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Here is the central part of florman's argument from analogy quoted from his article, "moral blueprints" (harper's, october 1978, pp. 0-33):

If each person is entitled to medical care and legal representation, is it not equally important that each legitimate business entity, government agency, and citizens' group should have access to expert engineering advice? If so, then it follows that engineers (within the limits of conscience) will sometimes labor on behalf of causes in which they do not believe. Such a tolerant view also makes it easier for engineers to make a living.

What do you think florman means by "within the limits of conscience"?

Nathaniel Borenstein a widely respected expert on intelligent systems found himself under just this kind of situation. A committed pacifist, he assiduously avoided getting involved in military projects, even when asked repeatedly by representives of the military. But something said to him by one of these military representatives led him to reassess his position. Borenstein was asked to develop a training simulation to teach individuals how to work with the nuclear missile launching system. When he found that it involved "embedded training" he became very concerned. To appreciate the full extent of his concern and the reasons that persuaded him to get involved in this project, it is best to turn to his own words:

Borenstein on embedded training

Embedded training, in particular, struck me as a very poor idea. Training by computer simulation has been around for a long time. Embedded training takes this one step further: it does the simulation and training on the actual command and control computer. To exaggerate slightly, whether or not anyone actually dies when you press the "launch missiles" button depends on whether or not there is a little line at the top of the screen that says "SIMULATION."

Borenstein continues

Such a system seems almost designed to promote an accidental nuclear war, and this thought was what persuaded me to attend the workshop in the first place. One can all too easily imagine human error--"I could have sworn it was in the 'simulation' mode--as well as frightening technical possibilities. Perhaps, due to some minor programming bug, the word "SIMULATION" might fail to disappear when it was supposed to. Someone approaching the computer would get the wrong idea of what it was safe to type.

These quotes are taken from: nathaniel s. borenstein, "my life as a nato collaborator" in the bulletin of the atomic scientists, april 1989: 13-20.

    A thought exercise

  • Think of Borenstein's concerns and eventual actions in light of Florman's analogy.
  • Does Borenstein have the obligation to set aside his pacifism to work on correcting this training problem?
  • Does Florman's analogy provide the justification for this? Or is Borenstein acting on the basis of a very different set of arguments?
  • Assume that you are a committed pacifist. Was Borenstein right to set aside his beliefs to work on this project? Did he really set aside his beliefs?

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
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
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
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 did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Business ethics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 04, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col10491/1.11
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