Week 3: Ethics in the Social Sciences

I found this week’s reading interesting. The first concept that I liked out of the reading was that ethics are based on common sense. That with all of the complex and convoluted rules that go along with professional ethics, I think it’s important that we maintain enough agency as teachers as researchers as administrators to ask the question “is this right or wrong”. We should learn the rules and work to stay inside of their boundaries, but we can’t rely on a dead sheet of paper to tell us what’s right or wrong. The most important rules in our country, the U.S. Constitution, are interpreted and re-interpreted over and over. The rules only have value as long as we are critically and objectively thinking about them.

The second idea I really liked is that the ethics of the social sciences dictate that we work on issues that improve society. I have often felt this but didn’t know how to articulate it or if I should. I’ve seen a lot of research done on subjects because they were easy to research or a paper could be published quickly. While these criteria help people’s careers they don’t necessarily help the societies that they live in. Karl Marx one of the great heroes of the social sciences wrote so that he could help a group of people he thought were being exploited. In our publish or perish culture I feel like many of us, myself included, have lost track of what we’re actually aiming to do.

Thanks for giving me room to think about this

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