Karen Arnold Are ethics relative or absolute? And are ethics subjective or objective? To discuss this subject we need first to examine all the involved concepts and beyond as understood within a conscientiological approach.
Matteo Mameli Accountability in Research, Policies and Quality Assurance, Vol. Bortolotti inand Psychology M. We argue that, provided some requirements are satisfied, it is possible to use deceptive meth- ods without producing significant harm to research participants and without any significant violation of their autonomy.
We also argue that methodological decep- tion is at least at the moment the only effective means by which one can acquire morally significant information about certain behavioral tendencies.
Individuals in general, and research participants in particular, gain self-knowledge which can help them improve their autonomous decision-making. The community gains col- lective self-knowledge that, once shared, can play a role in shaping education, informing policies and in general creating a more efficient and just society.
Introduction Researchers sometimes deceive the participants in psychological experiments on methodological grounds. The participants may be deceived about the purpose, design, or setting of the experi- ments. Is methodological deception ethically permissible? The two main objections against methodological deception concern the risk of psychological harm to research participants and the violation of their autonomy.
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Mameli We argue that neither of these objections is convincing: It is possible to use deceptive methods in psychological experiments without producing significant harm and without any significant violation of autonomy.
Moreover, we argue that there are moral reasons in favor of using methodological deception. Deceptive methods seem to be at least at the moment the only means by which individuals and society can acquire important information about some psychological tendencies.
First, such information can be of great value to society. Knowledge about discriminatory biases, for example, can be used to create a more efficient and just society.
Second, in so far as research participants have an interest in exercising their capacity as autonomous decision-mak- ers and in properly controlling their behavior, they also have an interest in acquiring information about their unconscious psycho- logical tendencies, even though such information may in some circumstances be mildly distressing.
Thus, the potential benefits of the experimental results that can now be obtained only by using methodological deception can be characterized in terms of two types of morally significant knowledge: We consider the variety of interests that persons might have in participating in research.
From a perspective in which personal development is connected to the acquisition of self-knowledge, the use of deception in experimental psychology can also be instrumental in promoting the exercise of autonomy.
In Section 1, we briefly present the methodological reasons for and against the use of deception in psychological research. In Section 2, we discuss and reject some ethical arguments against methodological deception. In Section 3, we argue for the moral significance of the information acquired through the use of deception.
We illustrate this point by means of an example: A social psychology experiment where deceptive methods were used to uncover biases in hiring practices. Methodological Arguments In most cases, the purpose of deceptive methods in psychology is to make sure that the research participants are not aware of what aspect of their psychology is being studied and in what way.
In social psychology, though, where frequently the object of the research is a form of undesirable behavior, the opposite effect often occurs. For example, when research participants are made aware that the object of the experiment is aggressive behavior, they often refrain from engaging in aggressive behavior for the dura- tion of the experiment.
Social psychologists use deception to avoid this kind of effect.
Psychological evidence suggests that reliable data about how people behave in certain situations cannot be easily obtained by asking them how they did or would behave in those situations. People are often mistaken about their behavioral tendencies and the ways in which they describe themselves or revise their self- descriptions on the basis of evidence are usually biased by their conscious or unconscious desire to fit a particular profile Nisbett and Ross, ; Aronson, Suppose one is studying altruistic behavior.
What people say about what they would do to help or benefit others can be a poor guide to what people actually do in those situations. There are many experimental situations where, at the moment, deception is methodologically necessary in order to obtain reliable results.
On this view, if deception were used in most psychological experiments, and if the potential participants in the experiments were aware of this, any experiment would generate suspicion in the participants. The participants would try to second-guess the experi- menter and this would make the experimental results difficult to interpret: It would be difficult to establish whether the observed results reflect the way people normally behave or whether they reflect the way people behave when they are trying to second-guess an experimenter.
For example, neuroimaging techniques might render deceptive methods unnecessary in certain areas of investigation.Ethics are almost always relative (and certainly dependent on our level of knowledge and capability), but there are likely ties to not-well-understood fundamentals that may not be relative (but aren't absolute).
Unethical Rationalizations and Misconceptions. Simply put, compliance with rules, including laws, isn’t the same as ethics. Compliance depends on an individual’s desire to avoid punishment. dishonest, or dastardly, is likely to find a way.
This is one reason why the ubiquitous corporate ethics programs that emphasize “compliance. Give at least three reasons why it is important to focus not just on particular actions, but on virtues, in doing moral theology.
Use an example to show how having a virtue is not the same as simply performing good actions. 1. Habit: A habit is not simply a way of analyzing how regularly one performs a certain action but rather it is an abiding disposition that changes who a person is.
The most egregious example cited by tranceformingnlp.com was Ron Johnson, former CEO of J.C. Penney, which fired him April 8 after a month stint during which he failed to turn around the company. Are ethics relative or absolute?
Why? And are ethics subjective or objective? To discuss this subject we need first to examine all the involved concepts and beyond as understood within a conscientiological tranceformingnlp.com let us start with the concepts of.
The audience of the Research Seminar Series organized by the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics at the University of Birmingham (UK), where an earlier version of this article was presented, provided stimulating discussion.