However, it makes more sense to agree with Ramsey McNabb whose argument the author of the Chapter tries to discredit: From our perspective, at a quiet distance from any such extreme pressure, we might want to admit that every principle has an exception like this¦but in the real world, these exceptions pop up with maddening regularity. Furthermore, the author of the Chapter condemns Particularism yet calls for the application of the so-called street-level ethics, which is a synthesis of existing ethical theories.
Upon careful analysis, it becomes evident that there is little difference between arriving at a new ethical judgment at every situation and applying a mix of ethical principles from different traditions as one sees fit. For instance, utilitarian ethics and deontological ethics are contradictory to each other in many instances. One of the key assumptions of the Chapter concerns the fact that professionals should behave ethically with a view to generating consume trust. In a market economy, consumer trust is generated by different mechanism.
If a professional performs functions pertinent to his or her profession on a quality level, more customers will seek service by this professional, and ethics plays little role in this process. Proceeding with the flaws that stem from ignorance or misinterpretation of facts of life, the Chapter argues that sometimes there are conflicts between one code and another, as for example between legislative provisions in different jurisdictions, such as China and France, or between legislation (on the one hand) and the professional code (on the other). If there is a contradiction between different national jurisdictions, clearly defined procedures of international private law are in place to solve conflicts between jurisdictions, and there is no space for speculative ethical thinking. If a professional code contradicts to current legislation, such code is simply illegal. As for the explication of the three major ethical theories, little factual mistakes are to be found. Yet if the Chapter aspires to present a comprehensive guide to the foundations of ethics, some relevant information is missing.
It would be helpful to start with presenting four main realms of ethical theory, namely Normative ethics (that concerns with classifying human actions as right or wrong), Descriptive ethics (that concerns with what the society believes to be right or wrong), Meta-ethics (that concerns with studying the nature of ethical beliefs), and Applied ethics (that concerns with the practical application of ethical concepts). In general, the Chapter has little consistency within itself and often throws out unsubstantiated claims without providing sufficient evidence or explanation.
Analysis of Floridis Article The article focuses on three dominant microethical approaches to Information Ethics and justifies a need for a unified approach in the form of macroethical theory. Both micro- and macroethical theories deserve careful analysis. The first microethical theory is Information-as-a-resource Ethics. This theory holds that the degree of moral responsibility of a person is proportional to the degree of availability of information on the basis of which a moral decision has been taken. There are two main approaches to this microethical theory.
First of all, [i]n Christian ethics, even the worst sins can be forgiven in the light of the sinners insufficient information, as a counterfactual evaluation is possible: had A been properly informed A would have acted differently and hence would not have sinned. This approach is in line with virtue ethics that holds that persons can be either moral or immoral; since Christianity believes that all religious people are moral or strive to be moral, they would take right decisions if the information were available.
At the same time, in civil jurisdiction a well-established principle is that ignorance of the law is not a defense. This thinking is in line with deontological ethics that holds that some actions are morally justifiable and some are not. The second microethical theory is Information-as-a-product Ethics. It looks at effects of information production by individuals. The article points out that ineffective management of informational products may have tragic consequences, thus this approach is closest to utilitarian ethics that believes that morality of an action is based on usability of consequences it produces.
The third microethical theory is Information-as-a-target Ethics. It is also close to deontological ethics, and this can be seen in the discussion of hacking as an alteration of information environment. While a hacker can make no use of obtained information, a hacking attack is still regarded as a breach of privacy, i. e. an inherently wrong action. The article suggests that all microethical approaches have limitations and offers a comprehensive approach to Information Ethics as macroethics.
It is defined as an ontocentric, patient-oriented, ecological macroethics. There are four underlying principles of Information Ethics: entropy ought not to be caused in the infosphere; entropy ought to be prevented in the infosphere; entropy ought to be removed from the infosphere; the flourishing of informational entities as well as of the whole infosphere ought to be promoted by preserving, cultivating and enriching their properties.
On macro level, Information Ethics can be classified as utilitarian ethics. It looks at the consequences of actions rather then foundational moral principles behind them or nature of an agent carrying them out. This approach is perfectly justified in case of Information Ethics that has to be easily applicable and goal-oriented.