3 Relationships, emotions and ethics
In this section I would like to look at a complete play script to examine how ethics and ethical issues are dealt with. I've chosen this particular play because Katie Hims, the author, is particularly good at writing natural sounding dialogue, and this ‘naturalness’ is something that is sometimes missing in some scenarios specifically created to illustrate ethical questions within technological contexts. The play was originally written for and broadcast on the BBC Radio 4 as part of the Connecting series of plays exploring the impact of communication and information technologies, but here we are providing the original script.
In the previous section I started talking about relationships, and one of the things to look for in this play is what kind of relationships there are as well as the values that people might attribute to those relationships. This sort of focus allows us to see clearly the different kinds of values we put on different relationships. Although this play is not specifically about ethics, it sets the scene for the next play I will discuss in the next section, and that play is much more focused on ethics. However, looking at relationships and the values people assign to them is particularly useful to highlight another important issue within ethics, namely, the role of emotions, and this leads us neatly to the second resource explored in the section.
The second resource we will look at is a dialogue written by the philosopher Martha Nussbaum. Nussbaum writes about ethics and emotions, but, in the extracts I will ask you to read, she is actually presenting something about ethics and emotions in dialogic form. Interestingly, she is not only using a dialogic form, but the dialogue actually has two different forms within a form as she presents a lecture as well as her interaction her parents.