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Copyright Baylor University 20061 EGR 1301 Engineering Ethics.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright Baylor University 20061 EGR 1301 Engineering Ethics."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright Baylor University 20061 EGR 1301 Engineering Ethics

2 Copyright Baylor University 2006 2 Introduction Steven Eisenbarth, Ph.D. Associate Dean of Engineering and Computer Science Baylor University

3 Copyright Baylor University 2006 3 Rules that Govern Human Interaction Etiquette – codes of behavior and courtesy Law – system of rules established by statutes or custom (as in common law) Morals – accepted standards of right and wrong  Some are universal (e.g., lying or killing)  Some are not (e.g., polygamy and divorce) Ethics – general and abstract concepts of right and wrong behavior culled from philosophy, theology and professional societies.

4 Copyright Baylor University 2006 4 Overlap May Lead to Conflicts What is legal is not always moral. What is moral is not always legal. Sometimes even moral principles collide with each other. More on this later.

5 Copyright Baylor University 2006 5 Ethics Example— Speed Limits Moral question? Conceptual question? Applications question? Factual question?

6 Copyright Baylor University 2006 6 Resolving Ethical Dilemmas Factual Issues – arises when there is uncertainty about morally relevant facts. Applications Issues – result when it is unclear if a particular act violates a law, rule or policy. Conceptual Issues – arise when the morality of an action is agreed upon, but there is uncertainty about how it should be codified. Moral Issues – are involved if the issue can only be resolved by making a moral decision.

7 Copyright Baylor University 2006 7 Other Examples Untreated industrial waste discharges Housing development over toxic waste site Are theses examples of:  Moral question?  Conceptual question?  Applications question?  Factual question?

8 Copyright Baylor University 2006 8 Emmanuel Kant Sought to establish the ultimate principle of morality. Motivation behind the act important not the results achieved by the act. An action is moral if one could will the action be a universal law. Respect for persons. Persons should never be an means to an end but an end in themselves. Critical of Utilitarian theories because they tended to devalued human worth.

9 Copyright Baylor University 2006 9 John Stewart Mill Greatly influenced by the writing of Jeremy Bentham. Utilitarianism – “The greatest happiness principle”. Moral activities are those that create the most good for the most people. Best cost/benefit ratio. Requires assessment of the results of actions not the motives of the actor. Happiness defined as intellectual as well as sensual pleasure. Human dignity implies that intellectual pleasure is to be preferred to sensual pleasure.

10 Copyright Baylor University 2006 10 Rights Analysis Similar to Utilitarianism. Maximize “rights” rather than “happiness” Two type of rights:  Liberty rights  Welfare rights All “rights” are not of equal importance. Greater weight give to “most important” rights Select action the infringes the least on the rights of those involved.

11 Copyright Baylor University 2006 11 Christian Ethics Love God with heart, soul, mind and strength. Love neighbor as self. Moral law as civil restraint. Moral law as a spiritual mirror. Moral law as a spur to good deeds. One seeks God’s grace in all life’s actions

12 Copyright Baylor University 2006 12 Moral Principles: Conflicting Guidance What is best for society is not necessarily best for everyone in society.  Example – where to build an airport  Example – Stalin murdering 20,000,000 Russians, ostensibly to make Russia better for the remaining 200,000,000 people. Engineers generally use cost/benefit analysis which is more utilitarian. Which moral theory is more prevalent in American public policy? In American personal ethics?

13 Copyright Baylor University 2006 13 Canon of Engineering Ethics 1.Protect public safety, health and welfare. 2.Perform duties only in area of competence. 3.Be truthful and objective. 4.Avoid conflicts of interest. 5.Reject bribes and gifts that would interfere with your engineering judgment. 6.Provide honest value to one’s employer. 7.Protect employer’s or client’s confidential information. 8.Protect the environment.

14 Copyright Baylor University 2006 14 Which of Canons Applies Engineers get paid to testify as expert witnesses by the hour, whether their side wins or loses. Lawyers can work for a contingency. Why? What canon applies. When an engineering goes to work for a competitor of his current employer, what canon applies?

15 Copyright Baylor University 2006 15 Engineering as a Profession Profession are defined by statue and regulated by State Boards  Doctors must pass medical exam to obtain license and practice medicine.  Lawyers must pass Bar exam to practice law.  Engineers may or may not be licensed. In Texas engineering is regulated by the Engineering Practice Act. This Act includes as section on “Professional Conduct and Ethics”.

16 Copyright Baylor University 2006 16 Resource Allocation and the Value of Human Life Why we can’t put infinite value on human life in engineering work? What value on their lives (on average) do Americans put? What are the two critical principles in deciding what is an acceptable level of risk in engineering work?  Voluntary or involuntary  Who takes risk and who gets reward

17 Copyright Baylor University 2006 17 From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Chernobyl_Disaster.jpg

18 Copyright Baylor University 2006 18 Assignment Browse the Texas Board of Professional Engineers Website  http://www.tbpe.state.tx.us/ http://www.tbpe.state.tx.us/ Locate the Texas Engineering Registration Requirements  http://www.tbpe.state.tx.us/eng_req.htm http://www.tbpe.state.tx.us/eng_req.htm Locate the Texas Laws and Rules  http://www.tbpe.state.tx.us/downloads.htm#general http://www.tbpe.state.tx.us/downloads.htm#general  Download a copy of the Law and Rules Document  Read Subsection C: Personal Conduct and Ethics


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