The emerging concern about software piracy and illegal or unauthorized use of information technology and software has been evident in the media and open literature for the last few years. In the course of conducting their academic assignments, the authors began to compare observations from classroom experiences related to ethics in the use of software and information technology and systems. Qualitatively and anecdotally, it appeared that many if not most, students had misconceptions about what represented ethical and unethical behaviors in (...) these realms. Clearly, one can argue that if college students are uncertain about what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate behavior then this uncertainty will be carried forward into their workplaces upon graduation. Furthermore, if their workplaces don't provide ethics training as a component of a new employee orientation program, one can project a potential for unintentional violations and infringements of copyrights and law in the field. This study was conducted among graduate and undergraduate students to gain insight into their attitudes, perceptions and understanding of some of the relevant ethics issues. A questionnaire of 11 statements was employed that described ubiquitous but most likely unethical (or surely dubious) behaviors in the prevailing business and academic environments. Each respondent was asked to evaluate each statement twice (once for “self” and once for “colleague”) on a five-option highly ethical (5) to neutral (3) to highly unethical (1) scale. The statements were worded such that lower instrument score was associated with higher ethical responses. The questionnaire's two-part structure was designed to solicit honest answers. The encouraging learning from this study was that the overall sample and its various sub-samples did not consider any of the eleven behaviors to be “ethical” or “highly ethical.” It was also encouraging to note that the overall sample and all sub-samples considered “highly unethical” those behaviors associated with personal privacy or property or outright theft. This indicated that moral judgment and probity prevail. The discouraging learning was that behaviors associated with the use of enterprise property were viewed as “neutral” i.e., neither “ethical” nor “unethical.” These findings suggested confusion and lack of clarity and definition around workplace deportment as it regards ethics in software and information technology use. The current study suggests that additional research needs to be conducted to define and clarify the issues, which in turn can form the basis for programs to rectify or at least ameliorate the situation. (shrink)
Introduction -- Contending for moral first things : Christian social ethics and postconsensus culture -- Natural law and the Christian tradition -- Natural law and the Protestant prejudice -- Moral law, Christian belief, and social ethics -- Contending for moral first things in ethical and bioethical debates : critical categories, part 1 -- Contending for moral first things in ethical and bioethical debates : critical categories, part 2 -- Ethics, bioethics, and the natural law, a test case : euthanasia yesterday (...) and today -- The natural law and public morality : second thoughts on what is at stake. (shrink)
One of the most perceptive and ambidextrous social commentators of our day, Augustinian scholar Jean Bethke Elshtain furnishes in ever fresh ways through her writings a bridge between the ancient and the modern, between politics and ethics, between timeless moral wisdom and cultural sensitivity. To read Elshtain seriously is to take the study of culture as well as the "permanent things" seriously. But Elshtain is no mere moralist. Neither is she content solely to dwell in the domain of the theoretical. (...) For it is Elshtain the citizen - the creatively engaged and contributing citizen - whom the reader encounters on virtually every page of her writings. But reader beware: Elshtain does not shy away from controversy. At the same time, she is anything but a controversialist. In the essay that follows, several prominent themes that emerge from Elstain's writings - civic responsibility, justice, gender, and war - are considered afresh. Whether one agrees with her positions or not, one is forced to confess in the end that she cares deeply about the common good. And this alone makes her required reading for any engaged citizen of the republic. (shrink)
It is well known that Augustine, Boethius, Anselm and Aquinas participated in a tradition of philosophical theology which determined God to be simple, perfect, immutable and timelessly eternal. Within the parameters of such an Hellenic understanding of the divine nature, they sought a clarification of one of the fundamental teachings of their Christian faith, the doctrine of the Trinity. These classical theists were not dogmatists, naively unreflective about the very possibility of their project. Aquinas, for instance, explicitly worried about and (...) fought to dispel the seeming contradiction between the philosophical requirement of divine simplicity and the creedal insistence on a threefold personhood in God. 1 Nevertheless, doubts abound. Philosophers otherwise friendly to Classical Theism still remain unsure about the coherence of affirming a God that is at once absolutely simple and triune. 2 A less friendly critic has even suggested that the theory of divine simplicity pressured Augustine and his medieval followers away from recognizing that real complexity within the life of God which Trinitarianism expresses. 3. (shrink)
Man has the urge to thrust against the limits of language. Think for instance about one's astonishment that anything exists. This astonishment cannot be expressed in the form of a question and there is no answer to it. Anything we can say must, a priori, be nonsense.