Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Ton Zylstra defines, Ethics as a Practice (EaaP) as part of "a call to see yourself as an ethics practitioner, and a member of a community of practice of such practitioners, not as someone ethics ‘is done to’. So you can always do the next right thing." But what is "the right thing"? I don't pose that question facetiously. We can't even agree on when it's ethical to kill a person. We certainly don't agree on the great ethical issues of our time - surveillance, disinformation, democracy - for otherwise these wouldn't be issues at all. And I'm quite sure that my sense of ethics (which opposes showing McDonalds ads and Disney cartoons to children, for example) isn't widely shared. Is the next right thing stealing food to feed your children? Is it helping immigrants escape into your country? Too often, what people mean when they say 'ethics' is 'compliance'. But we should not confuse these very different concepts.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Mar 31, 2021 01:23 a.m.