Morality in Learning Organisations LO18027

Dale Emery (
Fri, 08 May 1998 00:30:03 -0700

Replying to LO17946 --

> Principle of Honesty (do not deceive)

I like that one.

> Principle of Harm (do not harm others)

In my fantasies, I sometimes imagine a world with one law: do not harm
others. My fantasy loses most of its gleam when I realize how much effort
it would take to decide what constitutes harm.

> Principle of Fidelity (keep promises and act faithfully)


> Principle of Autonomy (permit and encourage others to act rationally)

Hmmm. What does "rationally" mean?

> Principle of Confidentiality (keep confidential information in proper circles)

Okay. Now we get to sort out what "proper circles" means.

> Principle of Lawfulness (do not violate the law)

I don't like this one. It presupposes that the law is strongly connected
with morality, and I'm not ready to accept that.

> Right to know

Right to know what?

> Right to privacy
> Right to free expression
> Right to due process
> Right to safety
> Right to own property
> Right to make a profit

> Rights of future generations

This last one doesn't seem like the others. It doesn't say what the
rights are, it just says who has them. What rights? Does this mean that
even people who do not exist have rights?

I've noticed something odd about rights. If I say, "I have the right to
live," that seems to be asserting something about me. But what it really
asserts is a limitation on the behavior of everyone *but* me: no one is
permitted to take my life. Every other right works the same way.

How come we express "rights" this way, instead of saying what is really
going on, that we're limiting each other's behavior?



Dale H. Emery -- Collaborative Consultant High Performance for Software Development Projects E-mail: Web:

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