Hard Trends

Question 1

For this essay, you will discuss the recent controversy surrounding the so-called “Google Manifesto,” a ten page document written as a critique of Google’s diversity and inclusivity initiatives. Before listening to any commentary on this debate, first read the manifesto here, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.”While reading pay particular attention to how the idea of empathy is presented by the author. Next listen to this brief report on the controversy on the program Here & Now. Finally, read the following responses to the manifesto: Google’s Vice President of Diversity, Integrity, and Governance, Danielle Brown’s response and Yonathan Zunger’s “So about this Googlers manifesto.”

After examining these texts, write an essay which explores how this controversy relates to our discussions of empathy, particularly in relation to the work we’ve read by Sherry Turkle and by Jaron Lanier.

In your essay you may consider addressing one or more of the following questions:

  • What does this controversy reveal about the importance of empathy in our culture?
  • How could this conflict have been handled differently by the author of the manifesto, by the media, by Google, or by each of these parties?
  • What does this controversy reveal about the role that technology plays in mediating intrapersonal, interpersonal, small-group, and public communication?

Question 2

Choose a contemporary moral issue in our society and apply the ethical principle of Utilitarianism to approve and be in favor of this moral issue. You must pick a moral issue that you strongly agree with and apply the utilitarian claims to back up your arguments. In addition, you must apply Bentham’s Felicific Calculus. The paper must be done in MLA format with a minimum of 500 words (quotes are not included in the word count). You must read Chapter 2 and watch the Week 3 Lectures before you do this paper.

Not applying Utilitarianism or the Felicific Calculus results in an automatic F. Utilitarianism is the ethical theory that the moral worth of an action is only determined by its contribution to overall utility . It is thus a form of consequentialism , meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome-the ends justifies the means.

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