Tag Archives | Ethics

Al-Jazeera Anchor Ahmed Mansour Released, Details of Torture Case Reemerge

Ahmed Mansour

Ahmed Mansour

These videos are allegedly of the torture with Mansour present. NSFW.

Hanad Fayed writes at the Cairo Post:

Despite Egyptian efforts to extradite Al-Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour from Germany to Egypt, he was released Monday from a German prison after two days of detention, Reuters reported the Berlin state prosecutor as saying.

“No one will be extradited from Germany if they face the death penalty,” Reuters quoted spokesperson for the Germany Foreign Ministry Martin Schaefer as saying earlier Monday.

“Egypt has launched a politically motivated campaign against Al-Jazeera and is now abusing the international system,” CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator Sherif Mansour said Sunday.

The Interpol previously rejected an Egyptian request to issue a red notice against Mansour in October 2014 because it did not meet the standards of the Interpol, according to Mansour’s lawyer.

British-Egyptian Al-Jazeera anchor Mansour was arrested Saturday in Berlin while heading to Qatar.

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People resort to violence because their moral codes demand it

European Parliament (CC by-nc-nd 2.0)

European Parliament (CC by-nc-nd 2.0)

Tage Rai explores the “myth of pure evil” and uncovers what motivates the majority of people to violence. Let’s look into the abyss with this long(ish) read from Aeon.

via Aeon:

‘When I was 14 years old, this guy beat me down in the streets. And my stepfather took his life right in front of me. And I felt good about it, really.’
— Tio, in the documentary, The Interrupters (2011)

In his book Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty (1999), the psychologist Roy Baumeister argues that people believe most perpetrators of violence to be sadists who gain pleasure from the suffering of innocent victims. Especially for the most heinous crimes, we can’t help but see the perpetrators as ‘bad’ people: inhuman monsters who lack basic moral feeling. Baumeister called this phenomenon ‘the myth of pure evil’. A myth because it isn’t true.

In spite of widespread beliefs about its existence, sadism is so rare that it is not even an official psychiatric diagnosis.

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Amid Torture, Experts Say CIA’s Other Crime Was ‘Human Experimentation’

Detention Camp, Source: Wikipedia

Detention Camp, Source: Wikipedia

This was originally published on Common Dreams. Read more of Jon Queally’s posts here.

After the Central Intelligence Agency was given authority to begin torturing suspected terrorists in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, newly published documents show that another of that program’s transgressions, according to experts, was a gross violation of medical ethics that allowed the agency to conduct what amounted to “human experimentation” on people who became test subjects without consent.

Reported exclusively by the Guardian on Monday, sections of a previously classified CIA document—first obtained by the ACLU—reveal that a long-standing policy against allowing people to become unwitting medical or research subjects remained in place and under the purview of the director of the CIA even as the agency began slamming people into walls, beating them intensely, exposing them to prolonged periods of sleep deprivation, performing repeated sessions of waterboarding, and conducting other heinous forms of psychological and physical abuse.… Read the rest

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Intoxicated Consent to Sexual Relations: A Map of Moral Claims

This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

Consent is moral magic. It transforms an impermissible act into a permissible one. But deciding when and whether to respect a particular token or signal of consent is an ethically fraught business. Can children consent to medical treatment? Can adults with early stage dementia consent to give away all their earthly possessions? Is a smile or a nod sufficient for consent? Is it possible to consent to something by doing or saying nothing? Can you consent to have something done to you while you are asleep, if you provided the consent in writing in advance? Questions of this nature abound.

One of the most contentious of all these questions has to do with the correct attitude toward consent to sexual relations that occurs when one or more of the parties to a particular sexual encounter are voluntarily intoxicated. To take a typical and all-too frequent case, suppose that Ann and Bob meet at a party.… Read the rest

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The Arc of the Moral Universe… Is Twisted

President George W. Bush looks over a brief with Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in the Outer Oval Office of the White House on September 12, 2001. (Photo: U.S. National Archives)

President George W. Bush looks over a brief with Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in the Outer Oval Office of the White House on September 12, 2001. (Photo: U.S. National Archives)

David Michael Green writes at Common Dreams:

Barack Obama is in the habit of borrowing from Martin Luther King to remind us that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

Funny, I was just wondering about that last week myself.

Not because Obama has restated the premise, of course.  From Arctic drilling, to persecuting – and prosecuting – whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, to viciously slandering rightful critics of his trade deal abominations, Obama has shown that he may be well acquainted with many things, but moral justice is not much one of them.

No, what got me thinking about this was the resurfacing these last weeks of the national discussion about the justification for America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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A Framework for Understanding our Ethical Relationships with Intelligent Technology

Hiroshi Ishiguro with the Telenoid R1

Hiroshi Ishiguro with the Telenoid R1

This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

How do we relate to technology? How does it relate to us? These are important questions, particularly in light of the increasingly ubiquitous and often hidden roles that modern computing technology plays in our lives. We have always relied on different forms of technology, from stone axes to trains and automobiles. But modern computing technology has some important properties. When it incorporates artificially intelligent programmes, and utilises robotic action-implementation systems, it has the ability to interfere with, and possibly supersede, human agency.

Some of this interference might be desirable. If a robotic surgeon can increase the success rate of a risky type of surgery, we should probably welcome it. But some of the interference might be less desirable. I have argued in the past that we should have some concerns about automated systems that render our public decision-making processes more opaque.… Read the rest

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Before You Call a Man a Creep—or Worse—Read This

See-ming Lee (CC BY 2.0)

See-ming Lee (CC BY 2.0)

Peter Ross writes at the Good Men Project:

We’ve all seen the stories online about men being falsely accused of being creeps and paedophiles. Stop me if any of these sound familiar:

I was sitting on a bench watching my granddaughter on the swings when the police show up to question me because someone reported that I was leering at the children.

I was asked to move seats on a plane because a child was seated next to me.

I was tapped on the shoulder by police while I was taking photos of the beach. Someone thought I was taking pictures of their children.

For most men, any of the above situations would not only be mortifying but would also make us extremely angry to be accused of such a heinous intention just because we have a Y chromosome. This is an awful phenomenon and one that has been written about a number of times, and recently on The Good Men Project, in an attempt to educate people that, surprise, most men aren’t predators.

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The Ethics of Having Children: Deontological Arguments

parents and children

This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

The having and begetting of children is central to human life. For many, it is a natural and unqualified good. The belief that your life is somehow incomplete or inferior if you do not have children persists in many cultures. Most people never question whether it is ethical to have children. But when you think about it this is pretty odd. A child is a sentient being who is highly dependent on the care of other human beings (typically its biological parents). So if you do have children, you are voluntarily taking on a significant moral responsibility and entrusting into your care a being capable of suffering great moral harms. This is not something to be taken lightly.

Consequently, it seems legitimate to ask the question: is it (morally) right to have children? In other words, is the having and begetting of children morally permissible, impermissible, obligatory or supererogatory?… Read the rest

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Considering ‘The Philosophy Of The Web’

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Steve Jurvetson (CC BY 2.0)

 

Tania Lombrozo via Public Radio East:

We associate technology with the shiny and new. But humans have been using technology to change the environment and themselves since at least the lower Paleolithic period, when our ancestors were making stone tools.

Is the technology of today fundamentally different? In particular, does it change the way we think of ourselves or our relationships to each other and the environment? Does it change the way we think about what exists (metaphysics), about what and how we can know about it (epistemology), or about how we ought to live (ethics)?

These are traditionally philosophical questions, but they’re questions that some have been revisiting in light of one of today’s most pervasive developments: the rise of the Web.

A few weeks ago, two of us at 13.7 (Alva Noë and myself) participated in a workshop at the Googleplex on the “Philosophy of the Web.” The workshop was organized by Harry Halpin, a research scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab who has been at the forefront of this emerging area of philosophy.

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Is downloading really stealing? The ethics of digital piracy

Piracy might be theft, but it’s not the same as robbing someone of their material possessions. Josu/Flickr, CC BY

Piracy might be theft, but it’s not the same as robbing someone of their material possessions. Josu/Flickr, CC BY

Christian Barry, Australian National University

Many millions of people throughout the world will illegally download the fifth season of Game of Thrones, released today by HBO. Legally speaking, what they will be doing is a violation of intellectual property rights, or “piracy”. But will they be doing anything morally wrong?

It might seem obvious that what they will do is wrong. After all, it is illegal. But there are many things that have been illegal that people don’t think are morally wrong. Same-sex relationships, divorce and many other practices that are now widely accepted as morally acceptable were once outlawed and criminally sanctioned.

Few people think they were wrong just before they were legalised. Rather, they tend to think the laws governing these behaviours were unjust. So appeal only to the illegality of downloading doesn’t settle whether it is okay, morally speaking.… Read the rest

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