Because the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics often helps people work through moral dilemmas, it has developed a method for ethical decision making as a resource for those who are confronting value questions. The approach has a number of steps, but the broad categories include recognizing the moral issue, evaluating alternative actions from various moral points of view, making a decision, acting, and considering the action in retrospect. This Issues in Ethics shows how our publication is part of the Center’s own process of ethical decision making.
It explores the important moral issues that have motivated some of our recent programs. “Cybersmut,” for example, is a primer on the technological and legal issues behind the controversy over minors’ access to pornography on the Internet. Anaccompanying article details the Center’s work with the Santa Clara County public library system on this subject, entitled “Access, Internet, and Public Libraries”. A Center-sponsored human rights leadership exchange inspired “Hope and Psychological Space in Guatemala,” which looks at the role of hope in social change.
Several Center workshops on academic integrity were the spur for “Cheating Themselves,” and the Center’s Ethics Roundtable for Executives provided the original forum for “The Case of Nutritional Foods,” a case study that examines questions of product responsibility. Finally, “The Horizon of Faith” developed from a classroom discussion with our Student Reflection Leaders, Santa Clara University undergraduates who are trained to facilitate group discussion on a wide range of personal experiences. In short, we are involved in a lot of interesting work, which we are committed to reviewing in this publication.
There is only one drawback: Our programs are growing so quickly that fund raising has not yet caught up, and we have had to make difficult decisions about how best to use limited financial resources. As a result, the Center’s budget currently allows for only three Issues in Ethics a year. Our goal is to publish quarterly. Many readers are helping us toward this goal by becoming voluntary subscribers. If you would like to contribute, please fill out our feedback form. Thank you for supporting the Center and its programs.