Computer Ethics Essay

2716 words - 11 pages

Computer Ethics is a part of practical philosophy which deals with how computing professionals should make decisions regarding professional and social conduct.[1] Margaret Anne Pierce, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computers at Georgia Southern University has categorized the ethical decisions related to computer technology and usage into 3 primary influences:The individual's own personal code.Any informal code of ethical conduct that exists in the work place.Exposure to formal codes of ethics.[2]Foundation[edit]To understand the foundation of computer ethics, it is important to look into the different schools of biology ethical theory. Each school of ethics influences a situation in a certain direction and pushes the final outcome of ethical theoritical.Relativism is the belief that there are no universal moral norms of right and wrong. In the school of relativistic ethical belief, ethicists divide it into three connected but different structures, subject (Moral) and culture (Anthropological). Moral relativism is the idea that each person decides what is right and wrong for them.Anthropological relativism is the concept of right and wrong is decided by a society's actual moral belief structure.Deontology is the belief that people's actions are to be guided by moral laws, and that these moral laws are universal. The origins of Deontological Ethics are generally attributed to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant and his ideas concerning the Categorical Imperative. Kant believed that in order for any ethical school of thought to apply to all rational beings, they must have a foundation in reason. Kant split this school into two categorical imperatives. The first categorical imperative states to act only from moral rules that you can at the same time will to be universal moral laws. The second categorical imperative states to act so that you always treat both yourself and other people as ends in themselves, and never only as a means to an end.Utilitarianism is the belief that if an action is good it benefits someone and an action is bad if it harms someone. This ethical belief can be broken down into two different schools, Act Utilitarianism and Rule Utilitarianism. Act Utilitarianism is the belief that an action is good if its overall effect is to produce more happiness than unhappiness. Rule Utilitarianism is the belief that we should adopt a moral rule and if followed by everybody, would lead to a greater level of overall happiness.Social contract is the concept that for a society to arise and maintain order, a morality based set of rules must be agreed upon. Social contract theory has influenced modern government and is heavily involved with societal law. Philosophers like John Rawls, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau helped created the foundation of social contract.Virtue Ethics is the belief that ethics should be more concerned with the character of the moral agent (virtue), rather than focusing on a set of...

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