Re: [SystemSafety] Another unbelievable failure (file system overflow)

From: Peter Bishop < >
Date: Mon, 08 Jun 2015 10:48:18 +0100


Further to Peter's remarks,
I recall a BBC programme interviewing Phillipa Foot on measuring the moral responses of people using thought experiments involving trains.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem

Turns out that people of all cultures respond to the problems in very similar ways - even if you have to replace trains and tracks by crocodiles and rivers.

Peter Bishop, Adelard

Peter Bernard Ladkin wrote:
> On 2015-06-04 22:20 , Chris Hills wrote:

>> The problem is that ethics, like morality are not fixed and change over time and culture. There
>> are no absolute morals nor ethics.

>
> and again
>
>> Well give me one ethic or moral that is fixed and universally applies constantly.

>
> First, let's take the assertion
>
>> ethics, like morality are not fixed and change over time and culture

>
> Kant and John Rawls would disagree. They would say the injunctions "do unto others as you would
> have them do unto you" (Kant), or Rawl's injunction to fair behavior, in which "fair" has a
> criterion of ignorance of the subject, are fixed and do not change. Indeed, I would say it is
> intuitively obvious that it is so. So there are not one example but two examples of ethical rules
> that are
>> fixed and universally appl[y] constantly

>
> Of course, one may think that both of them are wrong. But there are good, sophisticated arguments
> to say they are right. More importantly, they are both used widely in practice.
>
> Second, they are statements of obligation which are (clearly, I would say) not relative to
> anything. So if you accept them (for the reasons their authors and others give) then the statement
>> There are no absolute morals nor ethics

> is clearly wrong.
>
> Philippa Foot, who was regarded when he and she were alive by Michael Dummett as perhaps the most
> pertinent moral philosopher, has her "natural ethics", of which there is a long tradition. Her (I
> think only) book,
> * Philippa Foot, Natural Goodness, Oxford UP 2001,
> is classic. Natural ethics is not relative to time or culture, and universally applies constantly.
> One might also consult
> * Onora O'Neill's 2002 Reith Lectures, A Question of Trust, Cambridge UP 2002
> and
> * Simon Blackburn, Ethics: A very Short Introduction, Oxford UP 2001.
>
> Each of these sources give plenty of examples of ethical principles which are not relative to time
> or culture or anything else.
>
> Ethics is a fascinating subject and I love to discuss it, but I don't want to let myself be drawn
> into general discussion and will try to keep my comments linked to applications in safety-critical
> systems engineering.
>
> Speaking of which, Trolleyology is concerned with the behavior of controllers of safety-critical
> rail systems. (Trolleyology is a burgeoning subfield of ethics, started off by Ms. Foot.)
>
> PBL
>
> Prof. Peter Bernard Ladkin, Faculty of Technology, University of Bielefeld, 33594 Bielefeld, Germany
> Je suis Charlie
> Tel+msg +49 (0)521 880 7319 www.rvs.uni-bielefeld.de
>
>
>
>


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Peter Bishop
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Adelard LLP
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Received on Mon Jun 08 2015 - 11:48:33 CEST

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