Selecting Ethical Design Materials to Overcome Choice Paralysis in STEM in advance

Teaching Ethics (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Ethical choice paralysis is a major barrier to the implementation of ethical design materials into the technology design process. Choice paralysis seems to result from tacit background assumptions propagated by humanistic modes of critical inquiry. I propose that one way of obviating choice paralysis at the professional level is to educate STEM students on how to select ethical design materials for a project. In order to advance that endeavor, I propose some obligations especially for humanistically trained STEM ethics educators. Specifically, I propose that these include obligations to affirm that students can indeed select workable ethical design materials for their projects, to avoid using humanistic modes of critical ethical inquiry when instructing on how to make those selections, and to note that maximizing for ideally ethical results may not be a primary selection criterion.

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Sherri Lynn Conklin
University of California at Santa Barbara

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