Ethics and Technology

Ethics and Technology - PPOHS MIME 221 Ethical Issues and...

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: PPOHS MIME 221 Ethical Issues and definitions Technology and Ethical Issues What is Ethics and the Impact of Technology on Society What is What is What is What is Ethics? Technology? Impact? Society? INTRODUCTION TO ENGINEERING ETHICS Engineering Ethics is the study of moral values, issues and decision involved in engineering practice. ETHICS The moral values take many forms, including responsibilities, ideal character behavior, social policies, and relationships desirable for individuals and corporation engaged in technological development. What is Ethics? Ethics. The science of moral values and moral duties; the study of ideal human character, actions and ends. A set of moral principles or values. A treatise on morals. How we treat each other and nature. What is Ethics? Morals. Relating to principals of right and wrong in behavior. Conforming to a standard of right behavior. Conforming to a standard of what is good and/or what is right, virtuous, as a moral life. What is Morality? From dictionaries, morality mainly concerns on right and wrong, good and bad, the rules that ought to be followed. This definition is incomplete, because there are non-moral as well as moral usages of these words. Therefore, morality is not easily explained in a simple definition. What is Morality? We could say that morality is about reasons centered in respect for other people as well as ourselves Moral reasons, may involve being fair and just, respecting peoples right, avoiding unnecessary offense, cheating and dishonesty, caring, showing gratitude and empathy, minimizing damage to environment etc. What are the Impacts? Intended impacts (benefits): influenced and determined by our assumptions, values and beliefs. Undesirable consequences ("factual"). Imprecision in data and models (risk). Unintended impacts . Indeterminacy and ignorance. False advertisement Funny but is it Ethical MORAL DILEMMAS AND RELATED ISSUES Moral dilemmas are situations in which two or more moral obligations, duties, rights, goods, or ideals come into conflict with one another. It is also possible for one moral principle to have two or more incompatible applications in a given situation. MORAL DILEMMAS AND RELATED ISSUES Because moral principles can conflict, it is often difficult or impossible to formulate rules that are absolute, that is, never have a justified exception. Even such basic principles as Do Not Lie, Do Not Steal, and Do Not Kill have some permissible exceptions when they conflict with more pressing moral duties. MORAL DILEMMAS AND RELATED ISSUES Resolving moral dilemmas involves good moral judgment in weighing conflicting moral reasons, but frequently it involves several related tasks: conceptual clarification, factual inquiries, and resolution of interpersonal disagreements. MORAL DILEMMAS AND RELATED ISSUES a) b) c) Conceptual clarification is the clarification of moral ideas and morally relevant notions. In general, moral ideas contain areas of vagueness and ambiguity that need to be dealt with. Factual inquiries are inquiries into the facts relevant to resolving particular moral issues. These are engineering, scientific, financial, or legal matters, as they are brought to bear on resolving moral dilemmas. Interpersonal disagreements are controversies among persons or groups about how to understand and resolve moral dilemmas. Ideally, either through mutually enriching perspective or compromises CONFLICT Morality....provides one possibility of settling conflict,a way of encompassing conflict which allows the continuance of personal relationships against the hard and apparently inevitable fact of Misunderstanding, Mutually incompatible wishes, Commitments, Loyalties, Interests and needs.... CONFLICT We do not have to agree with one another in order to live in the same moral world, but we do have to know and respect one another's differences. Stanley Cavell Conflict CONFLICT MANAGER ENGINEER LABOUR Variety of Moral issues EMPHASIZES SMALL EVERYDAY PROBLEMS LARGER SOCIAL PROBLEMS WHICH APPROACH IS BETTER? NEITHER BY ITSELF WHAT IS REQUIRED IS ONGOING INTERACTION BETWEEN THE TWO. Variety of Moral issues AN INSPECTOR AND FAULTY CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT. AN ELECTRICAL UTILITY COMPANY AND NUCLEAR POWER PLANT. CHEMICAL PLANT DUMPED WASTES IN A LANDFILL. ELECTRONIC COMPANY AND UNFINISHED ITEM. ILLUSTRATED CASES These examples show how ethical problem arise most often when there are differences of judgment or expectation ILLUSTRATED CASES An inspector discovered faulty construction equipment and applied violation tag, preventing its continued use. The inspector's supervisor . Whom is the construction manager, viewed the case as a minor infraction of safety regulations and ordered the tag removed so the project would not be delayed. The inspector objected but he was threatened with disciplinary action. The continued use of equipment led to the death of a worker on a tunnel project. . ILLUSTRATED CASES A chemical plant dumped wastes in a landfill. Hazardous substances found their way into the underground water table. The plant's engineers were aware of the situation but did not change the disposal method because their competitors did it the same cheap way. Plant supervisors told the engineers it was the responsibility of the local government to identify any problems. ILLUSTRATED CASES The ABC company began selling its latest hightech product before it had been fully checked out in beta tests, that is, used on real applications by a group of knowledgeable users. It was not ready for distribution, but clients were already lured to this product by glossy advertising designed to win the market by being first to capture clients' attention. Variety of Moral issues The ethical problems arise most often when there are differences of judgment or expectation as to what constitutes the true state of affairs or a proper course of action Variety of Moral issues The Engineer may be faced with contrary opinion from within The firm The client Other firms within the industry Government professional society PERTINENT MORAL QUESTIONS To what extent should an employer's or supervisor's directive to be the authoritative guide to an engineer's conduct? Is it fair to be expected to put one's job on the line? What does one do when there are differences of judgment? Should one always follow the Law to the letter? Is an engineer to do more than those initially anticipated ? How far does an engineer's responsibility extend into the realm of anticipating and influencing the social impact of the projects he or she participates in? Global environment Engineering firm Manager Engineer colleagues Family Industry Engineering profession Clients or consumers Law,Government and Public agencies conflict What Do We Mean by Technology? What Is Technology? The Oxford Dictionary of the English Language (OED) defines technology as, "a discourse or treatise on an art or arts: the scientific study of the practical or industrial arts." It's roots come from the Greek language that combines "systematic treatment" with "art or craft." Technology (Continued) technology can be defined as: "the application of organized knowledge to practical tasks by ordered systems of people and machines." Ian Barbour Technology (Continued) "Organized knowledge" includes practical experience, invention and scientific theories. "Practical tasks" include both the production of material goods and the provision of services, i.e. the products. "Application by ordered systems of people and machines" refer to the process of engineering and the tools engineers (and others) use. What Is Science? Protocol of methodologies for the discovery of "fact" through measurement, peer review, public validation and debate, and by replication by others of the same experiments (Scientific Method). It seems to be the best "fact-finding" technique developed by humans. What Do We Mean by Society? How do we draw boundaries? Who says what the boundaries are? Are we concerned with local or global impacts? Inter-generational impacts? Multi-stakeholder versus individual? Who is the public? Who represents the public? Where Do Ethical Issues Arise? Genetically Modified Organisms and Transgenic Plants in Agriculture. Global Warming. High-level Radioactive Waste Disposal. Stem Cell Research and Cloning. Privacy Issues on the Internet. WHY STUDY ENGINEERING ETHICS? Engineering ethics should be studied because it is important, both in preventing grave consequences of faulty ethical reasoning and in giving meaning to engineers' endeavors, but it is complex. It cannot be understood through casual observation. The direct aim is to increase the ability to deal effectively with moral complexity in engineering. It also aim to empowering individuals to reason more clearly and carefully concerning moral questions, rather than inculcate any particular beliefs. The unifying goal is to increase moral autonomy. WHY STUDY ENGINEERING ETHICS? WHY STUDY ENGINEERING ETHICS? Autonomy literally means "selfdetermining" or "independent". Moral autonomy can be viewed as the skill and habit of thinking rationally about ethical issues on the basis of moral concern Improving the ability to reflect carefully on moral issues can be accomplished by improving various practical skill that will help to produce autonomous thought about moral issues These skills include the following: 1. Proficiency in recognizing moral problems and issues in engineering 2. Skill in comprehending, clarifying, and assessing critically arguments on opposing sides of moral issues Moral issues can be accomplished by improving various practical skill 3. The ability to form consistent comprehensive viewpoints based considerations of relevant facts. and on 4. Imaginative awareness of alternative responses to the issues and receptivity to creative solutions for practical difficulties. 5. Increased precision in the use of a common ethical language, a skill needed to express and support one's moral views adequately to others. Moral issues can be accomplished by improving various practical skill 6- Sensitivity to genuine difficulties. 7- An awakened sense of the importance of integrating one's professional life and personal convictions. 8- Enriched appreciation of both the possibilities of using rational dialogue in solving moral conflicts and the need of tolerance of differences in perspective among morally reasonable people. With respect to each of the following topics, (a) State what you see as any moral dilemmas (situations where two or more moral reasons conflict); (b) Identify any factual inquiries you think might be needed in making a reliable judgment about the case (c) Identify any ideas or concepts involved in dealing with the moral issues that it would be useful to clarify (d) Present and defend your view about how best to resolve the moral issues Steps in Confronting Moral Dilemmas A- Identify the relevant moral factors and reasons B- Gather all available facts that are pertinent to the moral factors involved C- Gather all available facts that are pertinent to the moral factors involved D- Rank the moral considerations in order of importance as they apply to the situation. E- Consider alternative courses of action as ways of resolving the dilemma, tracing the full implications of each F- Talk with colleagues/friends, seeking their suggestions and alternative perspectives on the dilemma. G- Arrive at a carefully reasoned judgment by weighing all the relevant moral factors and reasons in light of the facts Moral Responsibility Moral judgments are involved whenever moral responsibility is ascribed to individuals or corporations, but judgments may be various types. They might ascribe; 1. A virtue (good quality, good worth, desirable quality) 2. Obligations 3. General moral capacities 4. Liabilities and accountability for actions 5. Blameworthiness or praiseworthiness There are two other concepts of responsibility that should not be confused with moral responsibility in any of its five preceding. Causal responsibility consists simply in being a cause of some event. People can be causally responsible for an event without necessarily being morally responsible for it. Legal responsibility should also be distinguished from moral responsibility. An engineer or engineering firm can be held legally responsible for harm that was so unlikely and unforeseeable that little or no moral responsibility is involved. France accident WHAT IS A PROFESSION? In general term, a profession is any occupation that provides means to earn a living. In deeper sense, a profession involves: 1. Advanced Expertise. Professions require sophisticated skills and theoretical knowledge in exercising judgment 2. Self-Regulation. Well established societies of professionals are allowed by the public to play major role in setting standards for admission to the profession, drafting codes of ethics, enforcing standards of conduct, and representing the profession before the public and government. 3. Public Good. The occupation serves some important aspect of public good. E.g. engineering toward technological solutions to problems concerning the public's well-being, safety, and health. ROLES OF CODES OF ETHICS Professional codes of ethics consist primarily of principles of responsibility that delineate how to promote the public good. The codes provide guidance and support for responsible engineer, establish shared minimum standards, and play additional important roles, Shared Standard Great diversity of moral views make it essential that profession establish explicit standards. Support Codes give positive support to those seeking to act ethically. Guidance Codes provide a positive stimulus for ethical conduct and helpful guidance concerning main obligations of engineers. Inspiration Codes also provide stimulus (motivation) for ethical conduct. Education and Mutual Understanding Codes can be used by professional societies and in the classroom to prompt discussion and reflection on moral issues. Deterrence and Discipline Codes can also serve as the formal basis for investigating unethical conduct. Contributing to the Profession's Image Codes can present a positive image to the public of an ethically committed profession. ABUSE OF CODES When codes are not taken seriously within a profession, it will increase public cynicism about the profession. One of the worst abuse of engineering codes can occur when honest moral effort on the part of individual engineers is restricted by an attempt to preserve the profession's public image and protect the status quo. LIMITATION OF CODES Codes are no substitute for individual responsibility in grappling with concrete dilemma. Most codes are restricted to general wording and contain substantial areas of vagueness. They may not be able to straightforwardly address all situations. An Ethical Corporate Climate An ethical climate is a working environment conducive to morally responsible conduct. Within corporations, it is produced by a combination of formal organization and policies, informal traditions and practices, and personal attitudes and commitments. What are the defining features of an ethical corporate climate? There are at least 4 features: a) Ethical values must be widely acknowledged and appreciated by mangers and employees alike. Responsibilities to all constituencies of the corporation are affirmed not only to stockholders, but also to customers, employees of the corporation. The use of ethical language is applied and recognized as a legitimate part of corporate dialogue, e.g. include a statement of ethical responsibilities in job descriptions of all layers of management. Top management must set amoral tone, in words, in policies, and by personal example. Procedures for conflict resolution. b) c) d) Social Responsibility Movement has raised sensitivity within companies concerning product quality and the well being of workers, wider community, and the environment. "Our customers are not the people buying cars, but the people buying our stock". -Attributed to Lee Iacocca OIQ CODE On WebCt link to OIQ web Site is given where you can find the CODE of Engineering defined by OIQ Reference This presentation is put together from, course books , other presentations as well as various websites in the forms of text, photos, audio and video clips. All the references will be given in the general reference section on the Web Ct END ...
View Full Document

Ask a homework question - tutors are online