Developing the Civic and Public Ethics Field
A2Ethics.org is at the forefront of developing the new field of public ethics.
But what exactly is public ethics? And why is it necessary?
Technological innovation and the debut of social media have given rise to entirely new enterprises and careers, requiring different skills and societal roles. Consider these emerging careers: social entrepreneur, civic journalist, sustainability manager, citizen scientist and social curator.
Technological innovation requires social innovation. And social innovation, in turn, requires ethics-based monitoring. But just as we know that new technologies can be harmful, we also know that social innovations bring their own dangers. Further, we are living in an age of profound income inequality and economic insecurity. If social innovations are to be beneficial, they need to be so, for everyone, and not just the few.
We believe there is a clear and urgent need for a new type of public educator—an independent civic ethicist. Their task: develop and implement methods and approaches that enable the public to weigh the ethical dimensions of technological and social innovations as well as the ethical impact of community policies and practices.
Our commitment to this effort takes several forms:
Research - Conducting and sponsoring research about the ethics of innovation as well as the new societal roles of social entrepreneurs and other professionals whose careers make social claims and responsibilities;
Programs - Organizing intergenerational mentor programs, such as the Generational Leaders and sponsoring public discussions and events on a wide range of ethics issues with local and regional importance.
Tools - Determining the skills necessary for a practicing civic ethicist and exploring ways in which the public can be informed, from methods of deliberative participation to decision-making tools.