This course consists of 2 parts.
Part 1: Living Up to the Code: Engineering as Political Judgment
Codes of Professional Ethics reflect a variety of interests and circumstances, but in nearly every case they begin with a sense of higher purpose for the profession. This is particularly true in engineering, where such codes almost always begin with an affirmation of the engineer’s obligation to hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public in the performance of professional duties, notably design. To date, almost all of the interpretation and analysis of this ‘first canon’ has focused on situations in which an ethical failure will result in an immediate catastrophe such as a building’s collapse or loss of lives, that is, on the safety and health terms. Indeed, very little attention has been given to the ‘welfare of the public’ aspect of the code. Engineering ethics demands that they ask themselves (and others), as part of their professional practice: what is the public welfare and how might my design choices either serve or undermine it?
Part 2: Ethical Decisions and Moral Overload
When thinking about ethics, technology is often only mentioned as the source of our problems, not as a potential solution to our moral dilemmas. When thinking about technology, ethics is often only mentioned as a constraint on developments, not as a source and spring of innovation. In this paper, we argue that ethics can be the source of technological development rather than just a constraint and technological progress can create moral progress rather than just moral problems.
Professional Development Hours: 4