Session 2: Ethical Decision-Making FEAA 200: Introduction to Engineering and Architecture Fall 2016 Dr. Nadine Moacdieh Department of Industrial Engineering and Management September 6, 2015 Ethics Module
Outline of this module Engineering Ethics 1. Responsibility of Engineers 2. Ethical Decision-Making 3. Ethics and Technology
• Moral dilemma: A situation where you have to select between two or more actions and it is not clear which one is morally right – Could be moral reasons for choosing each option – Could be moral reasons for NOT choosing each option Moral dilemma
• The trolley example Moral dilemma What would you do?
• The trolley example, part 2 Moral dilemma What would you do?
• You are going to build a new highway to reduce traffic, but this would mean destroying several houses. Moral dilemmas What would you do?
• Engineers have responsibilities towards their employers and society • Conflicts of responsibility may arise • How do engineers know what to do in the face of a moral dilemma? – Ethics theories – Codes of conduct Moral dilemmas for engineers
Maximizing happiness Utilitarianism : founded by Jeremy Bentham in the 18 th century
• An action is right if it results in the maximum happiness and least harm for the largest number • Put a price on everything – Maximize benefits – Minimize costs Maximizing happiness
• Utilitarian approach to the trolley example: – Flip the switch (or push the man) Maximizing happiness
• Utilitarian approach to the highway example: – Build the highway Maximizing happiness
• Advantages – Simple and straightforward – A lot of people are happy • Limitations – How can we tell if something gives a person “happiness” or not? – How can we compare different actions? – Is it right to harm a few people for the sake of many people’s happiness ? Maximizing happiness
Rights of people Categorical imperative : developed by Immanuel Kant in the 18 th century
• Do not use people in order to reach a certain goal, no matter what the goal is – Even if the goal is the happiness of others • Respect each person’s rights regardless of who these people are Rights of people
• Kantian approach to the trolley example: – Do not flip the switch Rights of people
• Kantian approach to the highway example: – Do not build the highway Rights of people
• Advantages – Protect everyone’s rights • Disadvantages – Possibly less overall benefits Rights of people
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