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A Hippocratic Oath for Mathematicians? Mapping the Landscape of Ethics in Mathematics.

Published version
Peer-reviewed

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Authors

Müller, Dennis 
Chiodo, Maurice 
Franklin, James 

Abstract

While the consequences of mathematically-based software, algorithms and strategies have become ever wider and better appreciated, ethical reflection on mathematics has remained primitive. We review the somewhat disconnected suggestions of commentators in recent decades with a view to piecing together a coherent approach to ethics in mathematics. Calls for a Hippocratic Oath for mathematicians are examined and it is concluded that while lessons can be learned from the medical profession, the relation of mathematicians to those affected by their work is significantly different. There is something to be learned also from the codes of conduct of cognate but professionalised quantitative disciplines such as engineering and accountancy, as well as from legal principles bearing on professional work. We conclude with recommendations that professional societies in mathematics should sponsor an (international) code of ethics, institutional mission statements for mathematicians and syllabuses of ethics courses for incorporation into mathematics degrees.

Description

Funder: RWTH Aachen University (3131)

Keywords

Codes of ethics, Ethics in mathematics, Hippocratic Oaths, Mathematics, Society, Codes of Ethics, Ethics, Medical, Hippocratic Oath, Mathematics, Morals

Journal Title

Sci Eng Ethics

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

1353-3452
1471-5546

Volume Title

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC