Risk%20Safety%20Liability2010C0

O strong paternalism there is no reason to believe

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o Strong paternalism--there is no reason to believe the latter is not effectively exercising moral agency.
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o Commonly-accepted criterion for acceptable paternalism: o A fully rational person informed of the relevant facts would consent to intervention in this case o Paternalism often causes resentment. o Paternalism (weak) is permissible if protected person is not autonomous o but people will disagree over who is autonomous. Paternalism (cont’d)
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Summary o Be aware that experts tend to use a utilitarian approach and the lay public tends to use a respect-for-persons (RP) approach o Utilitarian and RP approaches each have their limitations o It is difficult to quantify risk o Peoples’ values differ regarding risk o Promote informed consent within your limits as an engineer
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For Guidance... People should be protected from the harmful effects of technology, especially when the harms are not consented to or when they are unjustly distributed, except that this protection must sometimes be balanced against (1) our need to preserve great and irreplaceable benefits and (2) the limitations on our ability to obtain informed consent.” Harris, et al.
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Summary (cont’d.) o Some technologies provide valuable and irreplaceable benefits, yet are inherently risky (e.g. automobiles) o Engineers should be paternalistic and protect the public from harmful impacts of technology if: o Consequences are severe o Consequences are unjustly distributed o Informed consent is not possible
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Liability
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An engineer’s ethical dilemma... o All engineering involves some risk. o Protecting the public from all risks is not in the public’s best interest. o We must protect the public from unacceptable risks. o We may be liable for injuries caused when we misjudge the risks, as well as when we make errors.
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Different Standards for Tort Law and Science... o Tort (injury) law uses different standards for risk and liability than we have been discussing so far. o An engineer might not feel confident that action A had caused result B without strong statistical evidence (ie., 95% confidence) o Tort law requires proof by a “preponderance” of evidence (ie., 51%)
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Recommendations... o Work conscientiously, diligently, and ethically; make sure your designs are consistent with best engineering practice. o Document your actions and decisions in a Daily Log. o Liability insurance is commonly purchased by design engineers. Costs can be high, depending on the work you do.
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Representative Costs for Liability Insurance Policies o Chemical Engineers (with PE designations, signatory authority, plant- scale involvement) o $1million coverage, $5000 deductible, premium=$900/yr o Architects/Engineers o $75million coverage, $15,000 deductible, premium=$10,000/yr o Data from survey by R. James in 2002
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