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    Pitfalls of public identification

  • Action not associated with agent. The most common pitfall is failure to associate the agent and the action.The action may have bad consequences and it may treat individuals with respect but these points are not as important in the contextof this test as what they imply about the agent as a person who deliberately performs such an action.
  • Failure to specify moral quality, virtue, or value. Another pitfall is to associate the action and agent butonly ascribe a vague or ambiguous moral quality to the agent. To say, for example, that willfully harming the public is bad fails tozero in on precisely what moral quality this ascribes to the agent. Does it render him or her unjust, irresponsible, corrupt,dishonest, or unreasonable? The virtue list given above will helpto specify this moral quality.

Code of ethics test

  • Does the action hold paramount the health, safety, and welfare of the public, i.e., those affected by theaction but not able to participate in its design or execution?
  • Does the action maintain faithful agency with the client by not abusing trust, avoiding conflicts ofinterest, and maintaining confidences?
  • Is the action consistent with the reputation, honor, dignity, and integrity of the profession?
  • Does the action serve to maintain collegial relations with professional peers?

Meta tests

  • The ethics and feasibility tests will not always converge on the same solution. There is a complicated answer for why this is the case but the simple version is that the tests do not always agree on a given solution because each test (and the ethical theory it encapsulates) covers a different domain or dimension of the action situation. Meta tests turn this disadvantage to your advantage by feeding the interaction between the tests on a given solution back into the evaluation of that solution.
  • When the ethics tests converge on a given solution, this convergence is a sign of the strength and robustnessof the solution and counts in its favor.
  • When a given solution responds well to one test but does poorly under another, this is a sign that thesolution needs further development and revision. It is not a sign that one test is relevant while the others are not. Divergencebetween test results is a sign that the solution is weak.

Application exercise

You will now practice the four stages of decision making with a real world case. This case, Risk Assessment, came from a retreat on Business, Science, and Engineering Ethics held in Puerto Rico in December 1998. It was funded by the National Science Foundation, Grant SBR 9810253.

Risk assessment scenario

Case Scenario: You supervise a group of engineers working for a private laboratory with expertise in nuclear waste disposal and risk assessment. The DOE (Department of Energy) awarded a contract to your laboratory six years ago to do a risk assessment of various nuclear waste disposal sites. During the six years in which your team has been doing the study, new and more accurate calculations in risk assessment have become available. Your laboratory’s study, however, began with the older, simpler calculations and cannot integrate the newer without substantially delaying completion. You, as the leader of the team, propose a delay to the DOE on the grounds that it is necessary to use the more advanced calculations. Your position is that the laboratory needs more time because of the extensive calculations required; you argue that your group must use state of the art science in doing its risk assessment. The DOE says you are using overly high standards of risk assessment to prolong the process, extend the contract, and get more money for your company. They want you to use simpler calculations and finish the project; if you are unwilling to do so, they plan to find another company that thinks differently. Meanwhile, back at the laboratory, your supervisor (a high level company manager) expresses to you the concern that while good science is important in an academic setting, this is the real world and the contract with the DOE is in jeopardy.What should you do?

    Part one: problem specification

  1. Specify the problem in the above scenario. Be as concise and specific as possible
  2. Is your problem best specifiable as a disagreement? Between whom? Over what?
  3. Can your problem be specified as a value conflict? What are the values in conflict? Are the moral, nonmoral, or both?

    Part two: solution generation

  1. Quickly and without analysis or criticism brainstorm 5 to ten solutions
  2. Refine your solution list. Can solutions be eliminated? (On what basis?) Can solutions be combined? Can solutions be combined as plan a and plan b?
  3. If you specified your problem as a disagreement, how do your solutions resolve the disagreement? Can you negotiate interests over positions? What if your plan of action doesn't work?
  4. If you formulated your problem as a value conflict, how do your solutions resolve this conflict? By integrating the conflicting values? By partially realizing them through a value compromise? By trading one value off for another?

    Part three: solution testing

  1. Construct a solution evaluation matrix to compare two to three solution alternatives.
  2. Choose a bad solution and then compare to it the two strongest solutions you have.
  3. Be sure to avoid the pitfalls described above and set up each test carefully.

    Part four: solution implementation

  1. Develop an implementation plan for your best solution. This plan should anticipate obstacles and offer means for overcoming them.
  2. Prepare a feasibility table outlining these issues using the table presented above.
  3. Remember that each of these feasibility constraints is negotiable and therefore flexible. If you choose to set aside a feasibility constraint then you need to outline how you would negotiate the extension of that constraint.

Decision-making presentation

Clicking on this figure will allow you to open a presentation designed to introduce problem solving in ethics as analogous to that in design, summarize the concept of a socio-technical system, and provide an orientation in the four stages of problem solving. This presentation was given February 28, 2008 at UPRM for ADMI 6005 students, Special Topics in Research Ethics.

Problem solving presentation

Shortened presentation for fall 2012

Vigo socio-technical system table and problems

Decision making worksheet

This exercise is designed to give you practice with the three frameworks described in this module. It is based on the case, "When in Aguadilla."

Test rubric fall 2009: problem-solving

Questions & Answers

how can chip be made from sand
Eke Reply
is this allso about nanoscale material
are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where is the latest information on a no technology how can I find it
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Using the ethics bowl to integrate ethics into the business and professional curriculum. OpenStax CNX. Dec 20, 2009 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col10411/1.2
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