CPSC 430 – June 28, 2010

I’m currently taking CPSC 430 and one of the requirements is to keep a journal throughout the term. I will be blogging here my class notes, thoughts, and links as they come up that are relevant to the course material. Also, see the other posts in the CPSC 430 category.

Today we covered more of the ethical theories we started last week.  This unit is all about adapting ancient lines of thought with our new technology.

  • Ethical Egoism ~ Alan Greenspan ~ Ayn Rand
    • E.g., acting to maximize own profit
    • Ref – Richard Dawkins – The Selfish Gene
      • Altruistic behavior
      • E.g., monkey screams to get predator’s attention while others escape – acting to save its own genes
  • Kantianism
    • Good will is the desire to do the right thing
    • Good will is the only thing in the world that is good w/o qualification
    • Categorical Imperative – Kant’s rule to analyze situations
      • 1st – e.g., if we grant 1 exception, must grant all exceptions -> may not turn out good so might not grant the first exception
      • 2nd – don’t use others
    • Workable ethical theory – objectively creates common ground and agreement
  • Utilitarianism
    • Statistics on utility – happiness
    • Morality has nothing to do with an intent
    • Focuses on consequences
    • ACT – single act (sum of effects greater than 0 -> good)
    • RULE – policies
    • Measuring happiness may not be the best measure
    • Cannot be predicted – must execute first to measure happiness afterwards
  • Social Contract Theory – “rights”
    • Negative – left alone
    • Positive – given to you
    • Absolute – guaranteed
    • Limited – circumstantial
TheoryMotivationCriteriaFocus
KantianismDutifulnessRulesIndividual
Act UtilitarianismConsequenceActionsGroup
Rule UtilitarianismConsequence/DutyRulesGroup
Social ContractRightsRulesIndividual

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