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Worksheet an Law and Ethics
Please use the web and other resources to answer the questions (indicated by question marks) below. You can write in the spaces provided as well as on the back or on separate paper.
Part 1. A Shocking Crime: See http://abcnews.go.com/US/police-jailed-woman-orchestrate-murder-hire-plot/story?id=22355101
Consider the murder law at issue here. What is it?
How does it impact her?
What is the deontological view of the law? (Skip if we haven’t discussed deontology)
What is the utilitarian view of the law? (Skip if we haven’t discussed utilitarianism)
If you were on the jury, how would you vote?
If you were a good defense lawyer: Would you want deontologists or consequentialists on the jury? (Skip if we haven’t covered the concepts yet)
If you were a good prosecuting attorney: would you want deontologists or consequentialists on the jury? (Skip if we haven’t covered the concepts yet)
Have you ever been on a jury?
Part 2. Some Examples of Laws:
Laws about cars
Laws about homicide
Laws about copyright
Rules about plagiarism
Rules vs. laws:
Law but not rule: 30 mph speed limit
Rule but not law: 40 mph “real” speed limit if 30 mph stated limit and 10 mph assumed leeway
Rule but not law: don’t slouch
Is there a difference between a rule and a law? What do you think it is?
More about laws (from SEP):
“Law is not the only normative domain in our culture;
morality, religion, social conventions, etiquette, and so on,
also guide human conduct in many ways which are similar to law.”
Two major theories about what is a law
Ref: A. Marmor, “The Nature of Law”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP), http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/lawphil-nature/
Laws can be legitimate or not. Why is a law legitimate (or not) in your estimation?
1. “Legal Positivism” theory: Legitimate laws reflect socially defined constraints on behavior
2. “Natural Law” theory: Laws must meet ethical standards
Which do you think is preferable?
St. Augustine wrote: “lex iniusta non est lex” (“law unjust not is law” or using English grammar “unjust law is not law”)
Was he a proponent of legal positivism or natural law?
Divide into discussion groups
I’ll present a few comments on digital privacy
Groups will report on their conclusions
“The Lab” interactive video
Let’s divide into discussion groups
Privacy in a digital world
Crimes increasingly solved using:
. . . . .security cam records
. . . . . . . often multiple cams
. . . . . . . story of a student in my ethics class
. . . . . . . . . . ended up catching his own friend
. . . . . any anecdotes from this group?
Lexis-Nexis is a database
. . . . It tells all the
. . . . . . . .places you have lived
. . . . . . . .people who ever lived at an address
. . . . Think about what that can reveal abou
. . . . . . . .a person
. . . . . . . .their network
. . . . spy on your nanny
. . . . . . …kids, pets, etc.
. . . . Edward Snowden
. . . . . . .what did he reveal about the NSA?
China hacks, downloads Gb if not Tb
. . . . . US gov’t recently indicted
. . . . . . . . . specific mid-level individuals in the Chinese military
. . . . . Everyone is tracking everyone else
. . . . . Google Glass
. . . . . Police shooting in Little Rock
. . . . . . . .key evidence is the police body cam
Ever read Orwell’s book 1984?
. . .Is this generally good or bad? (ethical dimension)
. . .Where will it lead?
Remember how ancient Chinese philosophy was one of the most popular courses at Harvard?
So let’s discuss ethics in ancient China
Lots and lots to be said
We can only get a start
Let’s list some Chinese philosophers
Here are a few:
Confucius (today’s focus)
Mencius (learned from Confucius)
Zhuang Zi (butterfly dream)
(Let’s review it for background)
Lao Tsu (founder of Taoism)
Let’s focus on Confucius
What was his name?
“Confucius” is the Latinized version
Family name was Kong (Con)
Given name was Qiu (“chi-u”)
Title was Zi (“Dze”)
Mr., sir, the honorable,…
usually translated as master
So in his time he was Kong Zi
Let’s add more respect:
Instead of Zi, use Fu Zi
(like Zi, but a bit more!)
We get his modern name in Chinese:
Kong Fu Zi
From “The honorable master Kong”
He has had more names, but that’s good for now
Who was Confucius?
Born probably 551 BCE
(Socrates born 470/469 BCE)
Father died when he was 3
Married at 19
Had first child at 20
Mother died when he was 23
His philosophy was forged in a politically turbulent environment
He died aged 71 or 72 (maybe)
Many descendants are still officially listed
2 million of them
How many descendants could someone have after N generations?
What, if anything, have you heard about Confucius?
What do you know of Socrates?
I surveyed a sample of one (1) Chinese person about Confucius:
He taught regular people
Not just royalty
Birthday is a holiday for teachers in Taiwan
People are born with virtue
Unlike Zuang Zi who believed people were born without virtue and needed learn it
What do you think?
What does Western tradition say?
Stated the broader Golden Rule
Avoid doing to others what you would not want them to do to you
“Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself”
- as translated in wikipedia
What is the narrower Golden Rule?
What is the difference?
Robert Kane, in “Through the Moral Maze,” lists many statements of both versions
Check it out
is person rather than action based:
It looks at the moral character
of the person carrying out an action…”
Confucius’s ethical teachings were a form of virtue ethics
What do you think of virtue ethics?
How does virtue ethics compare to
Thomas Hume’s teachings?
if you had to state principles of virtue ethics…
What would some be?
Let’s list on board…
What did Confucius teach?
Personal character is key
Specific rules of behavior are less key
What is the meaning of his statement:
“When the stables were burnt down,
on returning from court Confucius said,
“Was anyone hurt?”
He did not ask about the horses.
- as translated in wikipedia
Confucius’s principles of personal character
The most important:
仁 “benevolence,” “humanity,” human connectedness, comprehensive virtue.
Did Hume know about this? Not unlikely…
Confucius stating it in common terms:
ren is to love others
Which is more important, yi or li?
The desire to do good
Refers to actions that are the right thing to do
“ritual” is a poor translation
Refers to the actions that society considers correct
Which is more important, yi or li?
HW6, due F, Apr.
23 25, 2014
1. For your term project: prepare a 5-minute presentation to the class. Let me know if you are not sure how to proceed. If you haven’t already, send me an email (email@example.com), picking a day between now and the end of the semester for your presentation. The presentation will be 5 minutes long. I can schedule up to about 8 people per class day for presentations, so get your request for a day in soon, so you get the day you requested.
2. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), or bring to class on paper, smart phone, etc., and show me by class time (so you can get full credit) your discussion preparation notes for the case you are discussing with your group for the Societal and International Issues unit. This should include
- a link or other indication of the case you are using. If it is from personal experience, point that out.
- list of facts in your own words, so that your group will understand what the case is about, and
- questions to ask them in order to get an interesting and enlightening discussion going. See the “Questions to ask during discussion” tab on the course web page for some suggestions in developing your discussion questions.
3. Present the case you have prepared in the previous question to your group on the day assigned to you. Lead the group discussing the case. Maybe you will get some new ideas from the discussion.
- When another member of your discussion group is leading, help them out by participating in the discussion
4. Write up your case on your blog with the following headings:
- “The facts of the case.” Here is where you will describe the case in your own words.
- “My conclusions.” Your conclusions and opinions about the case. Be sure to explain and justify what you write. Also, do you remember the interactive video in which you could pretend to be one of the players? Well, in this section of your wiki page, pick one of the people in your case and explain how, if you were that person, you would have done things differently, and why.
- “Future environment.” Describe your vision of a future in which technology is more advanced than today, or society has changed in some significant way, such that the ethical issues of the case would be even more important than it is in today’s world.
- “Future scenario.” Describe how this ethical case (or a similar one) would play out in the environment of the future, and give your opinions about it.