Hippocratic Oaths for Mathematicians?

Philosophia 51 (3):1579-1603 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

In this paper I ask whether mathematicians should swear an oath similar to the Hippocratic oath sworn by some medical professionals as a means to foster morally praiseworthy engagement with the ethical dimensions of mathematics. I individuate four dimensions in which mathematics is ethically charged: (1) applying mathematical knowledge to the world can cause harm, (2) participation of mathematicians in morally contentious practices is an ethical issue, (3) mathematics as a social activity faces relevant ethical concerns, (4) mathematical knowledge itself may be ethically charged. I present a conceptual framework for oaths and discuss some empirical results on the effectiveness of oath-taking to foster morally praiseworthy behaviour. My findings suggest that enforcing oath-taking practices in mathematics is not currently a suitable means to foster ethically praiseworthy behaviour amongst mathematicians. Oaths can, however, provide needed edifying narratives about how to act ethically when acting as a mathematician.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 93,031

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

What is an oath and why should a physician swear one?Daniel P. Sulmasy - 1999 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 20 (4):329-346.

Analytics

Added to PP
2022-11-21

Downloads
11 (#1,166,121)

6 months
5 (#711,233)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations