Welcome, Fall 2015 Students!

Please see the tabs above for important course information throughout the semester.

Every now and then a new blog post (like this one) will appear in this section of the screen.

Extra Credit Opportunity

IFSC 2200 Students: for extra credit, go watch this! It should be fun and interesting. Then submit a few sentences about what you thought of it to me. I will then convert your lowest HW score to a 100%.


Analyzing codes of ethics

A code of ethics is

Rule(s) for ethical conduct


Code of ethics


Ethical code


A very short ethical code:



Is this code of ethics

Deontologically based?

Consequentialism based?

Virtue ethics:

Character traits are key

Character traits make you ethical or not

Aristotle, Confucius, Hume…

What character trait might work in this example?

What might be a workable ethical code here

…based on consequentialism?


Let’s analyze another example . . .

The Eastern Kentucky University Code of Ethics for Computing and Communications


Here’s an important case . . .

The ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

     See acm.org




Rhetorical Devices

Ad hominem arguments

Latin for “to the man”…

…instead of arguing the question,

you deflect attention to the opponent


you argue that 1+1=2

the other person responds “It’s 3, and anyway you flunked arithmetic in 3rd grade”

Is that argument strategy always illogical?

Always logical?

Sometimes logical?

Sometimes illogical?

Is that illegal?



Could something be ethical but sleazy….

…or unethical but not sleazy?

Red herring arguments

Term supposedly coined by William Cobbett in 1807…

…to describe when he stopped dogs from chasing a rabbit…

…with a kippered herring

Lots of kinds of red herring arguments


two wrongs make a right arguments

See list at:


Slippery slope arguments

Claim that one step leads to next steps ending in something bad

Can you think of any examples?

Can it be valid?

Can it be misused?

Logical fallacies arguments

General category of many illogical arguments

One is…

…correlation = cause and effect arguments

Roosters crow and the sun rises

Therefore sunrise makes roosters crow


Therefore crowing causes sunrise

Non sequitur arguments

“not in sequence”

The conclusion is claimed to, but does not, follow the premise


“We realize that it would be in the best interest of the community and our children to address the issue expeditiously. In order to make this happen, I respectfully request an eight-month payment delay calling for payment of the $10 million obligation on August 31, 2015.”
(Savannah City Manager Stephanie Cutter in a letter to the city’s superintendent of schools; reported in the Savannah Morning News, April 3, 2014) – quoted in http://grammar.about.com/od/mo/g/nonseqterm.htm

Can you think of, find, or invent an example?

These happen alot in daily life and political speech

Post hoc arguments

Find out what it is

Give an example

Ad hoc arguments

Find out what it is

Give an example

Plagiarism and copyright

updated 8/25/15

Some notorious cases of plagiarism:

. . .Jonah Lehrer (http://www.jonahlehrer.com/)

. . .Kaavya Viswanathan

. . .Stephen Glass (I liked the movie!)

. . .Fareed Zakaria

. . .Popular musicians

. . . . . .- a popular term project topic in this class Etc.

. . .Let me tell what happened when I noticed a press release was plagiarized on the CBS news site


What is the problem with plagiarism?

. . .Who cares?


Copyright vs. plagiarism

. . .Copyright is a legal concept

. . .Plagiarism is not a legal concept

. . .There is no law against it!

. . .Purpose of copyright:

. . . . . .1. Encourage people to create IP

. . . . . .2. Maximize the IP’s value to society


Encouraging people to create IP

. . .Suppose you were the ruler of England in 1709

. . . . . .(Because that’s where the first copyright law began)

. . .How might you encourage IP creation?


Maximizing IP’s value to society

. . .How do copyright laws restrict society’s freedom to use copyrighted IP?

. . .Ok, so you’re the queen (well, parliament):

. . .What do you do now??


Statute of Anne

. . .The first copyright law

. . .Passed in 1710

. . .Gave authors rights for 14 years

. . . . . .They could renew for another term

. . .What happened when a work’s copyright expired?

. . . . . .it become unprotected, public property



. . .Note the balance of author and public rights

. . . . . .That’s the whole point!

. . . . . .Protect the author, to encourage creation of IP

. . . . . .Protect public right to reuse, to encourage use

. . . . . .“even in the 21st century is ‘frequently invoked by modern judges and academics as embodying the utilitarian underpinnings of copyright law'” – wikipedia, quoting I. Alexander, 2010, Copyright Law and the Public Interest in the Nineteenth Century, Hart Publishing, ISBN 978-1-84113-786-5.

. . . . . .What do you think of the Curtis Brown solution linked above (Zakaria case)?

Welcome to IFSC 2200 Professional Ethics, Spring 2015!

Click the “Syllabus and Assignments” tab for the schedule for this class. Click the “Course Information” tab for info about grading and other info about how the course works.

The blog posts below are from semesters past. New blog entries will be posted as we go along.

Remember to sign up for 5-minute presentations to the class

If you have not yet emailed me about when to schedule your 5 minute presentation to the class, please do it as soon as possible. You can present on any day between now and the end of the semester, as long as a day is not yet filled with other people’s presentations. See the syllabus for a list of class meeting days.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.