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Moral mid-level principles in modeling


  • Diekmann, Sven


Modelers, especially in operational research, are becoming increasingly aware that their role in decision-making raises moral problems. This paper discusses two questions: How do moral issues in modeling arise? How can these moral issues be addressed? I propose a framework that (1) provides tools for discovering moral issues raised by models, and (2) provides practical guidance for solving moral problems in modeling. As regards (1), I discuss three moral perspectives on modeling: a perspective that focuses on the beneficial or harmful consequences of using a model; a perspective that focuses on the intentions of using a model; and a perspective that focuses on whether a model promotes virtuous behavior. In order to achieve practical action guidance, (2), four moral mid-level principles are introduced: (i) The principle of transparency expresses the obligations to explain the structure, assumptions and further properties of the model; (ii) the principle of integrity demands for the application of professional standards; (iii) the principle of comprehensiveness stresses that all moral concerns should be acknowledged thoroughly; and finally, (iv) the principle of efficacy states that models should evaluate moral issues explicitly.

Suggested Citation

  • Diekmann, Sven, 2013. "Moral mid-level principles in modeling," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 226(1), pages 132-138.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:226:y:2013:i:1:p:132-138
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejor.2012.09.027

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Le Menestrel, Marc & Van Wassenhove, Luk N., 2004. "Ethics outside, within, or beyond OR models?," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 153(2), pages 477-484, March.
    2. Kunsch, P.L. & Kavathatzopoulos, I. & Rauschmayer, F., 2009. "Modelling complex ethical decision problems with operations research," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1100-1108, December.
    3. Le Menestrel, Marc & Van Wassenhove, Luk N., 2009. "Ethics in Operations Research and Management Sciences: A never-ending effort to combine rigor and passion," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1039-1043, December.
    4. Brans, J. Pierre, 2002. "OR, Ethics and Decisions: the OATH of PROMETHEUS," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 191-196, July.
    5. Gallo, Giorgio, 2004. "Operations research and ethics: Responsibility, sharing and cooperation," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 153(2), pages 468-476, March.
    6. Mingers, John, 2011. "Ethics and OR: Operationalising discourse ethics," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 210(1), pages 114-124, April.
    7. Wenstop, Fred & Magnus, Per, 2001. "Value focused rationality in AIDS policy," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 57-72, July.
    8. White, Leroy & Bourne, Humphrey, 2007. "Voices and values: Linking values with participation in OR/MS in public policy making," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 588-603, October.
    9. Walker, Warren E., 2009. "Does the best practice of rational-style model-based policy analysis already include ethical considerations?," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1051-1062, December.
    10. Gass, Saul I., 2009. "Ethical guidelines and codes in operations research," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1044-1050, December.
    11. Brans, Jean-Pierre, 2004. "The management of the future: Ethics in OR: Respect, multicriteria management, happiness," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 153(2), pages 466-467, March.
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