Category Archives: 2001 Conference

The Case Against the New Casuistry

Mahesh Ananth, Bowling Green State University

Casuistry or case-based analysis is one of the methodologies employed by bioethicists and clinicians to address the many complex medical decisions that most people must face at one time or another in their lives. Casuists declare firmly that the only way to resolve the complex issues in medical settings is to focus simply on the actual details of specific cases and then determine what to do in the given cases. Notably, casuistry is manifest in the current literature in at least four distinct permutations: (1) Albert Jonsen’s and Stephen Toulmin’s “Single-Paradigm” formula, (2) Baruch Brody’s “Model of Conflicting Appeals, ” (3) Mark Kuczewski’s “Communitarian Casuistry,” and (4) Carson Strong’s “Two-Paradigm” version of casuistry. To make this inquiry tractable, I will provide an account of a version of casuistry offered by Jonsen and Toulmin [hereafter JT]. Next, I will provide some of the central criticisms of this approach that would appear to render it rather moribund. I will then explain and evaluate Carson Strong’s recent attempt to defend the JT strategy. My analysis will reveal that Strong’s defense of the JT version of casuistry is not nearly as puissant as he purports. The final upshot of this analysis, which includes two criticisms of my own, will make clear that casuistry-at least JT’s version of it-is inadequate as a serious methodological framework from which to make difficult decisions in medical settings.

One method of encouraging civil debate when ethics issues arise is by working toward increased ethical literacy in the hunting community. I propose eight steps that would help hunters and non-hunters interested in ethics to establish a common base to begin discussions of ethical dilemmas. These steps include teaching standards for the instructors, a set curriculum, a mentoring program, and stricter requirements for first-time hunters in a state.

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Either it's Moral or ''Taint

An Exploration and Application of Moral Taint

Moral Taint in the context of 21st Century Ethics

“Taint is best understood as determined not only by what we do but also who we choose to be.

Given that this society has become increasingly globalized, it is not surprising that recently more consideration has been given to the idea of collective responsibility. Every individual is affected to some extent by his or her membership (voluntary or required) in certain groups (e.g. gender, race, education, etc) and thus, it is beneficial to explore the relations of the individual to these connections in terms of ethical behavior, morally required action, and expected emotive involvement. This paper will examine the idea of moral taint as it relates to collective responsibility, several alternative views, and some implications of this concept-such as metaphysical guilt. Finally, the concept of moral taint will be applied to a pending lawsuit regarding whether reparations ought to be given to the descendants of American slaves.

One of the most evident characteristics of contemporary culture is the tendency to think individualistically, particularly in terms of moral responsibility. In Ancient Greece and other cultures, to be responsible was construed somewhat differently than it is currently viewed. In ancient times when one member of the family performed a morally reprehensible action, the entire family, and possibly some close friends, felt and were seen as polluted simply because of that one person’s action. This idea of moral pollution or contamination, which is synonymous with “moral taint,” has a common analogue in the 20th century as well. It has been documented that many Germans feel contaminated because of the actions of their Nazi countrymen even when they themselves performed no such atrocities-they were merely both members of the same people group. But is this a proper response to the monstrosities that were perpetuated by their fellow countrymen?

For the purposes of this paper, let us say that to say that some individual or group is responsible is to say that the individual or group is accountable and liable. Let us also say that to hold someone responsible is to require an explanation for actions apparently contrary to established criteria and to compel them to make rectification for consequences of actions contrary to the criteria for behavior. Furthermore, let us also say that if someone is responsible for, they have an obligation, or they have brought about some circumstance. Lastly guilt is one’s response to toward the awareness and agreement that one has done something for which he or she is responsible and/or ought to be held responsible because of an obligation.

It is also necessary to understand what a collective is and what its relation is to the idea of moral responsibility. A collective is a group of people bound together by something held in common. A collective (as an entity) can be held responsible. A collective’s being responsible for the results of an action entails that the collective’s conduct played a significant role in causing those results. That a collective can be held responsible is not to be disputed in this paper, but the purpose of this paper is to examine the issue of whether or not an individual who is not a member of a specific (relatively narrow) collective, but only closely related to it (e.g. a German, but not a Nazi) ought also to be held responsible in some manner. The person is not morally guilty, but they are certainly affected in some manner, as many historical and current social practices seem to indicate. Is there an alternative to moral guilt in this context? Could moral taint be the concept we are looking for?

There are three basic positions as to the nature of moral taint and being held responsible. Anthony Appiah holds that only one’s moral integrity, or the society’s view of that individual’s moral status, is affected when one is associated with a harm but is not a member of the specific collective which is responsible for the harm. For Appiah, an individual merely associated with a collective is in no way responsible for the harms done to other people and ought not be held responsible (Mellema Collective Responsibility 72). Gregory Mellema says that taint is virtually identical to moral guilt. Mellema’s position suggests that association is enough to attribute responsibility (Mellema Collective Responsibility 72). This view is at the other end of the spectrum from Appiah’s account. Larry May (and the late Karl Jaspers) hold the middle ground, calling moral taint “metaphysical guilt,” a term which will be defined shortly. All three of the positions involve the idea of moral taint. They are distinct in that the first position says that one who is tainted is neither morally guilty nor responsible. In the second position, the tainted individual is morally guilty as well as responsible. This final position suggests that one is not morally guilty but metaphysically guilty and a type of responsibility, which shall be termed ‘solidarity responsibility,’ flows from that. An in-depth explanation of why this position is preferred to the others is outside of the scope of this paper.

There are two main concepts that contribute to an explanation of metaphysical guilt: solidarity and social existentialism. Metaphysical guilt implies that one has obligations to other people-these obligations arise by virtue of human solidarity. For the purposes of this paper, solidarity requires humans identifying each other as humans without regard to various differences between individuals. Along with this universal identification, solidarity is formed by “ethical habits and reciprocal moral obligations internalized by community members as grounds for trusting each other.” (Fukuyama 9) These habits and internalized obligations cannot be formed by means of rules or regulations alone; some kind of internal incentive to comply with these norms is necessary. Samuel Oliner found that highly moral people view themselves as having “connections with others in relationships of commitment and care and the belief in a basic universal similarity”(Oliner 259). He also found that these relationships and beliefs are valued above social status and that moral obligations protect this solidarity.

Moral taint always requires a community that shapes the character of the individual. Everyone is a member of one same collective-humanity-but each person is also a member of other, more specific collectives (e.g. female, white, middle class, etc.). It is on the basis of the one shared collective of humanity that much of metaphysical guilt theory is formed. Solidarity creates obligations not to harm others and to prevent others from performing harms. These obligations are not moral obligations but rather are of a different form-they are grounded solely in solidarity. The nature of those obligations will be discussed later. Even those not directly involved in harming others are metaphysically guilty due to their not having attempted to prevent the harm, that is, due to their failing to comply with solidarity obligations.

One issue that must be considered in regard to the concept of moral taint is what role a person must have in a harm in order for him or her to be considered tainted, that is, what role does solidarity play in determining the range of association? Most thinkers who concur with the idea of moral taint agree that an individual can be polluted even if his or her association with the harm is inadvertent. Thus, one can be metaphysically guilty by unaware association. This is quite an encompassing position given that there is solidarity among humans, as we have previously set forth. Everyone in the entire world is not morally responsible for everyone else, although one may experience metaphysical guilt due to solidarity and personal attitude/response.

The second aspect of an explication of metaphysical guilt is an understanding of social existentialism. Social existentialism theory stems from much of Jean Paul Sartre’s position which asserts that an individual chooses how to define his or her own existence. It also has its roots in Martin Heidegger’s theory of the social construction of the self. May takes the following position: “It is possible for a single person to choose which societal influences he or she will be exposed to, and hence, which kind of self he or she will become. . . . Here . . .there is no essence of the self; it is social experience or existence as well as individual choosing, that constructs the self” (May 3).

Living authentically involves knowing who one is and recognizing solidarity responsibility for the harms that occur in the world. Sartre said that “authenticity consists in having a true and lucid consciousness of the situation, in assuming the responsibilities and risks it involves, in accepting it in pride or humiliation, sometimes in horror and hate. There is no doubt that authenticity demands much courage and more than courage” (quoted in May 149). Because one makes choices that create an authentic being, there is an element of responsibility involved, even though one cannot avoid making that choice. When one refrains from choosing, a choice is still made in that process. The existentialist asserts that one always has the power to change one’s own attitude regarding a situation, his or her own position, and also how one approaches the world. Sartre would say that authentic individuals must meet head-on their own faults and the faults of the communities of which they are a part. May would perhaps depart from Sartre and assert that responsibility goes beyond bringing about a state of affairs and includes solidarity responsibility for one’s attitudes toward a harm if one is not directly associated with that harm.

Social existentialism says that an individual is responsible in some way for his or her attitude toward a harm that could potentially occur or has actually occurred. Even if no harm actually occurs, the individual who had the harmful attitude risked a harm by maintaining the attitude and, thus, shares responsibility for the harm because he or she did nothing to curb the risk. It is not necessary that circumstances ever come about that would allow for action based on the attitude. By maintaining a harmful attitude, a harm is risked and that person had a significant role in potentially causing the harm since they did nothing to halt the harm (which would have actually occurred had the appropriate circumstances come about). Thus, one has a type of obligation toward the community at large, although since no physical action was performed, (only mental in maintaining the attitude) he or she is not morally responsible, but solidarity responsible. Thus, metaphysical guilt theory is grounded in the fact that each person inevitably chooses to maintain certain attitudes and chooses to create his or her own identity under social influence. That is, choices concerning attitude and identity make metaphysical guilt possible. To illustrate, if one chooses to maintain an attitude of disgust toward a Jew, for instance, but does not physically harm a Jewish person, while another is influenced by that attitude, that is cause for metaphysical guilt.

There are degrees to which one’s character and choices are influenced by the social context and, therefore, there are degrees of solidarity responsibility. For instance, if an individual can do nothing to prevent a harm being perpetrated by his or her community, there is still an element of responsibility, which arises from obligations toward the community. If verbal disagreement is not possible or beneficial, the individual can at least mentally denounce his or her group and dissociate his or her self from the group when it takes a morally wrong action. In this situation, the individual has the opportunity to hold the community responsible for harms rather than the community holding the individual responsible. Those who can distance themselves from the group but choose not to are subject to being metaphysically guilty and are solidarity responsible.

To summarize, metaphysical guilt theory is based on a shared identity of humankind (solidarity) and individual choice (social existentialism) in the following manner. Solidarity is the identification of humans as individuals without regard to differences. It, along with social existentialism, provides the ground of an individual’s obligation toward others to at least express disapproval of morally wrong actions and this holds even if that individual did not participate in them (nor was he or she even a member of a group who did perform the harm). Thus, social existentialism, or the view that attitudes and choices are formed under group influence, are grounds for solidarity responsibility. Therefore, one may be metaphysically guilty when one did nothing to prevent a harm that one ought to have-especially if one refrains from even internally disapproving. Also, one may be metaphysically guilty if one benefits from harm performed at a previous time.

Moral taint, as we have described it, is synonymous with metaphysical guilt. An individual’s state of taint can never be fully abolished. Instead, there are actions one may take to partially alleviate moral taint. Several thinkers suggest that one take “reasonable steps” to distance one’s self from the taint that could be inflicted (May 159). These steps will vary depending on the situation. May suggests one ask of oneself, “have I done all that can reasonably be expected of me to distance myself from this harm?” (May 159). While one will always be tainted, the levels to which the taint is applied may vary according to the response of the one who was tainted.

If there is nothing that an individual could have done to physically prevent a harm, then he or she cannot be held morally responsible. But that person has solidarity responsibility with respect to the choices he or she has made. One of the differences between metaphysical guilt and moral guilt is that one cannot be morally guilty for not sacrificing one’s life when there is nothing to be gained. But, should that person survive when others have been killed, he or she will often have what we have termed “metaphysical guilt.” This has been something that many Germans who lived through World War II have had to deal with-they feel “guilty” for being alive when so many were killed, particularly in situations in which they could have sacrificed their life, but it would have done nothing to alleviate the situation. They still may feel a type of guilt even if they made the choice to dissociate themselves with the collective who performed the harm, i.e. the Nazis. They can by no means be considered morally guilty and they are less tainted because they chose to, at the very least, mentally separate themselves from those who acted wrongly. Still, the situation has left them with a slightly tarnished sense of self-morality.

What if someone benefits from a harm that has occurred and is tainted by it at the same time? What is the appropriate ethical response? Recently consideration has been given to a class action lawsuit for reparations to benefit descendants of American slaves. It is argued that these reparations ought to be paid by corporations, Southern families, and, by extension, the general American public. The theory of metaphysical guilt may shed light on this issue.

Few would question the fact that slavery has had great effects upon living African Americans as well as their communities. All white Americans are members of a collective that is tainted because of that happened during the time of slavery. White Americans are seen as less than pure morally, because of the actions of their ancestors performed, even though some individuals did not preform a harm. White Americans must also question whether they have repudiated their morally wrong attitudes which would perpetuate the harm. Have they dissociated themselves from other members of their group who did perform the harm? But, taint does not imply moral responsibility which would be necessary for the application of traditional reparations to be assessed. Instead, metaphysical guilt is implied by taint. In terms of their solidarity responsibility, have white Americans done all that can be reasonably expected of them to distance themselves from the harms of slavery? Can members of other races see the needs that exists in African American individuals and communities and do what is expected of them as fellow human beings to help alleviate those needs? This attitude is imperative for there to exist solidarity among Americans of all colors. Is it plausible or beneficial to bring in the judicial system to mediate in this matter?

Since all Americans to some extent have received economic benefits from slavery, ought they be required to make reparation for what their ancestors and for what their fellow Americans did in oppression another group of people? What type of payment is appropriate for solidarity responsibility? Currently, it has been theorized that the basic crux of the lawsuit will be to prove that one is subject to being compelled to make rectification for the consequences of a harm-to show liability. The main difficulty in this case arises when most white Americans and most corporations do not consider themselves to have done anything for which they ought to be held responsible. If an individual or their ancestor emigrated to the U.S. after slavery was abolished, they are still tainted by virtue of solidarity and have solidarity responsibility as well. Thus, the burden is to show that solidarity is a necessary condition to a well-functioning society and personal choice is integral in forming solidarity. Personal attitudes and choices that lead to a lack of solidarity are, therefore, the ground upon which one could justify reparations.

It seems that this piece of potential litigation essentially seeks to create a feeling and environment of solidarity that apparently does not exist currently because the harms of slavery have not been sufficiently rectified. It is on the grounds of justice that solidarity is championed. But would the lawsuit create solidarity? Francis Fukuyama suggests that solidarity can only be formed by internal beliefs and habits not rules or regulations (Fukuyama 9). Thus, affirmative action or other similar programs cannot create solidarity. It seems that change is created through individual interaction, not government programs. If this is true, it would seem that just giving every descendent of a slave a check for $1000 will not create meaningful change. Several attorneys involved with this case have recognized this and suggested that the reparation money be used to create programs of social and moral education (Hitt 43). There is possible danger in this solution as well because it may alienate other minority communities who feel (and perhaps rightly so) that they have been oppressed as well. The following solution may or may not be possible, but perhaps the money from the lawsuit could be used to educate whites as well as blacks on their common ground-individuals meeting individuals and recognizing each other as such-not discounting the past but growing and moving on through it. This might be a specific qualification attached to the social programs.

It seems appropriate that some type of reparation is in order. There are other professionals who are much more capable of deciding what is appropriate and would do the least harm to the nation politically, legally and socially. But, theoretically, the form of reparation given above would seem to be appropriate.

An objection that is sure to come up with such a comprehensive position on moral taint is that the idea of personal responsibility will cease to be powerful because everyone is tainted by something or someone. There is an underlying fear of “incessant responsibility.” Moral taint offers the concept of a non-obligatory but ideally virtuous life whereby even though all are tainted, and ought to regret that taint, that does not necessarily entail that one has failed in his or her moral responsibility.

May’s rejoinder to this position is that because individual identity is shaped by group membership, this provides motivation for re-shaping the groups one has membership in, or at least one’s attitude toward the group, if membership happens to be involuntary. It is defeating to resign oneself to having an identification shaped by things which he or she did not choose. May asserts that humans must reshape their attitudes. People must feel motivated to avoid directly causing harm, but this motivation does not necessarily have to be weakened because moral taint adds another item on the list of things for which one ought to feel a sense of moral responsibility. May gives an example saying that “people continue to feel strongly motivated to avoid committing murder, even though there are other, lesser laws, such as traffic laws, that they are legally obligated not to violate” (Mellema Collective Responsibility 82). He asserts that people in a community ought to be motivated to avoid taint because they recognize their responsibility to the lives of other community members. If one’s own moral status is interrelated with a collective, that will negate the tendency to ignore serious evils.1 Perhaps this is just a complicated instance of positive peer pressure.

Idealistically speaking, it would be quite beneficial to live as though there really were

human solidarity. This does not seem to be logically plausible, though, because for there to be a state of inclusion, there must also be an idea of exclusion and the potential to carry the exclusivity out. One of the difficulties that arises from Jasper’s position is that because moral responsibility is as pervasive as moral guilt, unless a person does something to distance him or her self from the harm, they are held co-responsible. But how does one distance one’s self from the collective of all humankind without ceasing to be human? Perhaps one ought to maintain an overarching sense of the solidarity of humankind but at the same time recognize that it is when one is a member of a smaller group that he or she can form his or her own authentic identity. By sustaining a sense of solidarity, community is fostered which helps create an ethical society due to the closeness of relationships, while it is within one’s smaller groups that he or she can choose what kind of person to become and be responsible for his or her character.

Would anything change if one could be tainted by positive things rather than by harmful acts? How would the concept of moral taint be affected if consideration was given to individuals being tainted by morality rather than immorality i.e . benefitting from morally praiseworthy actions of others within one’s group. It seems this is what commonly occurs during the Olympics in televised human interest personal biographies. When a Kansas farmer chooses to relate or identify with a Russian ice skater, all the world seems to applaud because solidarity is often what this athletic phenomenon is intended to achieve. When it is a matter of the triumph rather than defeat of the human spirit, everyone wants to be “tainted” by this success. Why ought we seek to avoid metaphysical guilt when we pursue joy in identifying with others’s successes? If we accept the one, perhaps we ought to accept the other as well-particularly because metaphysical guilt is involved in one’s personal sense of morality and not just one’s sense of triumph and victory over various difficult odds.

Moral taint, in the form of metaphysical guilt, forces individuals to evaluate their lives and consider whether or not they are happy with the type of person they have become. This theory can cohere with many world-views and many religions. Within those groups a greater sense of community is formed due to the prevalence of metaphysical guilt and the solidarity that must exist previous to its formation. It seems that metaphysical guilt can be used to benefit humankind because it encourages greater responsibility within various groups, which is an advantage to all people.

Bibliography

Appiah, Anthony. “Racism and Moral Pollution” Philosophical Forum, 18, (1987), pp185-202.

Fukuyama, Francis. Trust. Free Press, New York. 1995.

Hitt, Jack. “Making the Case for Racial Reparations” Harper’s Magazine (Forum), November (2000), pp 38-51

Klassen, Johann. “Punishment and the Purification of Moral Taint” Journal of Social Philosophy, 27 (1996), pp 51-64.

May, Larry. Sharing Responsibility. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. 1992.

Mellema, Gregory. Collective Responsibility. Rodopi Press, Atlanta. 1997.

Mellema, Gregory. Individuals, Groups, and Shared Moral Responsibility. Peter Lang, New York. 1988.

Oliner, Samuel and Pearl. The Altruistic Personality Free Press, New York. 1988.

Schultz, Walter. Kinesis “Towards a communitarian liberalism” Vol 21 number 1, Summer 94.

The quote in the title is from Mellema “Collective Responsibility” p 76.

1See Oliner’s book for further explanation.


Dante's Inferno: Theatre of Transformation

Elisabeth Burke, University of New South Wales

This essay examines the relevance of ethics within a theatre production of Dante’s Inferno. Following a very brief overview of the structure, context and dramaturgy of the production I then elaborate some behind-the-scene stories that emerged during the period of the production. Each story is followed by a reflection on the impact of relationships on art making or of art practices on non-arts communities. Could theatre & arts practices hold the germ of an ethics approach for the non-arts community? I feel an urgency to explore this terrain as both the arts- and non-arts communities are increasingly indistinguishable. Both focus on product over process, entertainment over art, training over education, profits over people. I am less interested in examining the moral dimensions of the SUBJECT in art; such an emphasis can lead to censorship, or to regulatory ethics. Rather, my interest is both in how creativity and imagination is forged within the flux of relationships, and in that delicate balance between individual human flourishing and the community or group-dynamic. Process is important because it gives spirit to a product. All the stories in this essay are from and about relationships; each emerged from the threshold of life and theatre, from the group dynamics that were forged or became manifest in the processes and planning of the theatrical event P not on the stage itself. Many big ethical subjects emerge: power, knowledge, recognition, money – between the institutions and the individual, between professional artists and the amateur. At core were issues of trust and personal integrity. I conclude that conditions for a moral minimum of an ethics of creativity and imagination might include the need to: leave space within relationships for individuals to flourish on their own terms; re-enforce the value of working towards mutuality between the individual and community; maintain a deep critical perspective on the pitfalls of groups and organisations to regulate behaviour and thus create an amoral environment; have the courage to invest passion and take risks in one’s relationships with others; take hope from the fact that placing people and the quality of relationships before aesthetic and commercial outcomes enables the heart to dance with reason and imagination and enables human flourishing to begin; be willing to change and break through patterns of our personality that prevent us communing positively with others. These and other characteristics become a blueprint for a theatre of transformation.

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Weird Science: Testing Moral Claims

Lee Peck, Ohio University

Are there facts about how we should act? Can we test moral claims just as scientists test whether there is truth to a theory? Gilbert Harman believes there is “a real problem of testability in ethics, a problem that can be formulated without making mistakes about testability in science” (1986). Moral facts have no explanatory role, he says, and therefore ethics is immune from observational testing.

The Cornell realists have another view, however. The Cornell realist, Blackburn (1998) explains, “thinks we can identify the ‘truth-makers’ for our ethical thoughts, identifying what properties of things make them true, rather as the scientist identifies the property of stuff that identifies water or gold” (pp. 88-89).

In this paper, Harman’s and Sturgeon’s conflicting views will be presented. I argue Harman’s argument is the more feasible, but that Harman can make his argument stronger by presenting additional differences between the methodologies of ethical decision-making and scientific research.

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The Butterfly Effect: The Challenge of Characterizing an Ethic of Consumption

Laura Cannon, Arizona State University

The interdependencies that now exist between consuming and producing societies create the following question for those of us living in a consuming culture: How are we to behave ethically in a global age in which the summation of our personal actions can result in the gravest of consequences in places remote in time or space from ourselves? I will offer an ethical analysis of consumerism in the global economy that will address this question and that will be both an answer to, and an expansion of, Samuel Sheffler’s work entitled, “Individual Responsibility in a Global Age.” Firstly, I will argue that the economic and social complexities that Sheffler identifies as ethically problematic exist primarily as a function of the consumption habits of Americans and others of the developed world. Secondly, I will briefly summarize Sheffler’s arguments and offer my own towards the conclusion that neither our common sense notion of responsibility nor the theories of our most well known ethicists are helpful in the development of a practical consumer’s ethic. Lastly, after analyzing the nature of consumption in the developed world I will offer an alternative theory to those discussed that is not based on rules and principles but on virtue ethics.

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The Importance of the Hunter Education Program to the Development of Ethical Literacy Among the Hunting Community

Samsara Chapman, University of Montana

The fall 2000 hunting season in Montana started out poorly. On the first day two unfortunate events occurred: a llama, mistaken for a mule deer, was shot by a young hunter (Anon.); and a bull elk was killed, while the young man only had a cow license (Clawson). Then, on November 19, a hunter shot and killed his brother while tracking a wounded elk (McCarty). These three events are isolated, but indicate a partial failure of the ethical paradigm associated with hunting. The primary ethical paradigm associated with hunting involves respect for the land, animals, and other humans. In these cases the person who shoot the llama did not show knowledge of being able to identify shootable wildlife. The other young hunter became excited, fired in his excitement, and killed a bull instead of a cow; and the brother fired on what he believed to be their injured elk in the bushes.

Hunting is an activity where one of the beings involved, usually the non-human animal, often loses its life. The aspect of taking a life has brought about debates in cultural settings, usually over questions of the ethics of the activity. Historically, hunting provided the primary source of protein for humans. The necessity of this form of protein has diminished in contemporary culture with the advent of animal husbandry, but questions concerning how the activity is carried out and what attitudes hunters exhibit have gained prominence.

Once questions in the moral realm are raised, they cannot be easily dismissed. Because the activity of the hunt relies, in part, on the good-will of lawmakers and non-hunters, the need for increased ethical understanding and behavior in hunters has been recognized and programs are beginning to be implemented, usually under the auspices of the state hunter education program. Two tools that could be highly effective in promoting ethical literacy and ethical actions are hunter education programs and mentoring programs, but the ethical aspect of the activity of hunting needs to be recognized and emphasized by all persons engaged in hunting, including those who may not be affected by the hunter education programs.

In developing an understanding of the role of hunter education courses in working toward increased ethical literacy, I will first examine what ethical literacy is, and follow with the development of the modern ethical hunter. Finally, I will conclude by looking at the history of the hunter education program and an analysis of how this program can contribute to ethical literacy.

The Importance of Ethical Literacy for Developing a Hunting Ethic

Ethical literacy is a process of learning and being able to articulate your own moral life. There are three main points in the process: (1) explication, (2) clarification, and (3) illumination. The results of this process are to allow a person to easily comprehend moral controversies, to be able to respond to those controversies, and to allow the person to express himself in reasoned discourse. Ethical literacy is not necessary for ethical actions, but the reflection required by the process of ethical literacy encourages ethical, reasoned actions.

This process is encouraged by personal reading, dialogues with other people, and reflection on the individual’s moral state. Explication is the process of raising a person’s awareness of his or her own moral life. His or her moral norms are examined and tested for rigor in the clarification process. In the testing process, it is necessary to reflect on these norms. This reflection leads to consistency in the person’s moral life. Finally, the illumination process includes looking at personal moral norms in the context of history and how the history has contributed to the development of those norms.

This process is important in a growing climate of polarized thinking about hunting, especially with the increasing demands that hunters be ethical. With increased ethical literacy within the hunting community, an individual will be able to articulate why he or she hunts, and to hold or to work toward a consistent ethic. Hunters will come to understand their privilege in light of the historical context, and to recognize that history’s contributions to the developing hunting ethic.

Hunting in the United States

A hunter is part of a larger community that has its own history. This history includes self-imposed limits on the killing of animals, and a growing emphasis on respect for other hunters and non-hunters. This historical information begins to provide a base for this respect while instilling an idea of the importance of heritage in the modern hunter.

The roots of American hunting lie in Europe where wildlife belonged to the king and the common man had no access to hunt legally. If an animal was killed, the peasant faced penalties as severe as death (Posewitz Inherit the Hunt (IH) 35 – 37). When America was colonized in the 1600s, everything the settlers encountered here was seen as a resource without limits. Most of the resources were free of royal monopoly. The only exception were trees that would make good masts for the sailing ships, called the “broad arrow policy” because the trees would be blazed with an arrow by the royal navy. Other timber could be cut with little care–there was always more. The same was true with wildlife (Dana and Fairfax 3-5). Unfortunately this use ethic has predominated for most of our nation’s history, leading to massive declines in numbers of most of the native, shootable wildlife, and the extinction of a few species, notably the passenger pigeon.

Early U.S. hunters can be categorized into three groups: market hunters, subsistence hunters, and sport hunters. Market hunters, as the name implies, provided meat for buyers. One species (of several) that was highly impacted by market hunters was the American bison. In 1876, 80,000 bison hides were shipped down the Missouri from Fort Benton (Posewitz IH 52-54). In many cases bison were shot and only the hides and tongues were taken (Mussehl and Howell 8). By 1884 the bison-hide shipments had ceased: there were no more bison to be killed (Posewitz IH 52-54). The decimation of the bison was also a result of the U.S. Government attempting either to eradicate or to break the plains Indians to its rule.

Subsistence hunters were the men who hunted primarily to feed their families. These hunters had a much lower impact on wildlife species, but still had the common attitude that wildlife was limitless. Of the three classes of hunters, this one is considered to be more similar to early human hunting and gathering societies than the other forms recognized today (see Causey, King, List, and Vitali). In some ways, this presents a paradox: 45% of hunters cite getting meat as their primary purpose in hunting; 38% are recreational hunters, for whom hunting is a hobby; and 17% are nature hunters, or cite a wish to play the role of a natural predator (qtd. in Swan 17 – 19). This is a paradox because the original hunter-gatherer position is one of living with nature, or having an intimate role in the course of natural events. Now, many people view subsistence hunters as being outside of nature and less answerable to ethical claims (Causey 330-333). Today, members of this group are also called “utilitarian hunters.”

The third class of hunters borrowed the British term “sport hunter” to differentiate themselves from the subsistence and market hunters. The hunters that usually fell into this category were well-to-do, and considered their “sport” to be a form of recreation. These men did not need the meat to survive, but used hunting as a diversion. So-called “trophy” hunters fall into this class. Many sport hunters recognized the need for a sustainable hunting ethic and, subsequently, provided the funding and incentives necessary for the current state of wildlife through a voluntary tax on hunting and fishing equipment. The rise of conservation of wildlife also had an economic aspect: gun manufacturers realized that with fewer animals to shoot, their sales were declining, and the trend would continue (Gilbert and Dodds 10).

Today, people generally hunt for “sport” or for subsistence. Dr. Stephen Kellert describes these kinds and their percentages of the total hunting population: meat hunters (45.5%), recreational hunters (38.5%), and nature hunters (17%). Meat hunters, as the name implies, hunt primarily for the purpose of putting meat on the table. This group includes subsistence hunters. The recreational hunters are those who hunt to have fun and often regard hunting as a sport and a hobby. The final group of nature hunters is described as those hunters who have a deep affection for nature and wish to be part of the natural cycle of life and death (qtd. in Swan 17 – 19).

The history of hunting and its associated science, wildlife biology, began to take shape in legislative bodies in the middle of the 19th century. The saga leading up to the first court ruling that shaped the future of wildlife began in 1664 when King Charles II of England made a land grant to his brother. The land was located in what is now New Jersey. In addition to the land, King Charles also granted “full and absolute power . . . to correct, punish, pardon, govern and rule” all persons that might enter or use the land, or hunt the wildlife (Posewitz IH 46). An oyster-rich river flowed through that land. At the mouth of the river were large meadows and marshes that provided habitat for waterfowl.

The land grant and trespass rights were haggled over for the next century and a half as the property was bought and sold by the colonists. In 1821 the dispute over gathering oysters at the mouth of the river was mentioned by the New Jersey Supreme Court. That court was amazed that the taking of a few bushels of oysters presented a question of such magnitude. Finally, in 1841 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state of New Jersey was the successor to the powers of sovereignty of the crown or the parliament (Posewitz IH 45-48). This ruling placed the wildlife in the hands of the state, in trust for the citizens as common property, even if located on private land.

In 1872 Congress passed the Yellowstone Park Act. It states that “[the Secretary of the Interior] shall provide against the wanton destruction of the fish and game found within said park, and against their capture or destruction for the purposes of merchandise or profit.” As a result, there is no human hunting in most National Parks and the wildlife is viewed as a national treasure. This act initiated some forms of wildlife protection, but the Department of Interior was under-funded and Yellowstone Park was distant from Washington D.C., so little enforcement of this law occurred for the first twenty years of the park’s existence.

In 1887 the Boone and Crockett Club was founded by an enthusiastic hunter: Theodore Roosevelt. The founding members of the group were all “sport” hunters from wealthy families (Gilbert and Dodds 10-11). They campaigned against market hunting and worked for wildlife conservation (Posewitz IH 57-67). One of their first campaigns was to protect Yellowstone from squatters and hunters. To further this end, after extensive lobbying by the club, Congress sent the military west to protect the park.

One piece of early national legislation of importance for and by hunters, was the Lacey Act of 1900, the author of which was also a member of the Boone & Crockett Club. This act prevented the interstate marketing of dead birds and banned certain market hunting. This act was in response to overhunting, particularly of migratory bird populations. The law worked, among other things, to protect the birds from the being killed for ladies’ hats (Dana and Fairfax 79). In 1900 wildlife numbers were deplorably low, with many species we take for granted today at an all-time low. The following table gives the numbers of some of the shootable species then and now in the United States (Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MTFWP) 44; Economist 102).

Species

Numbers in 1900

Numbers Today

White tail Deer 300,000 20 million
Wild Turkeys 30,000 4 million
Elk 41,000 1 million
Pronghorn 12,000 1 million
Canada Geese 1.1 million 2.3 million

In 1937 one of the most important hunter-initiated bills was passed into law: the Wildlife Restoration Act (also called the Pittman-Robertson Act). This act, lobbied for by hunters, imposed a 10% tax on hunting equipment. This tax provides matching funds for wildlife programs, nationwide (Huddleston 6). In addition to providing dollars for state budgets, the federal government allows the state matching to be in the form of volunteer hours (O’Hara 8). Aside from voluntary bag limits, this act is probably the most important legislation ever passed to provide for a continuation of hunting. The funds from the act are used, in part, to provide education. Later bills added taxes on handguns, archery and fishing equipment (Huddleston 6).

In 1956 the Fish and Wildlife Act formed the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under the Secretary of the Department of the Interior. This act called for freedom of enterprise, protection of opportunity, and government assistance in order to “accomplish the objective of proper resource development.” Today the primary duties of the FWS are to research and manage threatened and endangered wildlife. They also provide consulting for states and other federal agencies on wildlife matters.

The most influential act passed by Congress is the Endangered Species Act of 1973. This act recognizes that, because of human activity, some species are in danger of becoming extinct. Of all the wildlife and resource policy acts, this one is the most far-reaching: all land management actions must be considered in light of threatened and endangered species. By 1978 the FWS had listed 672 animal species, almost 30,000 more were nominated for similar designations, and 1850 plant species were proposed for listing (Dana and Fairfax 261-264). The primary impact this act has on hunters is forbidding the “taking” of threatened or endangered species, and the act allows for the prosecution of illegal taking.

While this series of legislation was being debated and passed on a national level, Montana had enacted hunting regulations as early as 1869. While many species were recognized as important and deserving of protection, the American bison was being slaughtered at astounding rates. Other animals were being protected by imposed seasons and bag limits. In 1869 the Territorial Legislature closed the season on hunting introduced game birds:

Grouse hunting seasons were set in 1870 and by 1872 the hunting season on buffalo, moose, elk, deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, antelope and hairs was closed from February 1 to August 15 of each year. Market hunting for game birds was prohibited in 1877. Bounty payments for predator control were authorized in 1879. In 1895 the first bag limits appeared and in 1897 the sale of all game animals and birds was prohibited. (Mussehl and Howell 9)

Other developments in Montana included the formation of the Board of Game Commission in 1895 and the first game warden was hired in 1901 (Mussehl and Howell 10-11). Today the Fish and Game Commission, a governor-appointed body, has the power to close seasons, set bag limits, and make the final decision on the number of hunting licenses sold each year.

What is an Ethical Hunter?

One of the roots for being an ethical hunter comes from the notion of respect. A person who respects the land views the area as something other than a dead, spiritless object provided for his enjoyment. Respect dictates that he or she acknowledge the evolutionary histories of species, and his or her role in the environment. The land takes on a life of its own and provides “gifts” for the hunter.

Calling an animal’s death a gift is an expression of respect for the animal. An important show of this respect is by preparing for the hunting season by knowing the animals. This knowing is not just being able to identify what is being shot, but knowing the habits and habitats of the prey. By knowing the habitat and habits a hunter shows respect for the animal by spending time getting to know the animal, respecting it as a being, not an object. A hunter who respects his prey will clearly identify what he or she is shooting, but will also allow an animal to pass if he or she is not absolutely certain of what he or she is shooting at (e.g. it may be his brother in the bushes).

By respecting the laws of the state in which the hunter is hunting, he or she is, again, less likely to shoot the wrong species. He or she will also be more inclined to encourage legal hunting in his or her hunting partners and report poor behavior he or she observes in the field. By setting a good example for other hunters, a hunter provides lessons in following the social laws and personal norms. By acting ethically, a hunter can also influence other people. He or she can teach other hunters what it means to hunt ethically and he or she can show non-hunters that there are good, ethical hunters in the fields. This aspect takes on a new dimension when an ethical hunter becomes a mentor to a young hunter: the older hunter leaves a legacy. The results of consistency, or coherence, and articulation also become important when dealing with other people. If a hunter can articulate his or her norms, he or she is on firm ground for discussing why he or she hunts. If his or her norms are consistent, he or she should feel no shame or fear in defending his or her hunting practice.

The last facet of an ethical hunter is respect for other humans, hunters and non- or anti-hunters alike. The hunter does not have to agree with the other people, but must acknowledge the other person’s position on the issue of hunting. This cannot be a one-way respect. Non- and anti-hunters must also respect a hunter’s decision to hunt. A background of respect opens the possibility of constructive dialogue between the different groups. If the hunter refuses to listen to the anti-hunter, both will be arguing about, not discussing, the issue. If arguments occur, the individuals involved are more likely to work toward, in the anti-hunter’s case, getting hunting banned altogether, based on an interaction with maybe as few as one hunter.

Animal rights groups quite often reject hunting as being immoral and causing pain to animals. Animal welfare groups may only support hunting as long as the hunter works to cause the least pain and fastest death possible. Other people judge the ethicality of hunting based on the hunter’s motivations: sport, meat, trophy, or subsistence. So-called “slob hunters” may believe that it is ethical to shoot at anything that moves, legal or not. He or she may also not consider the morality of his or her actions or deem them to be important. The new emerging “ethical hunter” is a mix of animal welfare and “good” hunting stances.

There are as many reasons why a person hunts as there are hunters. But, while it is relatively easy to answer why people hunt, the question of why people should hunt remains the focus of many ethicists. Some authors claim that hunting is a genetic necessity or is a goal of evolution, and believe this defense covers the should question. Unfortunately most of these arguments are not well reasoned and do not show that hunting is essential to modern human health, or really suppport the position that people should hunt. The best defense is provided by James Swan (1995), an environmental psychologist, but focuses on the should at the level of the individual hunters, not on the activity as a whole. Another notion that has arisen in this debate is that the modern sport of hunting (not so much subsistence hunting) is a “spandrel,” or a fortunate side-effect of evolutionary pressures that has no direct effect on survival. If the hunting instinct is the result of evolution, no author has begun to adequately defend the position, much less shown that evolutionary pressures abrogate actions from the realm of ethics.

The necessity of killing an animal to authenticate the hunt is itself an area of debate. Many hunter-philosophers claim that the kill does authenticate the hunt, but the hunt is so much more than just the kill. Many of these writers also place a high significance on the value of the hunt as a whole, not just the kill for the meat, some even claim that a successful hunt can be one where no animal dies. A favorite quote of many authors is from Meditations on Hunting by Jos? Ortega y Gasset (1972): “. . . [O]ne does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted” (110 – 111). Unfortunately, in using only this quote, the authors miss the rich discussion he gives on this topic at the beginning of the book. Earlier in the work, he writes that certain kinds of hunting are concerned with “bringing the animal back alive” (53). The hunt, he writes, “ends simply in the hunter’s taking possession of the prey, dead or alive” (56).

In considered normative justification for the hunt, a person begins the process of working toward ethical literacy. For hunters and non-hunters alike, the university system provides access to portions of the process in the form of one required ethics course. For hunters, the hunter education program is beginning to provide an atmosphere of encouragement for the hunters to begin reflection on personal norms and the activity of purposefully taking a life.

The Hunter Education Program

The earliest hunter education program (HEP) was called “hunter safety.” The first state to require the safety program was New York in 1949. It offered classes on basic gun safety techniques (MTFWP 4). In Montana, the first required courses were offered in 1957. The classes were designed for all hunters between the ages of 12 and 17. The course consisted of four hours of gun safety training (MTFWP 119). In 1957 the state Legislature required the course before a hunter between the ages of 12 and 14 years old could purchase a big game permit. For the year 1958, hunters between 15 and 17 years old did not have to take the course if they had purchased a permit the year before. The law was amended in 1963, making the course mandatory for anyone under 18 who wanted to purchase a hunting license (qtd. in Bradshaw 3).

The state considers the HEP to have been a success with the number of hunting-related firearm accidents dropping from a high of 60 to 11 accidents per year, 1.3 per year resulting in a fatality. Another sign of success is that over 220,000 individuals have completed the course and have been certified since it became required in 1957 (qtd in Bradshaw 4). Today the HEP can vary in length from 10 to 25 or more hours per course. These courses include hunter responsibility and gun safety.

The use of the HEP as a platform to encourage ethical literacy depends on the attitudes of the instructors toward ethics and alternative teaching methods. The Hunter Education: Gun Safety and Hunter Responsibility Handbook (MTFWP 1996) provides rich information for the young hunter, and could provide some lessons for older hunters, too. The book is divided into ten chapters, among which some are titled “What is a good hunter?” and “The wildlife.” In the book, the largest chapter is dedicated to firearms and fills 24 pages (of a total 128) of text. A majority of the balance of the book deals with ethics, responsibility, history, and wildlife. Actual wildlife identification only fills five pages (120 – 125). The chapter on wildlife discusses habitat requirements for wildlife, habitat conservation, and the role of hunters as conservationists. The book is a good beginning for a person willing to learn how to be an ethical hunter, but the book is not the course. It is required reading by the students, but the instructors can pick and choose which portions of the handbook to teach from.

In a recent survey, Bradshaw (1999) asked HEP instructors how their time was used, what teaching methods they preferred, and an open-ended evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the program. Instructors claim, on average, to spend 40% of the class time teaching gun safety and approximately 25% of the time teaching ethics and responsibility. He also found that almost 80% of the instructors agreed that hunter ethics should be taught with equal time as the gun safety sections, but that belief was not reflect in actual class time (39). In another section of the survey, the instructors were asked about the weaknesses of the program. This question was open-ended, unlike the others on the survey. Fifty-two of the instructors felt that the greatest weakness was the lack of time for teaching, and they would like more time to teach the topics instead of reducing the amount of information being taught (60).

Bradshaw also examined how the instructors believed ethics should be taught. The survey showed that 52% of the instructors did not believe lecturing to be the best way to teach ethics and preferred role playing (44). Actual teaching methods used were lecturing, interactive methods, educational videos, and field trips. Of these, lecturing composed 48% of the teaching methods with interactive methods ranking at 30% (42).

The next set of questions Bradshaw analyzed dealt specifically with the book Beyond Fair Chase (Posewitz 1994). It is one source provided by the state for beginning discussions on ethics. The state hunter education officials encourage use of the book, but its use is not required. Students are required to have read the book before the courses began, but with no set curriculum; discussions based on the book are not required. The instructors were asked if the book was an effective teaching tool, and 71% believed it was, while 11% did not (51).

The HEP provides a wonderful platform from which to launch a new hunter in the direction of ethical hunting. The program is constantly changing, so as the notions of hunting ethics change over time the program can adapt. Unfortunately a one-time course offering may not be sufficient to aid in the retention of the ideas expressed and discussed in the program.

One of the methods the HEP can use to help initiate the process of ethical literacy is to incorporate a mentoring program. This program is beginning to be used in conjunction with the state HEP in Idaho (Papp 10). Mentors could be encouraged to promote ethical hunting by state-provided incentives such as a reduced-price, or free, hunting license every year the hunter agrees to be a mentor. Traditionally, mentors came in the form of parents, usually fathers. Mentors today include mothers, husbands, and other family relatives. Notable historic figures who have served as mentors include Carl Leopold and Theodore Roosevelt.

While there is not a specific program for training mentors, parents or partners are encouraged to attend the HEP with their child or partner. This allows the beginning hunter an opportunity to discuss what is covered in the classes, but does not address who a mentor should be or what his or her training might entail.

Methods I would recommend for strengthening the HEP could include:

  • integrating the program into the public schools, as an elective, or an after school elective;
  • teaching standards for the instructors;
  • a set curriculum;
  • requiring a hunter under the age of 18 either to have hunted the year before, or to take a refresher course before receiving a permit;
  • an advanced hunter education course that either provides information as a refresher course, for violators of conservation laws, or for older, first-time hunters;
  • a requirement for all first-time hunters in a state to have passed either a written test or a HEP before being able to purchase their first license; and,
  • a class specifically directed toward mentors, including an honorary certificate upon completion of the class.

If the HEP was incorporated into the public schools, young hunters would learn that hunting is a year-round activity, not a two- or three-month hobby. Teaching standards for the instructors would help weed out the poor teachers that were mentioned as a program weakness. A set curriculum would give FWP more control over the content that reaches the new/young hunters. More time for the program would have to be included in this recommendation. The repeated courses would reinforce the lessons of previous classes, stressing the importance of both gun safety and hunter ethics. An advanced hunter education program would provide a solution to the problems presented by conservation law violators, and for adults who have taken a “vacation” from hunting for many years. Older, first-time hunters may feel more comfortable and accepted among older hunters, providing an atmosphere more conducive to teaching ethics and responsibility. Finally, a national standard for the HEP would allow state agencies to feel confident that out-of-state hunters are not ignorant of local wildlife and conditions. Local refresher courses would be helpful as well.

Conclusion

Hunting is an ancient form of gathering food. However, few people now hunt for that reason. Concurrent to this is the rise in numbers of people who advocate for animal welfare and animal rights. As the numbers of the non-hunting public grow, this facet of society has a growing effect on the privilege of hunting. One way of combating adverse emotions to hunting is by encouraging hunters to be ethical and to have a high degree of ethical literacy. There is an as-yet not fully tapped source of ethical support in the communities, volunteer instructors, and mentors that compose hunter education programs. The state-run hunter education programs provide a wonderful springboard to encourage the development of ethical literacy among young and new hunters.

Bibliography
Anon. “Hunter shoots llama hanging out with deer.” The Missoulian. 25 Oct 1999: A3
Bekoff, Marc, and Dale Jamieson. “Sport Hunting as an Instinct: Another Evolutionary ‘Just-so-story’?” Environmental Ethics. 13.4(1991):375-378
Benson, Delwin E. and S. White. 1995. “The Status of Advanced Hunter Education Programs in North America.” Wildlife Society Bulletin 23.4 (1995): 600-608
Bradshaw, Blaine C. 1999. Review of Montana’s Hunter Education Program with Recommendations for Improvement. Thesis. University of Montana.
Byrne, Robert L., G. J. Taylor, P. T. Seng, and K. C. Young. “Status of Hunter Education in the United States and Canada.” Transactions of the 61st North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference 61 (1996):345-357
Causey, Ann S. “On the morality of hunting.” Environmental Ethics. 11(1989): 332-333
Clawson, Paula. “Handling illegal kills.” The Missoulian. 25 Oct. 1999: A1
Connelly, Nancy A., D. J. Decker, and R. J. Stout. 1996. “Overcoming Constraints to Women’s Participation in Consumptive Uses of Fish and Wildlife.” Transactions of the 61st North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. 61(1996):379-387
Dana, Samuel T., and Sally K. Fairfax. Forest and Range Policy. 2nd edition. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing, 1980.
Dann, Shari L., and R. B. Peyton. 1996. “Facing Realities in Recruiting, Retaining and Training Consumptive Fish and Wildlife Users.” Transactions of the 61st North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. 61(1996):315-323
Duda, Mark D., and D. J. Case. “Illinois Fur Hunting and Trapping Project: A Case Study in facing Reality.” Transactions of the 61st North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. 61(19960:150-154
—, S. J. Bissell, and K. C. Young. 1996. “Factors Related to Hunting and Fishing Participation in the United States.” Transactions of the 61st North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. 61(1996):324-337
Economist, The. “Hunting v Shooting.” The Economist. December 12, 1992: 102
Gilbert, Frederick F., and Donald G. Dodds. The Philosophy and Practice of Wildlife Management. 2nd edition. Malabar, FL: Krieger P. Co., 1992.
Good, Shawn P. “Wilderness and the hunting experience: what it means to be a hunter.” Wildlife Society Bulletin. 25.2 (1997): 563- 567
Hilaire, Lawrence J., D. E. Benson, and K. P. Burnham. 1998. “Evaluation of Home-Study Versus Teacher-Taught Hunter Education: Expanding Learning Opportunities.” Wildlife Society Bulletin. 26(1):56-67
Huddleston, Chad M. 1999. The Good Hunter: A Study of the Beliefs and Motivations of Appropriate Hunting Behavior by Montana Hunters. Thesis. University of Montana.
Jackson, Robert M., S. L. McCarty, and D. Rusch. “Developing Wildlife Education Strategies for Women.” Transactions of the 54th North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. 54(1989):445 – 454
Kerasote, Ted. “The New Hunter.” Sports Afield. November 1998: 78-82
King, Roger J. H. “Environmental Ethics and the Case for Hunting.” Environmental Ethics. 13(1991): 59-85
Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There. New York: Oxford University P, 1949.
List, Charles. “Is Hunting a Right Thing?” Environmental Ethics. 12(1997): 405-416
Loftin, Robert W. “The Morality of Hunting.” Environmental Ethics. 6(1984):241-250
Luke, Brian. “A Critical Analysis of Hunters’ Ethics.” Environmental Ethics 19(1997):25-44
McCarty, Leslie. “Man Fatally Shoots Brother While Hunting.” The Independent Record [Helena, MT]. 21 Nov. 1999: A1
McCorquodale, Scott M. “Cultural contexts of recreational hunting and native subsistence and ceremonial hunting: their significance for wildlife management.” Wildlife Society Bulletin 25.2(1997): 568-573
Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Hunter Education: Gun Safety and Hunter Responsibility. Helena: Falcon Press Publishing Co., 1996.
Mussehl, Thomas W., and F. W. Howell. Game Management in Montana. Helena: Montana Fish and Game Department, Game Management Division, 1971.
O’Hara, Michael. “Sportsman Education Program.” The Conservationist 46.5(1992):7-8
Ortega y Gasset, Jos?. Meditations On Hunting. Trans. Howard B. Wescott. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1972.
Papp, Dan. “Mentoring Comes Full Circle.” Idaho Wildlife. 14.6(1994): 8-11
Posewitz, Jim. Beyond Fair Chase. Helena, MT: Falcon Press Publishing, 1994.
—. Inherit the Hunt: A Journey into the Heart of American Hunting. Helena, MT: Falcon Press Publishing, 1999.
Schmidt, Robert H. 1996. “A Modest Proposal to Assist in the Maintenance of a Hunting Culture.” Wildlife Society Bulletin. 24.2(1996): 373-375
Shepard, Paul. The Tender Carnivore and The Sacred Game. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1973.
Smith, Bradley F. “Improving Program Implementation in Hunter Education.” Journal of Environmental Education 16.1(1984):24-28
Swan, James A. 1995. In Defense of Hunting. HarperCollins Publisher. San Francisco, CA
Thompson, Therese R., and G. D. Lapointe. “Wildlife is About as Exciting as Recycling: and Other Viewpoints from the “Uncommitted Public.” Transactions of the 61st North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. 61(1996):155-161
Vitali, Theodore. “Sport Hunting: Moral or Immoral?” Environmental Ethics. 12(1990):69-82

Bibliography

Anon. “Hunter shoots llama hanging out with deer.” The Missoulian. 25 Oct 1999: A3

Bekoff, Marc, and Dale Jamieson. “Sport Hunting as an Instinct: Another Evolutionary ‘Just-so-story’?” Environmental Ethics. 13.4(1991):375-378

Benson, Delwin E. and S. White. 1995. “The Status of Advanced Hunter Education Programs in North America.” Wildlife Society Bulletin 23.4 (1995): 600-608

Bradshaw, Blaine C. 1999. Review of Montana’s Hunter Education Program with Recommendations for Improvement. Thesis. University of Montana.

Byrne, Robert L., G. J. Taylor, P. T. Seng, and K. C. Young. “Status of Hunter Education in the United States and Canada.” Transactions of the 61st North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference 61 (1996):345-357

Causey, Ann S. “On the morality of hunting.” Environmental Ethics. 11(1989): 332-333

Clawson, Paula. “Handling illegal kills.” The Missoulian. 25 Oct. 1999: A1

Connelly, Nancy A., D. J. Decker, and R. J. Stout. 1996. “Overcoming Constraints to Women’s Participation in Consumptive Uses of Fish and Wildlife.” Transactions of the 61st North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. 61(1996):379-387

Dana, Samuel T., and Sally K. Fairfax. Forest and Range Policy. 2nd edition. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing, 1980.

Dann, Shari L., and R. B. Peyton. 1996. “Facing Realities in Recruiting, Retaining and Training Consumptive Fish and Wildlife Users.” Transactions of the 61st North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. 61(1996):315-323

Duda, Mark D., and D. J. Case. “Illinois Fur Hunting and Trapping Project: A Case Study in facing Reality.” Transactions of the 61st North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. 61(19960:150-154

—, S. J. Bissell, and K. C. Young. 1996. “Factors Related to Hunting and Fishing Participation in the United States.” Transactions of the 61st North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. 61(1996):324-337

Economist, The. “Hunting v Shooting.” The Economist. December 12, 1992: 102

Gilbert, Frederick F., and Donald G. Dodds. The Philosophy and Practice of Wildlife Management. 2nd edition. Malabar, FL: Krieger P. Co., 1992.

Good, Shawn P. “Wilderness and the hunting experience: what it means to be a hunter.” Wildlife Society Bulletin. 25.2 (1997): 563- 567

Hilaire, Lawrence J., D. E. Benson, and K. P. Burnham. 1998. “Evaluation of Home-Study Versus Teacher-Taught Hunter Education: Expanding Learning Opportunities.” Wildlife Society Bulletin. 26(1):56-67

Huddleston, Chad M. 1999. The Good Hunter: A Study of the Beliefs and Motivations of Appropriate Hunting Behavior by Montana Hunters. Thesis. University of Montana.

Jackson, Robert M., S. L. McCarty, and D. Rusch. “Developing Wildlife Education Strategies for Women.” Transactions of the 54th North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. 54(1989):445 – 454

Kerasote, Ted. “The New Hunter.” Sports Afield. November 1998: 78-82

King, Roger J. H. “Environmental Ethics and the Case for Hunting.” Environmental Ethics. 13(1991): 59-85

Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There. New York: Oxford University P, 1949.

List, Charles. “Is Hunting a Right Thing?” Environmental Ethics. 12(1997): 405-416

Loftin, Robert W. “The Morality of Hunting.” Environmental Ethics. 6(1984):241-250

Luke, Brian. “A Critical Analysis of Hunters’ Ethics.” Environmental Ethics 19(1997):25-44

McCarty, Leslie. “Man Fatally Shoots Brother While Hunting.” The Independent Record [Helena, MT]. 21 Nov. 1999: A1

McCorquodale, Scott M. “Cultural contexts of recreational hunting and native subsistence and ceremonial hunting: their significance for wildlife management.” Wildlife Society Bulletin 25.2(1997): 568-573

Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Hunter Education: Gun Safety and Hunter Responsibility. Helena: Falcon Press Publishing Co., 1996.

Mussehl, Thomas W., and F. W. Howell. Game Management in Montana. Helena: Montana Fish and Game Department, Game Management Division, 1971.

O’Hara, Michael. “Sportsman Education Program.” The Conservationist 46.5(1992):7-8

Ortega y Gasset, Jos?. Meditations On Hunting. Trans. Howard B. Wescott. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1972.

Papp, Dan. “Mentoring Comes Full Circle.” Idaho Wildlife. 14.6(1994): 8-11

Posewitz, Jim. Beyond Fair Chase. Helena, MT: Falcon Press Publishing, 1994.

—. Inherit the Hunt: A Journey into the Heart of American Hunting. Helena, MT: Falcon Press Publishing, 1999.

Schmidt, Robert H. 1996. “A Modest Proposal to Assist in the Maintenance of a Hunting Culture.” Wildlife Society Bulletin. 24.2(1996): 373-375

Shepard, Paul. The Tender Carnivore and The Sacred Game. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1973.

Smith, Bradley F. “Improving Program Implementation in Hunter Education.” Journal of Environmental Education 16.1(1984):24-28

Swan, James A. 1995. In Defense of Hunting. HarperCollins Publisher. San Francisco, CA

Thompson, Therese R., and G. D. Lapointe. “Wildlife is About as Exciting as Recycling: and Other Viewpoints from the “Uncommitted Public.” Transactions of the 61st North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. 61(1996):155-161

Vitali, Theodore. “Sport Hunting: Moral or Immoral?” Environmental Ethics. 12(1990):69-82

  1. I do not use the term “game” for the same reasons I dislike calling hunting a “sport.” The fact that hunting is not a “sport” will be addressed in the main body of the text under the section of ethical hunting.
  2. This is a statement about wildlife only, not access to private land. Many states, Montana included, have laws that require hunters to gain written permission from the landowner to hunt on his land.
  3. Exceptions to this statement occur in the form of native subsistence hunting rights both in Glacier National Park (currently under debate) and in parks in Alaska.
  4. In class discussion with Dr. Jack W. Thomas, Boone & Crockett Professor of Wildlife. Spring 1999.
  5. As mentioned earlier, this paper focuses on the acts of the individual hunter, not on the motivations.
  6. For this discussion please see Swan, Causey, Bekoff and Jamieson, Posewitz (both works), and Shepard.
  7. For examples see Ortega y Gasset, Kerasote, Posewitz (both citations), Causey, Huddleston, Good, and Jackson
  8. Father of Aldo Leopold. The book Game Management is dedicated “To My Father Carl Leopold, pioneer in sportsmanship.”
Tagged ,

Intrinsic Value in Wilderness?

Samsara Chapman, University of Montana

One of the most decisive land use issues in the western United States is the designation and use of wilderness. Wilderness designation implies a non-human, non-utilitarian value in the designated lands. Opposition to wilderness designation originates at least in part in a utilitarian paradigm, but utilitarian language and legal language are often incommensurate with that needed to express intrinsic values, as legal language is often couched in terms of rights, duties, and reciprocal obligations. When legal language is used in an attempt to recognize non-anthropocentric values, among its implications is that nature is at least a full member of the moral community, not just a subject of moral consideration. This unintended by-product of the language used is the source of the conflict. Wildernesss status as a member of the moral community cannot be reconciled with an anthropocentric-based utilitarian paradigm, resulting in cognitive dissonance. A successful language to resolve this dissonance will be able to express both utilitarian and non-utilitarian values in commensurate terminology, affording both paradigms equal value.

Tagged

The Ethics of Socially Responsible Investing

Paper Abstract

Michael Monahan, University of Montana

monahan@selway.umt.edu

Socially responsible investing (SRI) seeks to hit corporations where it will really hurt, in their pocketbooks. It has served as a means to introduce ethical considerations into the financial world, and create an economic climate that must bear in mind the “costs” associated with unethical or socially irresponsible practices. Unsettling, though, is that with the explosive growth of socially responsible funds over the last ten or fifteen years, (a 1999 survey found that total assets involved in SRI had gone up, from $40 billion in 1984, to $2.16 trillion) there has been a frightening lack of literature addressing the screening and evaluative procedures. In this paper I examine some problems with SRI to better understand the “ethics” involved. Unlike prior research on this topic, I focus specifically on the screening procedures. Through a case analysis of one socially screened fund, I will illustrate the nature of the screening process in relation to one of its larger holdings, then formulate an ethical analysis of the screening procedures and the SRI movement in general. My hope is that this analysis will clarify some of the ambiguities surrounding the ethics of SRI, and help us better understand its place in the new economy.

Tagged

An Evaluation of the Merits of Noncommercial Software Piracy

Matthew Russell, Lebanon Valley College

hobbbles@aol.com

06 February 2001

In the last forty years computers have touched almost every aspect of our lives. From the automobiles we drive to the ovens with which we cook, few things we own or use have no relation to computers. Computers have also redefined the way society thinks about issues, and intellectual property is an excellent example of this. Intellectual property is defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 27, as, “Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author”. Traditionally these rights dealt with scientific discoveries, literature, art, and music. These rights have been protected by the copyright, and the copyright is the unbreakable wall that keeps intellectual property safe from looters. Computer software, however, does not seem to fit into this. Noncommercial software theft or piracy, while currently illegal because it violates the copyright laws, is justified ethically, economically, and socially, and should therefore be allowed. Piracy is good!

  1. Under current U.S. law a person can own four aspects of a computer program, and they are:
  2. The ‘source code’ which is written by the programmer(s) in a high-level computer language like Pascal or C++.
  3. The ‘object code’, which is a machine-language translation of the source code.
  4. The ‘algorithm’, which is the sequence of machine commands that the source code and object code represent.
  5. The ‘look and feel’ of a program, which is the way the program appears on the screen and interfaces with users. (Bynum)

These four aspects are protected under the copyright. Copyright, in this country at least, has its origins with the Founding Fathers and was included in the Constitution, Article I, Section 8.

The supporters of copyright and private property often quote John Locke,

he hath mixed his Labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his Property?For this Labour being the unquestionable Property of the Labourer, no Man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough, and as good left in common for others. (Weckert)

What Locke said was that, as long there is enough left for others, a man may take what goods he desires. There are obvious limitations to this idea. As Weckert points out, if a man were to empty a beverage, mixing it into the ocean, he does not own the ocean. Simply putting labor into something does not make it ones property for to do so would not leave anything left for others (58). Locke’s comments, which are the foundation of the argument against software piracy, will soon be shown to be critical support for software piracy.

The United States Supreme Court has heavily defended intellectual property and copyright. In both Sega vs. Accolade and Galoob vs. Nintendo the Court upheld the four components of software ownership aforementioned and ruled against piracy (Samuelson). However, the landmark court case of Sony Betamax (1984) overthrew the presumption about the supremacy of the copyright. In this case, Sony was pitted against the Hollywood heavyweights Universal Studios and Walt Disney Productions for attempting to sell the first VCR

in the United States. According to Samuelson, “The principal charge against Sony was that of contributory copyright infringement, for it was providing the instrumentality by which customers were able?to infringe copyrights and Sony knew they’d do so”. The results of this pivotal case have been far reaching, for the Court allowed the Betamax machines to be sold. The reasoning was simple: 1.) Noncommercial copying is just, and, 2.) By allowing its copyrighted works to be shown on TV, the studios knew that viewers with the Betamax could get it for free. The net result was, as Samuelson says, “The 1984 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Sony Betamax case has indicated that private noncommercial copying should be presumed to be fair and noninfringing.”

It is obvious that noncommercial software piracy passes the Supreme Court’s legality test since it ruled in favor of Sony’s Betamax. But does it pass Locke’s test? The answer to this, simply put, is yes, and for a very unique reason. Unlike traditional ‘theft’, such as stealing a car, a book, or a physical object, the theft of electronic data does leave “enough, and as good left in common for others.” The ‘theft’ leaves the identical item behind, as if no theft occurred at all. Suppose there is someone who would never or could never purchase a piece of software, does their pirating it harm the creator(s) as Locke and the Founding Fathers feared? “If everyone who would never have bought the software copied it, the owner is still not harmed-still no sales are lost. So no case can be made here that the copying is wrong on the grounds that it causes harm” (Weckert). Locke and the Founding Fathers may say this is wrong because it is still ‘theft,’ but Weckert has an interesting take on it. “It amounts to saying that even though using my work without my payment is not doing me any harm at all and is probably doing you some good, I do not want you to do so ‘because it is mine.’ We would probably want to scold a child for behaving like this!” It is evident that, since “enough, and as good left in common for others” is left behind, the ‘theft’ is not illegal in the noncommercial sense.

I would like to take a step back and give an example of where the copyright has been counterproductive. I am sure you all remember Y2K. The Y2K bug was a glitch in software around the world that exposed the problems of the copyright law. Computer programmers in the 1970s and 1980s decided to make programs smaller by reducing the number of digits in the year to two. This created a problem because when the year 2000 rolled around all computers would think the year was 1900. The problem was conceptually easy to fix since the only action that needed to be taken was modification of the software’s source code. Unfortunately, the buggy software was legally protected from tampering by anyone but the author or corporation that published the software. Since most of the authors and corporations that put out the defective programs were bankrupt, retired, or dead, no one could legally correct the bugs in Y2K software without paying a huge royalty fee to the programmer(s). In addition the people best able to fix the problems (hackers) were also those with the least money to pay the royalties, so few fixes presented themselves to the general public. Y2K could have been fixed years before the year 2000 ever rolled around had it been legal to violate the copyright laws to fix the problems. As fate would have it, most systems were not fixed until the dawn of the new millennium, putting lives and nations at risk.

Here is a more everyday problem. Samuelson remarks that, “To be a ‘software pirate’ within the felony provisions of U.S. law, one needn’t be in the business of making illicit copies of programs” (20). An example of this is a person who purchases a copy of a program from a software company. The person would like to use the program at home while at home and at work while at work, which is legal under copyright law. In order to do this legally, however, the person must do an incredibly asinine routine every day:

It makes no sense to load the software onto one’s office computer in the morning, erase it before going home that night in order to take a copy of Russell 5 it home so that it can be loaded onto the home computer that evening, and deleted from the home computer the next morning so it can be taken back to the office computer. (Samuelson 23)

This sort of action is required by shrink-wrap agreements that come with software, even though these agreements are not available to read until after the product has been purchased (Samuelson 23). De George notes that, “This is typical of warranties on software, which usually state they are at most limited to replacement or refund under certain conditions. Nor do many even claim that they are liable for such replacement even if the product does not perform for some specific purpose {Y2K}” (51). De George also notices that the companies who put out defective products have little pressure, socially or legally, to cease such practices. The consumers are left defenseless on an issue about which they are logically and ethically correct (52). Few if any commercial services would treat customers so shabbily, yet software manufacturers not only have but also continue to do so.

The final legal concern that is distinctive to software is the uniqueness of software copyright law. If I were to purchase a book at a bookstore I would be able to do anything with that book that I liked (short of copying it for resale, a topic which this paper does not address). I could save it, read it, reread it to a group of people, sell it, give it away, and even rent it. This example works with almost anything, videos, CDs, automobiles, pies. Everything, that is, but software. I cannot resell my software, give it away, let others have it, use it, rent it, or borrow it. This is intuitively contrary to most people and is a primary reason for the proliferation of the ‘unknowing’ noncommercial software pirate. Most people do not see the distinction between lending out a book or lending out a piece of software, and public ignorance is a primary reason that software piracy continues en masse.

Russell 6

The critics of software piracy rest a good portion of their objection on the theory that without capital to reward innovation no innovation will occur. This problem is posed in a variety of ways, “If copying were freely allowed, there would be no money to be made, and profits must be available or nobody will make the effort to develop their ideas” (Weckert 61). Even Bill Gates once said “Most of you steal your software?one thing you do is prevent good software from being written. Who can afford to do professional work for nothing” (McHugh 98).

To answer Mr. Gate’s charge there have been several applications developed by programmers working for free. The ramifications of these programs, freely made and freely distributed, have been nothing less than unparalleled. While Microsoft may rule the PC world by day, the free source community (known as the Open-Source Software (OSS) movement, Free Software Movement, and Open Source Project) rules the world every day of the year.

The two most prolific free applications in use are BIND and Sendmail. BIND is what lets you type in www.microsoft.com instead of the actual number for Microsoft’s website (555.55.555.55). Sendmail, along the same lines, lets people enter email addresses like person@hotmail.com instead of typing in the numbers for that person’s account. This program also makes sure over 80% of the email on the internet gets to its destination (McHugh 99). Without these two freely maintained and freely obtainable programs the internet would literally grind to a halt.

The classic examples aside, the two most promising new technologies of the 21st century are both OSS offspring, lovingly named Apache and Linux. Apache is the software that runs the majority of the sites on the internet, and it is freely available for the entire world to download. Linux, the revolutionary new operating system that is poised to take over the worlds PC’s (and currently runs on 10 million computers including the US Postal Service and the Los Alamos National Laboratory), is also a freeware project (Mann2 38), (Alper 1977). Apache was recently featured in Forbes because of a deal with the $100 billion company IBM. IBM crawled on its knees to the programmers in an attempt to be able to utilize Apache in IBM’s new web-server software. The programmers smiled and told IBM they could use it, for free, if they kept their source code open. According to McHugh IBM did a double take, finding it hard to believe that a program worth over a billion dollars was being given to them for free (95). In the face of such an incredible deal IBM happily agreed and Apache became the cornerstone of the companies internet software. When the founder of the PC industry and most powerful computer company in the world (IBM) teamed up with a group of revolutionary hackers, the legitimacy of the OSS movement was made internationally known.

Why would Apache willingly give away a billion dollar piece of software for free when it could turn a profit of a billion dollars?!? The answer to this question is found in the roots of the OSS movement. Personal computer programming began, for all intents and purposes, at MIT in the 1970s. At that time there were few programmers and even fewer programs. The atmosphere in the MIT computer lab was free and open, with students readily sharing their programs and source codes with each other. This open and free atmosphere is where computer software was born, and as far as OSS programmers are concerned, where it should remain. It was not until the early 1980s that companies like Symbolics and Xerox entered the MIT lab and paid students to leave. In doing so Symbolics copyrighted the students programs and forbade the other students to use the source code. “They {the MIT students} stopped turning out freeware and produced instead trade secrets, hoarded and hidden” (McHugh 98). As time went on almost every program in the lab was copyrighted and its use was illegal, something that would have seemed absurd prior to Symbolics’s arrival. Most programmers sold out and entered the corporate programming world, but the few who did not started the OSS movement to keep software free (McHugh 98, Mann2 38-39).

Linux is the flagship of the free source code movement that has been in the works since 1984 (Mann2 38). The movement’s goal is to keep the source code, the meat of the program, free for all to see and modify. This process, in theory, encourages others to fix problems and improve the software. The theory was vindicated in 1999 when GNOME, the interface for Linux, was released to the world. Linux is arguably the most successful free piece of computer software ever written. The operating system is faster than all its commercial counterparts, is more stable, is updated daily, and is capable of running smoothly on incredibly outdated machines. As mentioned earlier, Los Alamos National Laboratories runs Linux on a supercomputer they built. The incredible thing about that supercomputer is that it was constructed out of 140 standard desktop PCs (Alper 1976).

The Linux project rests on CopyLeft, the license agreement to which all Linux programmers agree (Alper 1977). This agreement says that anyone can have and modify the Linux software in any way, but any improvements made must be posted for all to see on the internet. Through this revolutionary agreement any software problem is usually fixed within a day, compared to months it takes companies like Microsoft to respond. “Hundreds of programmers?worked on Linux, adding utilities, fixing bugs, writing manuals, adding capabilities and porting it to different computer systems. New versions poured out at an astonishing rate-sometimes more than one a week. Each would be downloaded and worked on by people around the globe” (Mann240). By keeping the source code open, “Essentially you harness the power of millions of users to find problems, whether they be bugs or just deficiencies, and thousands of programmers to fix them quickly. The end result?is that you get software that’s smaller, less buggy, and more stable” (Alper 1977). What is more impressive is what was written in a confidential Microsoft internal memo in which “Microsoft product manager Vinod Valloppilli wrote, ‘The ability of the OSS process to collect and harness the collective IQ of thousands of individuals across the internet is simply amazing’” (Alper 1977).

It is clear that there are incentives other than capital that can cause creation. In the case of Linux, Apache, and the OSS, that incentive is respect. The hacker that makes a serious tweak on Linux or Apache is regarded as a god in the computer community. While the person gets no monetary reward the respect of his peers around the world is much more valuable. “The excitement of advancing the technology is what drives hackers” (McHugh 99), according to Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux.

The obvious question is what happens to the software companies if they cannot charge customers for the software? An excellent example is a company known as Red Hat, a company that sells Linux to users via CD. While Red Hat does post the entire operating system on their web site free to download, for those who would rather have a trimmed down and ‘hard copy’ of the software the CD is a nice option. In addition, the company provides perks to customers such as tech support and a streamlined interface. Many novice users would rather have someone hold their hand than attack Linux blindly, so companies like Red Hat do extremely well. “Although Red Hat is very much a for-profit company, it keeps the faith by making the Linux source code-and any source code its programmers add-available with the software” (McHugh 99). It is therefore possible to keep the software free and turn a profit, and Red Hat is the model company that the OSS would like to see proliferate.

While the economic and political components of software piracy have been evaluated, they may not even be relevant. “Because copying software is so easy, it will, in the final analysis, always be primarily a matter of social attitudes and of individual consciences. In this respect, it probably won’t matter what new laws are passed” (Forester 9). Lombardi offers a unique perspective when he says, “It’s worrisome to think that a lot of people just feel O.K. to take whatever they want without regard for the producer, owner or person who worked to put it together, as long as no one catches them” (21). To counter this point, Bickel says:

The law, however, never prevented anyone from merely slowing for a stop sign when driving at 2 A.M. on an empty road. Unless people feel that an activity is unethical, most will have little compunction about performing that activity. When doing so also is convenient, involves almost no chance of being caught and prosecuted, and carries a negligible penalty, mass illegal activity is almost inevitable. Thus, the task at hand becomes how to convince someone that it is wrong to copy a $300 program that he or she can’t afford and wouldn’t buy, when he or she is not taking anything tangible from anyone else. (273)

The problem as both of these men see it is that it is inherently wrong to pirate software. Lombardi’s point can be refuted by mention of Locke’s test, as can Bickel’s. How is the programmer harmed if no business is lost, and is it wrong to do so if no harm is done to anyone? Both of these questions have been answered already, and in light of this, it appears that both these men are incorrect in their fears about noncommercial software piracy.

The software corporations are naturally raising hell over this issue, as their financial choke collar disintegrates if software is made free. Lombardi said, “When I sold my software years ago, I was warned to take the money and run, because there would not be much in residuals since ‘pirating’ in the schools would leave little market for the packaged product” (21). While this is a legitimate fear it is, at least at Lebanon Valley College in the year 2001, misplaced. The vast majority of the students at this particular college know next to nothing about computers. While many can use Windows, type a document, and surf the web, most are oblivious to the vast wealth of pirated programs available to them. Because of this I would conservatively estimate that less than 5% of the students actually use pirated software on this campus, making Lombardi’s fears deeply exaggerated.

To write this analysis from all perspectives I decided to interview some hackers and software pirates to get their opinions. Their identities will be withheld and no direct quotes will be used (for reasons that hackers will understand), but the general gist of their comments will be given. While I myself cannot confirm or deny my involvement with these people, I can say that their comments are typical of most people I may (or may not) have encountered over the years. A software pirate today is classified into two categories, those who actually hack the software and those who release it outside the group. The first group tends to be a very closed, elite group of hackers operating all over the world. Their motivation, and their motto, is ‘keep it phree {free}!’ This statement summarizes everything the OSS movement, free source movement, Linux, and this paper support, the freedom of software for noncommercial use. The second group tends to be kids under the age of 21 that are the offspring of the OSS movement. These children band together to form ‘groups’ online and work together to provide the world with easily accessible software. Most of these children are separated by continents, speak no common language, and have few cultural values in common. The only thing they share is the motto, and they work regardless of race, religion, and sex to achieve their goal. Sound utopian? It is, it exists, and it does work.

The people the pirates target for their software are elite computer users. The target individual knows enough about computers to reverse engineer just about any program to which they are exposed and never needs to rely on help files or tech support. The dedication and knowledge of the target population ensures that they are not likely to turn the pirates in to the federal government for prosecution, while at the same time ensuring that the software is retained in a rather small and diverse community. These software pirates, like the hackers of Linux, work solely for respect. The people they cater too are typically ‘retired’ software pirates and hackers themselves, so in a utopian way the hackers care for each other. The pirates I have talked to see themselves as the future. Their aim is not to destroy society, capitalism, or even corporations (with the exception of Microsoft, which every good pirate cannot stand), but to provide each other with the tools to use computers as they were meant to be used.

As evident in the ethical, economic, and social arguments, noncommercial software pirating is not a bad thing. Capital is not necessary for advancement as so many proponents of software piracy state. “Artists, academics, and scientists frequently create without such reward. Perhaps acknowledgement is enough. Or perhaps creation is its own reward” (Weckert 62). Whichever the case, great triumphs like Apache and Linux do come without any capital. The current idiocy of intellectual property laws, as evident in the Y2K and shrink-wrap license examples, is also a reason to allow noncommercial software piracy. “In short, the law on intellectual property as it applies to computer software is in a mess” (Forester 7). “There’s a Gandhi quote Linux hackers love: ‘First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win’”(Mann2 42). As Mann goes on to say, “Microsoft kills its rivals by starving them of revenue?but they can’t kill us that way, because we don’t have any revenue?we’ll keep coming at them” (42).

Copyright lasts for the life of the author plus fifty years, or seventy-five years for a corporate author. Most programs of any popularity are obsolete within three to five years, and are replaced by later versions. Yet one cannot legally give even one’s obsolete versions of a program to a friend to use. It is not surprising that the rules are often breached, especially since they cannot be policed. (De George 54)

Tagged

Teachers' Institute: Making Science Right

2001 June 26th, 8:00 am to June 29th, 2:00 pm

Gordy Hall

msr2001Following the model of Ohio University’s 10-year-old “ethics modules” program, instructors in the Making Science Right institute provide participanting High-School teachers basic theoretical concepts and skills, hone those skills on a few practical examples, then step back and function as a resource while participants create content and forge materials tailored to their goals and their needs.

The program begins with a four-day institute, during which participants will explore ethical theory and applied ethics methods. Participants then solidify and build on their understanding of the material by considering real-life ethical dilemmas. This phase of the institute includes a visit to the Edison Biotechnology Laboratory. As each topic is covered, participants will discuss options for incorporating the material into their curricula.

Following the on-campus portion of the insti-tute, participants spend two months developing materials for incorporation into their teaching. At the end of August, participants submit these materials for course credit.

The Institute provides an interactive website for participants to share ideas, compare notes and discuss classroom experiences in implementing the new content. As resources permit, the Institute provides limited grants to fund the implementation of new ethics material into high-school classrooms.

In January following the institute, participants gather in Athens to review the summer institute, to compare notes and to share their classroom experiences.

Making Science Right 2001 was funded in part by a grant from the Ohio Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endownment for the Humanities.

Details on the 2001 Making Science Right Institute are available below:

2001 June 26-29

MAKING SCIENCE RIGHT

a workshop for Ohio high-school teachers

INTRODUCTION [top]

Science has a history, a sociology, and a set of values. But most students, taught only the facts and left to figure out the rest for themselves, graduate with little grasp of the societal forces that shape science, or of the influence of science on society.

This is becoming increasingly problematic as state proficiency examinations put more emphasis on an understanding of the nature and history of science.

Making Science Right will provide a select group of teachers a chance to address this problem while earning graduate humanities credit from Ohio University.

Participants will gain a solid grounding in theoretical and applied ethics; hands-on experience in the development of ethical content for the science curriculum; and an opportunity to participate in the development of a state-wide resource repository for science teachers planning to incorporate ethical instruction into their teaching.

Participants can expect to take with them: a solid vocabulary for communicating to their students the ethical implications of scientific developments and a toolkit for teaching students to make reasoned and defensible choices about technological developments and scientific claims.

JUST THE FACTS [top]

  • Who: Active Ohio HS Science Teachers (participation limited to 20)
  • Where: Ohio University Athens Campus
  • When: June 26 – 29, 2001
  • Tuition: $204.12
  • What:
    • 2 months at-home resource development
    • 1-day (optional) evaluation meeting
    • 3 hours graduate credit
    • Food, lodging, and materials provided
    • $54 travel grant
  • Deadline: June 11, 2001
  • Details: 740 593 9802
  • Contact: ethics@ohio.edu | www.ohio.edu/ethics

THE MAKING SCIENCE RIGHT TEAM [top]

  • Arthur Zucker (applied ethics, medical ethics, bioethics)
    Director, Institute for Applied and Professional Ethics
  • Donald Borchert (ethical theory)
    Chair, Department of Philosophy
  • Richard Milter (business & professional ethics)
    Director, MBA Without Bounds program
  • Ralph Martin (science education)
    Professor of Education
  • David Wight (bioethics)
    Director, Edison Biotechnology Institute
  • Gary Meyer (business ethics, copyright)
    Assistant Vice President for Economic and Technical Development
  • Kathleen Evans-Romaine (technical support)
    Assistant Director, Institute for Applied and Professional Ethics

SCHEDULE [top]

Day 1, Tuesday, June 26:

INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS

Ethical theory, applied ethics, case studies and other methods

(Zucker, Borchert)

Day 2, Wednesday, June 27:

SCIENCE & ETHICS

Pseudo-science & science, scientific fraud, & other values issues

(Zucker, Martin)

Day 3, Thursday, June 28:

SCIENCE & BUSINESS

Biotechnology, business research, copyrighting discoveries, social responsibility

(includes visit to Edison Biotechnology Laboratories)

(Zucker, Wight, Meyer)

Day 4, Friday, June 29:

CURRENT QUANDARIES

Animal rights, environmental ethics, other specific areas of interest, institute web resources & database access

(Zucker, Martin, Evans-Romaine)

July – August:

PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT

Participants collaboratively develop programs for adding or improving ethics content in their curricula. Course credit assigned

(Optional)

January 27, 2002

FOLLOW-UP CONFERENCE

Day-long conference for participants who have implemented or attempted to implement changes based on the Making Science Right institute.

OVERVIEW [top]

Following the model of Ohio University’s 10-year-old “ethics modules” program, Making Science Right instructors provide participants basic theoretical concepts and skills, hone those skills on a few practical examples, then step back and function as a resource while participants create content and forge materials tailored to their goals and their needs.

The program begins with a four-day institute, during which participants will explore ethical theory and applied ethics methods. Participants then solidify and build on their understanding of the material by considering real-life ethical dilemmas. This phase of the institute includes a visit to the Edison Biotechnology Laboratory. As each topic is covered, participants will discuss options for incorporating the material into their curricula.

Following the on-campus portion of the insti-tute, participants will spend two months deve-loping materials for incorporation into their teaching. At the end of August, participants will submit these materials for course credit.

The Institute will provide an interactive website for participants to share ideas, compare notes and discuss classroom experiences in implementing the new content. The website databases will form the core of a state-wide ethics and science-history education resource repository for HS teachers.

Finally, in January 2002 participants will gather in Athens to review the summer institute, to compare notes and to share experiences.

LOCATION [top]

Athens is located in southeast Ohio, in the western foothills of the Appalachian mountains. More information about the city and the area is available at: http://www.athensohio.com/. Each participant in Making Science Right receives a $54 travel grant. Participants how attend the optional conference in January receive an additional $54 grant.

Driving distances to Athens (US miles):

  • Parkersburg: 40
  • Columbus: 75
  • Dayton: 135
  • Cincinnati: 150
  • Pittsburgh: 200
  • Cleveland: 220

Driving directions are available at http://www.ohiou.edu/athens/travel.html.

TRAVEL [top]

Bus service is available to and from the Columbus airport. For details,

see: http://www.ohiou.edu/about/new/transport.html.

[top]

Food and lodging will be provided to participants at no cost. Participants are also free to make their own arrangements, if they so desire.

CONTACT[top]

For further information, please contact conference coordinator Kathleen

Evans-Romaine at ethics@ohio.edu or 740 593 9802.