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.ce ((Editor's comments in double parenthesis - Homer))
.ce ADR - 441
.ce Copyright (C) Homer Wilson Smith
.ce Redistribution rights granted for non commercial purposes
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Date:         Thu, 14 Sep 89 02:41:03 EDT
From:         Homer 
Subject:      RE: Thanx for people to say they're there..
To:           Discussion of Ethics in Computing ,
In-Reply-To:  Message of Wed, 13 Sep 89 09:27:00 EDT from 

>Hello everyone.
>        I do have a topic for discussion, so I thought I would respond
>to Ergun's question, and pose my question.  The list, Ergun, as I
>understand it is to be a mechanism for discussions on Ethics in Computing.
>I am teaching an upper level computer science majors course on Computers
>and Society.  We have already had several good in class discussions of
>ethics in general and in computing.  (There has been some good discussion
>on this on the risks list lately, by the way.)   One of my students has
>posed the following question:
>        "Since every person has their own ethical standard, there is no
>purpose in debating ethics.  It only comes down to power, in imposing
>the ethics of whomever has the power to do so.  (Not a new idea, it's
>in Plato's republic)  (Now here we are debating ethical positions.  Is
>this what the study of ethics is?  I don't think so.  The study of ethics
>is broader.  But I seem to be struggling with the definition of right, good.
>(Haha))  Hence, the question becomes, is it ethical to discuss ethics?"
>        He is confusing metalevels of course.  A guaranteed good class
>discussion is to come.  But we are getting into an interesting question.
>How do I define good in a free society?  How do I say this is a good/bad
>ethical system for a computer scientist (vv. their profession).  Any
>l. anne cole, computer science, suny plattsburgh   bitnet: colela@snyplava

     I tend to be an absolutist in my thinking, everything it black and white
and all the colors too.

     So here is my two cents.

     Good is absolute, it is the desire to experience pleasure.  Pleasure
is good.  Beings are also sensitive, they find pleasure in OTHERS having
pleasure too.

     Evil is also absolute, it is the desire to experience pleasure
by hurting another.  No one can want to hurt themselves, except if
it avoids a bigger hurt or creates another pleasure, so the pleasure
principle can not be violated within ourselves, however through chosen
insensitivity  it can be violated with our relationship to others.

     Since everyone is trying to cooperate with themselves in attaining
pleasure, the difference between good and evil is whether they are
trying to copperate with OTHERS in attaining pleasure, others
who are ALSO trying to cause other's pleasure, not others who are
trying to cause other's pain.

     Its always easy to tell if there is someone evil in the crowd, when
there is someone evil it is impossible for EVERYONE to be happy, because
when others are happy the evil one is sad and when the evil one is
happy the others are sad.

     However if everyone is good, then it is possible to have everyone
happy at the same time.   Perhaps hard to accomplish...

     When we punish someone for doing wrong, we are trying to HELP
them become cooperative by hurting them, this is not the same as evil
which just trys to get pleasure by hurting others.
It is rarely a pleasure to us to punish another for their benefit, and
if it is perhaps we have crossed over to evil.

     Thus ethics is a practical matter, how we can best cooperate.
With the rights and priviledges that come with cooperating with other
beings there are balancing duties and fair exchanges that must be
made in order to have everyone willing to participate.

     Thus it is ethical to discuss ethics, and its primary purpose is
to maximize the willingness of the most number of people to join the game.

     Naive, arn't I?

 Homer               Discussion of Ethic  9/14/89*Thanx for people to say they'