Notes_CHAPTER_05_ethics_rev_2009-02

Notes_CHAPTER_05_ethics_rev_2009-02 - CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY...

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Rev. 2009-02 © Concordia University, 2003 CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF ENGINEERING AND COMPUTER SCIENCE ENGR 201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY PROFESSOR : REMI ALAURENT, ENG. CHAPTER 05 ETHICS, DEONTOLOGY AND DECISION MAKING 1. Ethical behaviour page 1 2. Obedience page 8 3. Decision making page 11 TOPIC 1 : ETHICAL BEHAVIOUR Ethical behaviour Ethical theories : definition An ethical theory attempts to provide a clear and comprehensive perspective on morality and moral responsibilities that expresses our reasoned convictions, identifies what is morally fundamental and provides a framework for resolving moral dilemmas. Ethical theories are often classified into main trends :
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ENGR201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY CHAPTER 05 PAGE 2 OF 13 © Concordia University 2003 Mill's Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) Utilitarianism states the best choice in a moral dilemma is the one that produces the greatest benefit for the greatest number of people, with the benefit most equally divided among those people. Universal happiness is the ultimate good. However, it allows for rules to be broken if doing so will produce the most "good". It also seems to be insensitive to the needs of individuals. And its implementation largely depends on determining what will lead to the most good, which is problematic because it is frequently impossible to know exactly and in advance what the consequences of an action will be. The duration, intensity and equality of distribution should be considered : another difficulty lies in quantitatively calculating the "maximum benefit". It is an easily understood theory. An example : income tax and the redistribution of wealth and services; a waste treatment facility. The most common justification for modern engineering ethics and for decision making in modern "democratic" societies. Mill's utilitarianism is sometimes called act-utilitarianism. A variant is rule-utilitarianism, where moral rules are regarded as primary : we should act according to the rules which, if generally followed, should provide the greatest benefit for the greatest number of people. Hence, the concept of moral codes. The difference ? Act-utilitarianism leaves it open to participate in doubtful schemes that may produce overall good, for example kickback schemes (or marijuana culture), that rule- utilitarianism condemns. Locke's Rights ethics John Locke (1632-1704) Rights ethics states that everyone has rights that arise from one's very existence as a human being Locke's statement that every man has the right to life, liberty and property was echoed in the Declaration of Independence of what was to become the United States of America (1776); it also influenced the French Revolution (1789) and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982).
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ENGR201 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY CHAPTER 05 PAGE 3 OF 13 © Concordia University 2003 This theory provides the foundation of many modern democracies.
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