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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 we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
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
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
Researchers demonstrated that the hippocampus functions in memory processing by creating lesions in the hippocampi of rats, which resulted in ________.
Mapo Reply
The formulation of new memories is sometimes called ________, and the process of bringing up old memories is called ________.
Mapo 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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