1 Professional and Business Ethics Prof. Peter Hadreas Spring, 2014 Course Website: http://www.sjsu.edu/people/peter.hadreas/courses/P rofandBusEthics

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  • Slide 1
  • 1 Professional and Business Ethics Prof. Peter Hadreas Spring, 2014 Course Website: http://www.sjsu.edu/people/peter.hadreas/courses/P rofandBusEthics/
  • Slide 2
  • 2 Three Basic Types of Ethical Theory Teleological, or consequence-based. (MBE, pp. 40-42) Deontological, or duty-based. (MBE, pp. 42-46) Virtue ethical, or character-based. (MBE, pp. 46-51)
  • Slide 3
  • 3 Teleological, or consequence-based ethical theory
  • Slide 4
  • 4 Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is probably the best- known consequentialist theory. According to the principle of utility, ethical decisions should best maximize benefits to society and minimize harms. What matters is the net consequences of good consequences over bad for society overall. Trevio and Nelson textbook, Chapter 2, p. 40.
  • Slide 5
  • 5 Utilitarianism is usually the preferred ethical method in public policy decisions. This arises from its capacity to compare the relative strengths and weakness of a great number of possible actions.
  • Slide 6
  • 6 Stakeholders A utilitarian would approach an ethical dilemma by systematically identifying the stakeholders in a particular situation as well as the alternative actions and their consequences (harms and/or benefits) for each. A stakeholder is a person or group with a stake in the issue at hand. Trevio and Nelson textbook, Chapter 2, p. 40.
  • Slide 7
  • 7 Edward Snowden Example: Was Edward Snowden, former a Central Intelligence Agency employee (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA) contractor a National Security who leaked top secret NSA documents to several media outlets, including operational details of global surveillance apparatus a hero, a whistleblower, a dissident, a traitor, or a patriot?
  • Slide 8
  • 8 Stakeholders: Issue: Snowdens disclosing massive amounts of previously undisclosed data of NSAs surveillance of telephone and internet exchanges world-wide A. Disclosing of massive amounts of conversation s world- wide -- Harms B. Disclosing of massive amounts of conversation s world-wide -- Benefits C. Non- disclosure of massive amounts of conversation s world-wide --Harms D. Non- disclosure of massive amounts of conversations world-wide -- Benefits 1. Edward Snowden 2. U. S. Military troops who are especially vulnerable to attacks given disclosure of top-secret information. 3. Terrorists groups within the U. S. and abroad. 4. U. S. population who Snowden revealed to have been subject to secret surveillance by National Security Association. 5. Population of countries outside the U. S. who Snowden revealed to have been subject to secret surveillance by National Security Association.
  • Slide 9
  • 9 Very recently, January 2014, the Republican Party passed a "Resolution To Renounce The National Security Agencys Surveillance Program." The party formed a committee to reveal to the extent of domestic spying. They based their decision on opposition to the rights of privacy derived from the Fourth Amendment. However, their decision was influenced by investigation by such groups as the Privacy and Civil Liberties Rights Board and the New America Foundation that had established that NSA s collection of phone records had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism. The PCLRB was not able to find a single telephone communication that served to disrupt a terrorist attack. 1 1. "White House rejects review board finding that NSA data sweep is illegal". Fox/AP. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  • Slide 10
  • 10 Utilitarianism Remember how Utilitarianism is defined: ... an ethical decision should maximize benefits to society and minimizes harms. (Trevio and Nelson textbook, Chapter 2, p. 40. ) But what counts as benefits and harms? What is the criterion? The founders of modern utilitarianism measured benefits and harms according to pleasure and pains.
  • Slide 11
  • 11 Hedonism Hedonism is the view that pleasure and pain are ultimately the only basis of what makes an action or experience good or bad.
  • Slide 12
  • 12 Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), founder of modern Utilitarianism. Bentham proposed that everything of value could be finally analyzed into pleasures and pains (hedonism). He proposed a hedonic calculus which would rate the amount of pleasures and pains, and decide scientifically whether an action or policy was good or bad.
  • Slide 13
  • 13 John Stuart Mill (1806 1873), British philosopher, economist, social and political theorist. Mill was very Influential in developing Utilitarianism. Mill proposed, unlike Bentham, that pleasures and pains could not be simply added up, since there were basic differences between kinds of pleasures. For Mill, pleasures of the intellect and imagination were qualitatively different from sensual pleasures.
  • Slide 14
  • 14 Limits of Utilitarianism 1. Classical forms of Utilitarianism (Benthams and Mills versions) were based in pleasure and pain, that is in hedonism. But, arguably not all value can be reduced to pleasure and pain. 2. Especially in the long-term, the consequences of an action or decision are often very difficult to predict. (MBE, p. 42). 3. In some cases, the greatest happiness of the stakeholders might override or appear to override -- the personal rights of a less populous group? Such was the argument of slaveholders in the Old South. Should then the Utilitarian decision still be followed? (MBE, p. 42).
  • Slide 15
  • 15 Monarch butterflies, Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz, California, USA Problem #1 with Utilitarianism: not all value is reducible to pleasure and pain
  • Slide 16
  • Who are the stakeholders here? Are the butterflies one of them? Butterflies, presumably, will count little in the measurement of pleasure and pain.
  • Slide 17
  • In late the 1970s, Synertex, a semiconductor company headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, applied for a permit to build a $40 million research plant across the street from Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve. The proposed plant would employ 350-400 workers. Synertexs environmental report indicated that the plant would sometimes release sulfur and nitrogen oxides into the air. These would blow in the direction of the park 20% of the time. Synertex was clearly unwilling to agree to shut down its $40 million plant if the butterflies were effected.
  • Slide 18
  • 18 StakeholdersBuild plant across from Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve -- Harms Build plant across from Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve-- Benefits Dont build plant across from Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve --Harms Dont build plant across from Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve -- Benefits 350-400 Synertex Workers Owners of Synertex plant People who visit Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve, February through October. Approx. 50,000 people per year Revenue to state from fees to visit Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve 150,000 Monarch Butterflies??? A stakeholder is an person or group with a stake in the issue at hand. (textbook, p. 40).
  • Slide 19
  • 19 Solving Problem with Utilitarianism #1: reducing value to pleasure and pain. Modern (non-hedonistic) Utilitarianism Preferential Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is determined, not by pleasure and pain, nor by happiness and unhappiness, but just by preference. Actions may be listed according to preference without quantifying degrees of preference. This is known as preference-based ordinal utilitarianism. (Ordinal numbers are first, second, third etc.; theyre distinguished from cardinal numbers, such are 1, 2, 3, 4,.... etc. Cardinal numbers express not just order but also quantity.) A foundational work in preferential utilitarianism that applies the mathematics of Game Theory to Utilitarianism: Von Neumann, J., and O. Morgenstern. Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1944).
  • Slide 20
  • 20 What about the Second and Third Problems with Utilitarianism? 2. Especially in the long-term, the consequences of an action or decision are often very difficult to predict. (MBE, p. 42). 3. In some cases, the greatest happiness of the stakeholders overrides the personal rights of a minority group? Should then the Utilitarian decision still be followed? (MBE, p. 42).
  • Slide 21
  • 21 Resolving Problems with Utilitarianism #2 and #3? Balance Utilitarianism with other bases for ethics especially Duty-based (deontological) ethics. This requires establishing a reflective equilibrium, 1 which takes into account the degrees of predictability of consequences (Utilitarianism) and as those predictions become more unknown, relying on deontological ethics. 1. See Danies, Norman, Reflective Equilibrium, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2003-04-28.
  • Slide 22
  • 22 Three Basic Types of Ethical Theory Teleological, or consequence-based. (MBE, pp. 40-42) Deontological, or duty-based. (MBE, pp. 42-46) Virtue ethical, or character-based. (MBE, pp. 46-51)
  • Slide 23
  • 23 Resolving Problems with Utilitarianism #2 and #3? Balance Utilitarianism with other bases for ethics especially Duty-based (deontological) ethics. This requires establishing a reflective equilibrium, 1 which takes into account the degrees of predictability of consequences (Utilitarianism) and as those predictions become more unknown, relying on deontological ethics. 1. See Danies, Norman, Reflective Equilibrium, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2003-04-28.

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