the main ideas about RP and utilitarianism. Also, the distinction between provisional and all-things-considered judgments is important. For example, provisionally, bribery is always wrong, but there may be occasions when, all things considered, it is permissible. The distinction between the RP and utilitarian accounts of common morality is important. For RP, the basic reason for morality is to protect individuals from others. For utilitarianism, the basic reason for morality is to promote human well-being. Know some of the areas in which each of these theories seems to give an inadequate account of some aspects of common morality. The fact that there is no single theory that can give a completely adequate account of common morality suggests that there is a basic tension in common morality itself between protecting individuals and promoting overall human welfare. This tension is reflected in many moral problems, such as the controversy over privacy and the two justifications of whistleblowing. 2. Computer Ethics (Dr. Daugherity) (Chapter 5) The two major topics here are privacy and ownership. Computers can threaten informational privacy by computer matching and other devices, physical privacy by sending unwanted cookies or spam into one’s computer, decisional privacy by monitoring and intimidating individuals into making decisions contrary to their true views, and especially proprietary privacy by assisting in identity theft. The ethical issue is how to balance these clear invasions of privacy against the social utility of some of these invasions, such as the ability to have credit cards and more efficient tracking of criminals and child abusers. The second issue is ownership. Should software be protected? There are important RP and utilitarian arguments here that you should know. Should it be copyrighted or patented? One may copyright the expression of an idea, not the idea itself, and the expression must be original, have some useful function, be non-obvious, and there must be several ways of expressing the idea. One may patent a device (including in some instances a computer program) if it satisfies all of these criteria: new, non-obvious, timely application for the patent, disclosure of the nature of the device, and being the first to file. 3. Three Papers on Computer Ethics. In “Moral Responsibility for Harm Caused by Computer System Failures,” Douglas Birsch proposes three criteria which must all be satisfied if people can be held morally responsible for harm. (See the essay or Dr. Daugherity’s lecture.). Helen Nissenbaum finds four factors that might act as barriers to holding people morally responsible, but the author finds that all of these objections can be met. The rest of the essay applies the three criteria to moral responsibility in the famous Therac-25 case, probably the best-known case in computer ethics. Applying the three criteria, Birtsch concludes that the Programmer was
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Final%20Review.F10 - Review for Final Exam PHIL/ENGR...

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