Document Type : Research Paper


1 Sharif University of Technology

2 Sharif University of Technology, Department of Philosophy of Science


In this inquiry, we try to find a way to deal with moral problems and dilemmas in the realm of technology. We use a procedure that has been introduced in recent years in applied ethics, which is that of design analogy. According to this procedure, we can draw on insights and structures that are used in design processes to solve moral problems. Moreover, for the sake of moral evaluation in this structure, we need an ethical theory. Our proposed ethical theories are Kantian rule consequentialism and triple theory, which is a combination of Kantian and Scanlonian contractualism and rule consequentialism. It seems that these formulas do not have the weaknesses of other moral theories, and because they offer a compromise between three moral theories, they can reduce moral disagreement among stakeholders and even decrease the complexity of moral problems. At the end of this paper, with the help of a case study, we will show how we can use this framework in actual instances. We will see that this systematic approach can help us state our problem clearly and comprehensively, and that its steps reduce the complexity of our moral problem. Finally, we will be able to evaluate the case with two efficient moral theories without neglecting any important relevant elements. This will lead us to take the right decision, prohibiting or decreasing disastrous impacts of our actions.


Albrechtslund, A. (2006). Ethics and technology design. Ethics and Information Technology, 9(1) , 63-72. doi:10.1007/s10676-006-9129-8
Dorst, K., & Royakkers, L. (2011). The design analogy: A model for moral problem solving. Design Studies, 27(6), 633–656. doi:10.1016/j.destud.2006.05.002
Friedman, B., Kahn, P. H., & Borning, A. (2002). Value sensitive design: Theory and methods. University of Washington.
Van Gorp, A. (2005). Ethical issues in engineering design: Safety and sustainability. Delft: Simon Stevin Series in the Philosophy of Technology.
Jonas, H. (2014). Technology and responsibility: Reflections on the new tasks of ethics. In R. L. Sandler (Ed.), Ethics and Emerging Technologies (pp. 37–47). doi:10.1057/9781137349088_3
Kant, I. (2008). Groundwork for the metaphysic of morals (Trans. J. Bennett). Retrieved from:
Kerstein, S. (2002). Kant’s search for the supreme principle of morality. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Martin, M. W., & Schinzinger, R. (2000). Introduction to engineering ethics (Second ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw Hill.
Parfit, D. (2011). On what matters (Vol. 1). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Van de Poel, I., & Royakkers, L. (2011). Ethics, technology, and engineering: An introduction. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Scanlon, T. M. (2000). What we owe to each other. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press.
Whitbeck, C. (1998). Ethics in engineering practice and research. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.