III.C Johnson on Professional Ethics

III.C Johnson on Professional Ethics -...

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III. Special Responsibilities  n D. Special Duties toward Society
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Introductory Remarks: n Why we tend to be blind to our duties to society: 1. Microspecialization  In order to keep the boss happy, all you have to do  is focus on your individual tasks 2. Herd mentality: going along with everyone else In 1964, an attacker stalks bar manager Kitty Genovese  early in the morning. 38 of her neighbors hear her wild calls for help;  nobody interferes for fear of “getting involved,” the  neighbors watch from windows while Genovese is  stabbed to death
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3. Peasant mentality: as if authority figure always has better judgment  than you n Milgram Experiment,  Yale University, 1963 n 65% would max to 450 volts n “Stark authority was pitted against the subjects’ strongest  moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the  subjects’ ears ringing with the screams of the victims,  authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of  adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an  authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact  most urgently demanding explanation. . . .  Ordinary people,  simply doing their jobs . . . can become agents in a terrible  destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive  effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked  to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards  of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to  resist authority.”
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This is where  n Most people just do not have the character  to act courageously in these  circumstances n Psychologically much easier to simply go  along with the crowd or take orders from  above n That’s why it’s important to work on virtues  such as honesty and courage:
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Professional Responsibility of Engineers”   n How does the ethical professional decide  which projects to work on and which to  refuse? n
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III.C Johnson on Professional Ethics -...

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