S1E1-A: Addressing the problems in Ethics.

A short introduction of the problem to solve and the unique approach we follow.

Should there be gender quotas at the office? should abortion be allowed? should you stop having kids for the sake of the environment? All these can be considered ethical dilemmas…after all ethical dilemmas imply a judgment about right or wrong.

Unfortunately, the sad reality is that we have become marvellously skilful at answering these kinds of questions in any way we want, finding excuses for our behaviour without any consistent criteria; there are so many ways to justify our actions, from the classical “Everyone does it”, to the Visionary “it’s for the greater good…”, ending with the ignorant “If it’s not illegal it’s probably ok”. We have reached the status in which everything can be justifiable, a status of ethical relativism.

The ambiguity in ethical dilemma solutions is a problem that is bound to keep growing. The problems we face as a society have become larger, more complex and more connected. For example, the pressing issues on the sustainability front, the rise of artificial intelligence or the new era of space exploration and the advent of human colonies in mars. All these developments will challenge us on many fronts, forcing us to make difficult decisions that will have critical consequences to many.

The problem as I see it, is that from an Ethical perspective we don’t seem to have the right standpoint on how to judge dilemmas consistently and come to an agreement on how to approach things.

The problem as I see it, lies in the theoretical, normative aspect of ethics in which right now, be it deontology, religion, the state, social contract, consequentialism,. you name it.. there is no single ethical theory that can be used consistently.

The problem as I see it, is that sadly ethics has become a punch word a decoration in someone’s speech, with so many interpretations that makes it permissible for people to twist it to their advantage and bring forward their personal agendas.

The word ethics officially means too many things, and by doing so it loses its value.

And so, this thesis has been born to give a new reinterpretation to ethics that is more tangible, that is dynamic and that is consistent across multiple types of dilemmas. In other words, a thesis that provides a clear and consistent judgement set of criteria to solve dilemmas from an ethical perspective.

This work lies in two fundamental perspectives.

First, “ethics has too many masters at the moment”, we need to remove expectations for ethics and just focus on one functional value. Taking inspiration from philosophy on the nature of ethics and from anthropology on the nature of humanity, I propose that the most important reason for ethics to exist, is the minimization of injuries in others, in other words, ethics’ main objective is the reduction or prevention of harm or damages during human interaction.

This seems quite intuitive but it’s not enough to make it usable in every real-life dilemma, and so it needs to be complemented by the second perspective. To understand better interaction, we explore we use complexity theory, a science that analyzes societies and culture in the same way scientists would analyze a physical system, such as the weather system, looking at the inner forces that raise due to the interaction and interconnectivity of all their elements. If we see society as a system, we can visualize how human interaction happens in a combination of multiple systems, overlapping and interacting with each other. The family, the company, the group of friends, all of them can be considered systems.  The main conclusion we take is that human interaction is lived roleplaying, and we, individuals, spend our lives playing different roles moving from system to system in a semi-automated manner; at one moment you are a sister, the next moment an employee, and later on a football player or a singer.

As we combine both perspectives, we are able to use ethics in the right manner, since we focus on only one value, removing confusion on what we aim to achieve; and we apply it in the right way using roleplaying as a direction. In other words, prior to giving an answer to what is ethical? we need to know from which role perspective.

I call this theory of Ethics DREMSI, which stands for Dynamic Roleplaying expectations to Minimize Stakeholder Injuries.
Through this work, I will argue that by using the DREMSI method:

  • We can understand reality better and consistently judge dilemmas from an ethical perspective, achieving success in the minimization of injuries
  • We can apply this theory to multiple systems, no longer having to rely on relativist heroes that represent a different face of ethics.
  • We can build a robust ethical framework for individuals and corporations, that can nurture and facilitate ethical behavior

For all the philosophy lovers in the audience, this thesis doesn’t aim to reject the classical ethical schools as a matter of fact it incorporates many principles of deontology, utilitarianism and social contract theory. The difference lies in the usage of complexity theory to get a new perception of reality. In a way this theory follows the steps from British Philosopher Maestro Derek Parfit when in his book,” On what matters”, he claims that the three ethical schools (deontology, consequentialism and social contract) do not contradict each other… they are just walking different paths of the same mountain; However, by using complexity theory we notice it has never been a mountain but more of a tornado, composed of an interconnected network of roleplaying agents.

As shared in episode zero, the series is divided into four phases, with 10 episodes in total.

In phase one I’ll explain the foundations of this thesis and apply it to classical ethical dilemmas, the famous trolley dilemmas. Phase two I’ll go deep into the components of the DREMSI methodology, in preparation for Phase three where we move away from classical trolley based and we move to the real deal complex reality-based dilemmas, what’s the point of saving trolleys when we have real issues at hand. And then the season ends with the creation of a framework for living ethically, for individuals and corporations.

This episode will provide you with an overarching structure of the DREMSI theory, in other words, the key components and theoretical foundation. I’ll begin by providing a new definition of ethics using the cultural and the complexity lens, this will be the foundation of the DREMSI Theory. Afterwards, I will finetune the concept by setting boundaries, clarifying its limits on what I mean and how it operates. To then finalize the episode with the benefits of this approach and its implications.

NEXT: S1E1 – B: A definition of Ethics under the cultural lens.

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S1E9 – A: State Dilemmas – Announcement

Hola my dear readers, In episode nine of this series we are meant to analyse the ethical dilemmas that governments face, it has been a long journey and this is one of the last stops in this theory. While individual and business dilemmas were relatively easy to analyse using the DREMSI method, it has taken

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S1E8 – D: Extended accountabilities

In this final section of Companies Dilemmas, we handle the controversial topic of Extended Accountabilities, aiming to define how far is a company responsible for the actions of external parties when running a business.

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S1E8 – C: Companies and the Greater good

In this episode, we handle how companies should consider solving «Greater Good» Dilemmas such as inequality and sustainability. A very common and valid question that doesn’t have an easy answer and even at times relies more on the government and the consumer than the company in itself.

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