Chapter 5 Legal And Ethical Responsibilities Assignment

ent emotional states (e.g., reduced or increased fear, feelings of anger or calm). Information technology underlies increasing automation of many functions previously delegated to people,13 but today and more so in the future, computers may make decisions that have traditionally been made by responsible humans in positions of authority.14

More broadly, responsible stewardship for the humanity of the soldiers that the nation asks to go to war is an important concern for policy makers—and the technology of war may have an impact on that sense of humanity. Military psychologist David Grossman argues that the act of killing has important psychological effects on individuals that may affect their sense of humanity.15 Philosopher Shannon French argues that soldiers live by a “warrior’s code”—a code of values—about what is right and wrong in combat, and that this code is the shield that guards their humanity.16 She further argues that an individual’s sense of humanity and sense of himself or herself is endangered by, among other things, excessive distancing in war (e.g., the use of drones), dehumanization of the enemy, and the erosion of traditional warrior values.

In other words, asking soldiers to violate their code of values, explicitly or implicitly, and thus to act unethically is inherently harmful to these soldiers—not physically, but psychologically. In particular, asking soldiers to use weapons in an unethical manner or to use weapons that violate a soldier’s sense of his or her obligations under the code may make it harder to reconcile their actions with their values, and may ultimately impede their healthy transition out of combat and back into civilian life.

Questions relevant to concerns about technologies’ effects on individuals’ sense of humanity may include the following:

• How and to what extent, if at all, does a new military application


13 For example, the World War II Baltimore-class cruiser (CA-68) displaced 13,600 tons and carried a crew ranging from 1650 to 1950 individuals. By contrast, the planned DDX Zumwalt-class destroyer (DDG-1000) is expected to displace approximately 14,500 tons and carry a crew of 140 individuals.

14 A critique of the idea that computers might replace human judges, for example, is found in Joseph Weizenbaum, Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation, W.H. Freeman, San Francisco, 1976. A paper by law professor Anthony D’Amato advocates exactly this idea. See Anthony D’Amato, “Can/Should Computers Replace Judges?” Northwestern University School of Law, Evanston, Ill., 1977, available at

15 Dave Grossman, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1995 (hardback), 1996 (paperback, in 18th printing as of 2008).

16 Shannon French, Code of the Warrior: Exploring Warrior Values Past and Present, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Lanham, Md., 2003.

Chapter 5Legal and Ethical ResponsibiliTesIntroducTon:All health care workers must understand the legal and ethical responsibiliTes of their parTcular health career. ±his assignment will help you review the basic facts on legal and ethical responsibiliTes.InstrucTons:Read the informaTon on Legal and Ethical ResponsibiliTes. In the space provided, print the word(s) that best completes the statement or answers the quesTon.1.Use the Key ±erms to Fll in the blanks.a.Contract: agreement between two or more parTesb.±ort: wrongful acts that do not involve contractsc.Slander: spoken defamaTond.DefamaTon: a false statement that causes a person to be ridiculede.Libel: wri²en defamaTonf.Legaldisability: does not have legal capacity to form a contractg.Legal: authorized or based on lawh.Agent: person working under principal’s direcToni.Ethics: principles relaTng to what is morally right or wrongj.³alseimprisonment: restricTng an individual’s freedomk.MalpracTce: bad pracTcel.Assault: threat or a²empt to injurem.Negligence: failure to give expected caren.PaTent´s rights: factors of care paTents can expect2.Create a situaTon that provides an example that could lead to legal acTon for each of the following torts.MalpracTce:A nurse performing minor surgery without having any training, or a doctor amputating the wrong leg.a.Negligence: Not reporting defective equipment, or when a person falls of an elevated bed.

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