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Recent work in moral psychology demonstrates that case discussion helps students to refine decision making techniques, leads them to question unexamined attitudes, and helps improve their moral reasoning. This module works with these developments by providing students with short, realistic scenarios whose narratives end at crucial points of decision. Students are provided with solutions that bring the narrative to a close and are asked to evaluate and rank them by using ethics and feasibility tests. The format bears a superficial resemblance to the Gray Matters exercise currently being used at Boeing Corporation in their ethics training program. But this particular version is more open-ended (students are invited to design their own solutions) and more oriented toward getting students to think about ethical issues and values. The first UPRM version of this module was introduced during an NSF funded retreat (SBR-9810253) held at Maricao, Puerto Rico in 1999. Different versions of this activity have been used in engineering, computer, and business ethics classes. This module is being developed as a part of an NSF-funded project, "Collaborative Development of Ethics Across the Curriculum Resources and Sharing of Best Practices," NSF SES 0551779.

The cases used in this module have been developed through NSF SBR-9810253 and UPRM ABET EAC Workshops. Also to thanks to Jaime Rodriguez, a former MBA student at UPRM, for providing cases 1 and 2.This module represents a modification of the Gray Matters format developed by George Sammet. For a more detailed description of the history of Gray Matters, see Whitbeck, Caroline. 1998. Ethics in Engineering Practice and Research. Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press, 176-181.)


    Read the following scenarios and the accompanying solutions.

  • Evaluate the alternatives in terms of the tests described below.
  • Choose the one you think best or design your own solution if you believe you can do better.
  • Summarize your results by filling in the solution evaluation matrix that apprears on the page following the scenario. Notice that the first column repeats the solution alternatives.
  • Be prepared to present your matrix to the class. You will also provide the other groups in the class with a copy of your matrix for their ethics portfolios

    Solution evaluation tests

  • REVERSIBILITY: Would I think this is a good choice if I were among those affected by it?
  • PUBILICITY: Would I want to be publicly associated with this action through, say, its publication in the newspaper?
  • HARM/BENEFICENCE: Does this action do less harm than any of the available alternatives?
  • FEASIBILITY: Can this solution be implemented given time, technical, economic, legal, and political constraints?

Decision making scenarios and exercises

This file contains four cases: When in Aguadilla...?, The Laminating Press Room, Prints and Primos, and The Persistent Engineer.

    Harm test set-up

  • Identify the agent (=the person who will perform the action).
  • Describe the action (=what the agent is about to do).
  • Identify the stakeholders (individuals who have a vital interest at risk) and their stakes.
  • Identify, sort out, and weight the expected results or consequences.

    Harm test pitfalls

  • Paralysis of Action--considering too many consequences.
  • Incomplete analysis--considering too few results.
  • Failure to weigh harms against benefits.
  • Failure to compare different alternatives.
  • Justice failures--ignoring the fairness of the distribution of harms and benefits.

    Reversibility test set-up

  • Identify the agent
  • Describe the action
  • Identify the stakeholders and their stakes
  • Use the stakeholder analysis to select the relations to be reversed.
  • Reverse roles between the agent (you) and each stakeholder: put them in your place (as the agent) and yourself in their place (as the target of the action)
  • If you were in their place, would you still find the action acceptable?

    Reversibility pitfalls

  • Leaving out a key stakeholder relation.
  • Failing to recognize and address conflicts between stakeholders and their conflicting stakes.
  • Confusing treating others with respect with capitulating to their demands (Reversing with Hitler).
  • Failing to reach closure, i.e., an overall global reversal assessment that takes into account all the stakeholders the agent has reversed with.

    Public identification set-up

  • Set up the analysis by identifying the agent, describing the action under consideration, and listing the key values or virtues at play in the situation.
  • Associate the action with the agent.
  • Identify what the action says about the agent as a person. Does it reveal him or her as someone associated with a virtue/value or a vice?

    Public identification pitfalls

  • Action is not associated with the agent. The most common pitfall is failure to associate the agent and the action. The action may have bad consequences and it may treat individuals with disrespect but these points are not as important in the context of this test as what they imply about the agent as a person who deliberately performs such an action.
  • Failure to specify the moral quality, virtue, or value of the action that is imputed to the agent in the test. To say, for example, that willfully harming the public is bad fails to zero in on precisely what moral quality this attributes to the agent. Does it render him or her unjust, irresponsible, corrupt, dishonest, or unreasonable?

Questions & Answers

An investment account was opened with an initial deposit of $9,600 and earns 7.4% interest, compounded continuously. How much will the account be worth after 15 years?
Kala Reply
lim x to infinity e^1-e^-1/log(1+x)
given eccentricity and a point find the equiation
Moses Reply
12, 17, 22.... 25th term
Alexandra Reply
12, 17, 22.... 25th term
College algebra is really hard?
Shirleen Reply
Absolutely, for me. My problems with math started in First grade...involving a nun Sister Anastasia, bad vision, talking & getting expelled from Catholic school. When it comes to math I just can't focus and all I can hear is our family silverware banging and clanging on the pink Formica table.
I'm 13 and I understand it great
I am 1 year old but I can do it! 1+1=2 proof very hard for me though.
Not really they are just easy concepts which can be understood if you have great basics. I am 14 I understood them easily.
find the 15th term of the geometric sequince whose first is 18 and last term of 387
Jerwin Reply
I know this work
The given of f(x=x-2. then what is the value of this f(3) 5f(x+1)
virgelyn Reply
hmm well what is the answer
how do they get the third part x = (32)5/4
kinnecy Reply
make 5/4 into a mixed number, make that a decimal, and then multiply 32 by the decimal 5/4 turns out to be
can someone help me with some logarithmic and exponential equations.
Jeffrey Reply
sure. what is your question?
okay, so you have 6 raised to the power of 2. what is that part of your answer
I don't understand what the A with approx sign and the boxed x mean
it think it's written 20/(X-6)^2 so it's 20 divided by X-6 squared
I'm not sure why it wrote it the other way
I got X =-6
ok. so take the square root of both sides, now you have plus or minus the square root of 20= x-6
oops. ignore that.
so you not have an equal sign anywhere in the original equation?
is it a question of log
I rally confuse this number And equations too I need exactly help
But this is not salma it's Faiza live in lousvile Ky I garbage this so I am going collage with JCTC that the of the collage thank you my friends
Commplementary angles
Idrissa Reply
im all ears I need to learn
right! what he said ⤴⤴⤴
greetings from Iran
salut. from Algeria
what is a good calculator for all algebra; would a Casio fx 260 work with all algebra equations? please name the cheapest, thanks.
Kevin Reply
a perfect square v²+2v+_
Dearan Reply
kkk nice
Abdirahman Reply
algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
The answer is neither. The function, 2 = 0 cannot exist. Hence, the function is undefined.
Embra Reply
Jeannette has $5 and $10 bills in her wallet. The number of fives is three more than six times the number of tens. Let t represent the number of tens. Write an expression for the number of fives.
August Reply
What is the expressiin for seven less than four times the number of nickels
Leonardo Reply
How do i figure this problem out.
how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
why surface tension is zero at critical temperature
I think if critical temperature denote high temperature then a liquid stats boils that time the water stats to evaporate so some moles of h2o to up and due to high temp the bonding break they have low density so it can be a reason
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Modules linking to computing cases. OpenStax CNX. Jul 26, 2007 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col10423/1.2
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