faceshot_BandWManus Charleton
Manus Charleton has lectured in Ethics, in Politics, and in Morality & Social Policy on the Institute of Technology Sligo’s degree in Social Care. He has served as external examiner for Ethics on Limerick IT’s Social Care degree. He has also lectured in Ethics on a Masters in Business Administration.

He has been published in the Journal of Social Work Practice, the European Journal of Social Education, and in Studies, an Irish Quarterly Review. His essays have been published in the Dublin Review of Books, and essays, short fiction and a short memoir in Irish Pages, a Journal of Contemporary Writing. Publications >>>

ABOUT SITE

This website is intended as a resource for ethics. A particular purpose is to provide additional material for the textbook Ethics for Social Care in Ireland: Philosophy and Practice (Second Edition 2014). It is also hoped to explore further a connection between ethics and art, which is made in the conclusion of this book.    

Ethics and Philosophy

Ethics is a subject within philosophy. One of the central questions philosophy explores is the understanding of what it means to be good or to do the right thing. Within ethical philosophy attempts are made to establish a basis for values and principles to guide behaviour in practice. 

Values and Principles

At the nub of ethics lie values and principles. Values include well-being, empathy and care. Principles include respect, equality and human rights. A value or principle is implied whenever we make an ethical observation or judgment or hear other people making them. They lie behind and direct our views when we use words such as ‘should’ and ‘should not’ in referring to examples of behaviour and living conditions. Other words include ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘appropriate’ and ‘inappropriate’. ‘Life enhancing’ and ‘dispiriting’ are responses which also reflect values and principles, as do more informal, conversational  terms such as ‘brilliant’ and ‘terrible’ or ‘great’ and ‘awful’ when used to communicate approval or disapproval in an ethical sense.  

Behaviour and living conditions which exemplify values and principles are considered ethical. Conversely, behaviour and living conditions which conflict with values and principles are considered unethical.

Home Page Quote

A Golden Age for Ethics and Philosophy?

‘ … algorithms are starting to learn from their environments. And once an algorithm is learning, we no longer know to any degree of certainty what its rule and parameters are. At which point we can’t be certain of how it will interact with other algorithms, the physical world, or us.

Accordingly, he [Toby Walsh, professor of artificial intelligence, University New South Wales) believes ethics to be the new frontier in tech, foreseeing “a golden age for philosophy” – a view with which Eugene Spafford of Purdue University , a cyber security expert, concurs.

“Where there are choices to be made, that’s where ethics come in” – he [Spafford] said. “And we tend to want to have an agency that we can interrogate or blame, which is very difficult to do with an algorithm.”‘

(Source: ‘Franken-algorithms: the deadly consequences of unpredictable code’, Andrew Smith, the Guardian 30/08/2018.)

See Archives for previous quotes.