Ethics and Morality

Ethics and Morality

Bernd Carsten Stahl (De Montford University, UK)
Copyright: © 2004 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-172-8.ch002
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Abstract

Academic texts have to conform to certain standards, and one of these is to define the concepts they use. Texts dealing with ethics or morality therefore have to define what these concepts mean. In the case of English text about computer ethics, the definitions are usually done by contrasting the teleological and the deontological tradition. Another possibility is to talk about absolutist versus relativist ethical theories. Frequently, the terms ethics and morality are treated as equal. Arguably, texts on computer ethics are not meant to be expertises in ethics and many readers of these texts tend to be practically oriented. It is often argued that an introduction into the depth of ethical theory will do more to confuse these readers than help them. However, such arguments can be used to blend out problematic aspects of ethics and pretend that there are clear solutions to these problems when these are in fact contentious. This book chooses another route and will spend some time giving an introduction to normative terms that may be unfamiliar to many native English speakers. Furthermore, it will emphasise that the complexity of the problems warrants a more fine-grained use of the terms, and that it is useful to distinguish between ethics and morality.

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