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Summary - Ethics, technology, and engineering: an introduction
1 The Responsibilities of Engineers
What is a common distinction of Responsibility?
- Active Responsibility
- Passive Responsibility
What is Active Responsibility?Responsibility before something has happened referring to a duty or task to care for certain state-of-affairs or persons.
What is Passive Responsibility?Applicable after something (undesirable) has happened. Backward-looking responsibility.
What is Role Responsibility?The responsibility that is based on the role one has or plays in a certain situation.
What is Moral Responsibility?Responsibility that is based on moral obligations, moral norms and moral duties.
What is Professional Responsibility?The responsibility that is based on one's role as professional in as far it stays within the limits of what is morally allowed.
What are the specific forms of Passive Responsibility?
What is Accountability?Backward-looking responsibility in the sense of being held to account for, or justify one's actions towards others.
What is Blameworthiness?Backward-looking responsibility in the sense of being a proper target of blame for one's actions or the consequences of one's actions.
What are the Four Conditions that need to apply in order for someone to be Blameworthy?
- Causal contribution
What are the five Features of Active Responsibility according to Bovens?
- Adequate perception of threatened violations of norms
- Consideration of the consequences
- Displaying conduct that is based on a verifiable and consistent code
- Taking role obligations seriously
What is Ideals?Ideas or striving which are particularly motivating and inspiring for the person having them, and which aim at achieving an optimum or maximum.
What is Professional Ideals?Ideals that are closely allied to a profession or can only be aspired to by carrying out the profession.
What are the three different Professional Ideals of Engineers?
- Technological enthusiasm
- Effectiveness and Efficiency
- Human welfare
What is Technological enthusiasm?The ideal of wanting to develop new technological possibilities and taking up technological challenges.
What is Effectiveness?The extent to which an established goal is achieved.
What is Efficiency?The ratio between the goal achieved and the effort required.
What are the three Models of dealing with conflict between Engineers and Managers?
What is Separatism?The notion that scientists and engineers should apply the technical inputs, but appropriate management and political organs should make the value decisions.
What is Technocracy?Government by experts
What is Whistle-blowing?The disclosure of certain abuses in a company by an employee in which he or she is employed, without the consent of his/her superiors, and in order to remedy these abuses and/or to warn the public about these abuses.
What is Actor?Any person or group that can make a decision how to act and that can act on that decision.
What Actors play a role in technological development?
- Developers and producers of technology
What is Stakeholders?Actors that have an interest in the development of technology, but who cannot necessarily influence the direction of technological development.
- not only an action, but also a failure to act may often be considered a causal contribution.
- a causal contribution is usually not a sufficient condition for the occurrence of the consequence under consideration
Wrong-doing:Whenever one blames a person or institution one usually maintains that in carrying out a certain action the individual or the institution in question has violated a norm or did something wrong
ForeseeabilityA person who is held rsponsible for something must have been able to know the consequences of his or her actions. The consequences are the harm actually arising from transgressing a norm. People cannot be held responsible if it is totally unreasonable to expect that they could possibly have been aware of the consequences. What we do expect is that people do everything that is reasonably possible to become acquainted with the possible consequences.
Freedom of actionThe one who is held responsible must have had freedom of action, that is he or she must not have acted under compulsion. Individuals are either not responsible or are responsible to a lesser degree if they are, for instance, coerced to take certain decisions.
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A legal tool that can forbid the development production, or use of certain technological products, but more often it formulates a set of the boundary conditions for the design, production, and use of technologies.
Legal responsibilit: backward-looking responsibility according to the law. Usually related to the obligation to pay a fine or repair or repay damages
The moral requirement that states that responsibility should be so distributed that the distribuiton has the best consequences, that is, is effective in preventing harm (and in achieving positive consequences).
Moral fairness requirement
The requirement that adistribuiton of ersponsibility should be fair (just). In case of passive responsibiity, this can be interpreted as that a person should only be held responsible if that person can be reasonably held responsible according the following conditons: wrong-doing; causal contribuiton; foreseeability; and freedom of action. In terms of active responsibility it can be interpreted as implying that persons should only be allocated responsibilities that they can live by.
Distribution of ersponsibility
the ascription ofr apportioning of (individual) responsibilities to various actors
Problem of many hands
The occurence of the situation in which the collective can rasonably be held morally responsible for an outcome, while none of the individuals can be reasonably held responsible for that outcome.
the responsibility of a collective of people
refers to a form of informed consent in which people do not atually consent to something but are hypothetically supposed to consent if certain conditions are met, for example that it would be rational for them to consent or in their own interest.
specialists that inform, or advise how to inform, the public about risks and hazards
Risks that affect a collective of people and not just individuals, like the risk of flooding