Applied Ethics in Engineering and Computer Technologies essay


In the article Affirmative Action Goals in Hiring and Promotion, Tom Beauchamp claims that two schools of thought disagree on the core meaning of the term affirmative action, which has been defined in minimal and maximal ways.  First, let’s explain the minimal and maximal ways of the affirmative action definition. It is known that the original meaning of the term affirmative action was minimal because it was focused on those plans which had the major goal ”“ to protect equal opportunities and to struggle against discrimination. Besides, the term affirmative action was focused on creating the special social scholarship programs which provided effective recruitment and openly advertised available positions. The new meaning of affirmative action can be defined in maximal way. Today the term affirmative action is closely connected with preferential policies which are related to some specific groups ”“ women and minorities for promotion of their interest. In this case, affirmative action is focused on the positive actions, such as hiring, promotion, ranking of employees. Secondly, the two schools of thoughts had different opinions concerning affirmative action. The proponents of the first school of thought considered that the employers with a history of discrimination should advertise jobs fairly and promote women and minority groups equally. In this case, the vital role is given to the government policies and laws. The proponents of the second school of thought stated that preferential policies are themselves discriminatory. They were sure that all people should be treated equally and should have equal employment opportunities. It is possible to conclude that the second school of thought seems to favor because it provides better opportunities for people regarding affirmative action.


In the article Towards a Theory of Privacy in the Information Age, James Moor claims that the theory he proposed is a so called version of the restricted access view of privacy. In this case, the restricted access view of privacy means the restricted zone of privacy. It is known that any personal information should be protected in a proper way. Privacy means the core values of security.  Such zones of privacy which are related to some private situations should be protected. Different zones of privacy help to decide what information if private and what information is personal. The restricted access view of privacy stands for lack of opportunity to have access to all types of information. The major opposing view to the restricted access view is the control theory of privacy. According to Charles Fried, privacy is the control over information, but in the highly computerized systems, it is impossible to provide control over the information. People should have access to this or that information. However, the restricted access discusses some anomalies in private situations. It is known that Moor refers to The Justification of Exceptions Principle which means the following: any breach in private situations can be justified in case the harm caused by the disclosure will be much less than the harm prevented in this situation. It means that the impartial individual would permit such as breach.


In the article Democracy, Technology, and Information Societies, Deborah Johnson claims that in recent work in science and technology the researchers study the cautions against three mistakes which are made in thinking about technology. It is known that these mistakes should be avoided in discussing democracy.  The first mistake is based on presuming technological determinism. It is known that technological determinism includes two tenants: according to the first tenant, technology has been always developed independently from society, while according to the second tenant, technological determinism can determine the society’s character. It means that society can shape technology. The second mistake is based on the fact that many people think that technology is just different physical objects. Different artifact and physical objects are considered to be the components of technology. However, they depend on the social practices and social institutions and could not exist without them. Today the so called socio-technical systems are rather functional.  The third mistake is that some people think that technology is neutral. Technology is not neutral as it is infused with values and constitutes some social arrangements. Besides, technology can develop different types of social interactions. Technology is focused on a great variety of different values, including cultural values, moral and political values, and economic values. Taking the above mentioned facts, it is possible to conclude that technology has its course of development.


In the article Hacking as Politically Motivated Digital Civil Disobedience: Is Hacktivism Morally Justified?, Kenneth Einar Himma claims that this increasingly influential line of reasoning is problematic. It means that it is not allowed to commit civil disobedience, according to moral principles. However, this civil disobedience can be justified in some cases. Then, it is very important to evaluate civil disobedience that can weigh all social and moral values against all social and moral disvalues. In addition, it is required to apply the above mentioned framework to electronic civil disobedience. In most cases, the acts of electronic civil disobedience are caused by some harms to the third party which is absolutely innocent and has no bad intentions. These acts are not morally justified in form of the free speech expression, but they are also not justified as an expression of view. It is found that in the article, the author represents several reasons why such an influential line of reasoning is problematic. The major reasons include the following: first of all, civil disobedience may be expressive as it is focused on disobeying the law. Secondly, there are certain differences between moral acts, for example free speech acts cannot be compared with expressive behavior of an individual. Thirdly, unjustified civil disobedience should be punished, but it is not obligatory. There are some cases, when the state tolerates the acts of civil disobedience Fourthly, the acts of civil disobedience may be excused if they are not justified. In this case, they are not punished by the state.


In the article Engineering Ethics and Political Imagination, Langdon Winner claims that what is required is less the study of the so called pre-packaged ethical dilemmas than the appropriate cultivation of two crucial skills. When Winner mentions two crucial skills, he speaks about political savvy and the capacity for political imagination. It is very important for the engineering students to investigate the major historical aspects of their profession, including the origin of engineering, as well as the kinds of social and economic interests of their field. Besides, Winner suggests two major responsibilities of engineers as citizens of their country. These responsibilities include the responsibility of dialogue and the responsibility of citizenship. It means that the engineers should be responsible for their own decisions and behaviors and for the future of all people in this world. However, today many engineers may have the following problem in fulfilling these responsibilities: first of all, today many engineers may pay special attention to the security of their own lives and ignore other people problems, and secondly, they may choose those areas where they feel confident and safe and ignore others areas in the field of engineering. In both cases, engineers will violate the established rules of the engineering ethics.


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