mime221_notes_chapters1_2 - Chapter 1 Engineering has had...

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Chapter 1 Engineering has had many triumphs, but technology has double implications: as it creates benefits it raises new moral challenges. Technological risks, however, should not outweigh the benefits, as engineering deeply enriches our lives. 1.1 Scope of engineering ethics: 7 themes recur in the book. They give a normative (value) perspective on engineering and engineering ethics. 1) Engineering as social experimentation Very often technological development is double-edged, Janus-faced, morally ambiguous. As engineering projects create new possibilities, they also generate new dangers. Model of engineering as social experiments: Engineers need to accept/share responsibility for their work, exercise due care, imaginatively foresee new hazards, monitor their projects, alert others of dangers. The model also highlights the advantages of engineering discoveries and achievements. 2) Ethics and Excellence: Moral values are embedded in engineering Engineers require moral values because their work combines advanced skill and commitment to the public good. Engineering and ethics go together. Ethics involves the full range of moral values to which we aspire in guiding our endeavors and in structuring our relationships and communities. 3 Personal meaning and commitments matter in engineering ethics, along with principles of responsibility that are stated in codes of ethics and incumbent on all engineers. 4 Promoting responsible conduct is even more important that punishing wrong-doing. 5 Ethical dilemmas arise in engineering as elsewhere because moral values are myriad and can conflict 6 Engineering ethics should explore both micro (decisions made by individuals, companies) and macro (directions of technological development, laws, engineering societies/groups) issues, which are often connected. 7 Technological developments warrant cautious optimism. 1.1.2 What is engineering ethics?
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Two normative (referring to justified values, things that are desirable (not merely desired)) definitions: 1. Engineering ethics consists if the responsibilities and rights that ought to be endorsed by those engaged in engineering, and also of desirable ideals and personal commitments in engineering 2. Engineering ethics is the study of the decisions, policies and values that are morally desirable in engineering practice and research. Morality concerns respect for others and ourselves, involves being fair/just, meeting obligations, respecting rights, not causing harm by dishonesty and cruelty. Involves ideals of character (integrity, gratitude, willingness to help). Implies minimizing harm to animals/environment. 1.1.3 Why study engineering ethics? It’s important, contributes to face engineering, gives meaning to engineering endeavors. Ethics are complex, require thought. Want to increase our moral autonomy (ability to make decisions based on our values). Practical skills that help improve our moral autonomy: Moral awareness, cogent
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This note was uploaded on 12/01/2009 for the course MIME MIME 221 taught by Professor Hassani during the Winter '08 term at McGill.

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mime221_notes_chapters1_2 - Chapter 1 Engineering has had...

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