Starting with the basics II: ethics of science
I would like to reflect one more issue from the discussion group on the philosophy of science that I am currently a member of. Oeser (2003) stated that it is the task of science to research people's needs. So, first of all, the question is posed, can we really determine what people's needs are? And the second question that arises is, are sciences like marketing that intend to (manipulatively) induce needs in people (rather than finding out what the true needs are) truly sciences, or are they 'just' acting unethically?
The first question I would answer saying that it might be hard for any science to act _ethically_ if the researchers of the science cannot determine themselves what the true needs of the peole are in the first place. Surrounding conditions will influence that decision making process: what institutions offer what kinds of monies for what purposes? What current trends exist that funding agencies find worthy of funding? Agencies sponsor 'progression' no matter what the costs? In these realms, how can it be possible to make decisions about what the true needs of people are, emphasis on people, not organizations. If the sciences depend on funding that is provided by different interest groups, it will be hard to maintain an ethical line of decision making what to research.
My point of view on the second question is that sciences like marketing work to fulfil needs of organizations, industries and companies rather than people. Of course, there are always people behind the organizations, companies etc. However, the frame of an impersonal organization allows people in those organization to act impersonally. Therefore, performing research for an organization justifies researching matters like inducing needs in people. The excuse to say "but the organization needs this information" is always there, which of course doesn't make the science any more ethical.
My conclusion then must be that even though the sciences are supposed to act ethically by researching people's needs, there might hardly be a chance for the sciences to do so due to the surrounding circumstances.