Ethics

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Psychologists aren’t supposed to be involved in torture. In this 2009 file photo a sign marks a closed-off area at Camp Justice, the location of the US Military Commissions court for war crimes, at the US Naval Base, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Witness-Guantanamo/Reuters/Brennan Linsley/Pool/Files

An ethics lesson for psychologists: don’t participate in torture

Why hasn’t the American Psychological Association prohibited members from participating in interrogations? And what are future psychologists learning about military medical ethics?
Australia’s politicians were unable to save Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan from a firing squad in Indonesia. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Chan and Sukumaran are victims of the futile war on drugs

Australia's politicians were unable to make the most persuasive argument for clemency for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran because Australia is also a combatant in the misguided war on drugs.
The institute of marriage can only be made stronger by recognising all marriages. Danielle

An ethical case for marriage equality in Australia

Little progress has been made on debates about marriage equality in Australia – even though a majority of the population is in favour of it. How might ethical frameworks help us better understand the issues?
Rugby union star Karmichael Hunt has been stood down by his club pending a court appearance on drug supply charges. AAP/Dan Peled

Being great at sport does not come with good moral judgement

There is a tension between views of players’ rights under employment contracts and their responsibilities – both ethically and contractually
News of Tanveer Ahmed’s dismissal from The Australian has put plagiarism back in the headlines. Bart

Feeding the beast: why plagiarism rips off readers too

By now you’ve likely heard about psychiatrist and columnist Tanveer Ahmed’s recent opinion piece in The Australian in which he effectively blamed radical feminism for domestic violence. Others have explained…
Concerns about art and the environment should not be so divorced. Lucy Orta

Arts institutions must break their petroleum dependency

After a three-year court battle, the Tate has been forced to disclose how much money it receives in sponsorship from BP. The stubbornness seemed to indicate a massive sum, one the galleries could not do…
Australians don’t like the death penalty – we just don’t want the discomfort of having to care about the people it’s applied to. EPA/Made Nagi

The Bali Nine, and how not to argue for the death penalty

Barring some sort of last-minute miracle, two relatively young Australian men, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, are going to be killed by the Indonesian state. They will not be the first to die this way…
A truly deep thinker must draw on both science and the humanities. Todd Martin

What’s the role of virtues in the lab?

The evolution of science and engineering in the 21st century has transformed the role of these professions in profound ways that affect research, scholarship and the practice of teaching in the university…
Do all authors listed on any published work actually contribute to the research? Shutterstock/alexskopje

Tackling unethical authorship deals on scientific publications

The research excellence of academics is often measured by the quantity and quality of their scholarly publications. But how do we know that all authors listed on a publication have actually been involved…
Stéphane Charbonnier’s Charlie Hebdo offended people of all religions, but when does causing offence become unethical? EPA/Yoan Valat

How do we decide if offending someone is unethical or not?

Causing offence to others often causes hurt. Such actions have been condemned as unethical, even immoral behaviour in a civilised society. There have been many examples. The Bill Henson photographs of…
When violence erupts, we can be tempted to make judgements about collective responsibility based on our own allegiances, rather than consistent moral principles. EPA/Ian Langsdon

Charlie Hebdo attack: when should we hold a group responsible for a member’s evil?

When should we hold a group morally responsible for a member’s evil? In the wake of the Charlie Hedbo attacks, many will demand answers about Islam’s role in promoting violence. As we brace for the inevitable…
Giving a gift is a complex transaction. So what makes a gift good? MattysFlicks/Flickr

Give and take: the anxiety of gift giving at Christmas

The anxiety attached to gift giving is worth considering. The Christian commemoration of Christmas is about celebrating God’s ultimate gift, his only son. Such an exceptional gift reaches its destiny in…

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