Why study engineering ethics and moral dilemmas


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Why study engineering ethics and moral dilemmas

  3. 3. INTRODUCTION • What is Ethics? – Ethics is the study of the characteristics of morals. – Ethics also deals with the moral choices that are made by each person in his or her relationship with other persons. • Engineering ethics is the rules and standards governing the conduct of engineers in their role as professionals. • It encompasses the more general definition of ethics, but applies it more specifically to situations involving engineers in their professional lives.
  4. 4. ETHICS • Study of human morality • Determining values in human conduct • Deciding the “right thing to do” - based upon a set of norms • In Engineering: – dealing with colleagues – dealing with clients – dealing with employees – dealing with “users’ – dealing with public
  5. 5. WHY FOCUS ON ETHICS?  Make decisions – make the right choice  Take action – do the right thing  Personal integrity and self-respect  Element of professional reputation  HIGH ETHICS -> HIGH PROFITS
  6. 6. ENGINEERING ETHICS • Engineering ethics is the study of moral values, issues and decisions involved in engineering practice. • The moral values take many forms, including responsibilities ideal character traits social policies relationships desirable for individuals corporation engaged in technological development.
  7. 7. ENGINEERING ETHICS • Teaching engineering ethics can achieve at least four desirable outcomes:  increased ethical sensitivity  increased knowledge of relevant standards of conduct  improved ethical judgment  improved ethical will-power (i.e., a greater ability to act ethically when one wants to).
  9. 9. ENGINEERING AS AN ETHICAL PROFESSION • What is a Profession? – special expertise – shared moral values – dependent public – self-regulation – promote and protect right actions • The responsibility to be ethical • The right to be ethical • Values embedded in technology
  10. 10. Why Ethics? • Integral part of the success of your career • Integrity can be our most valuable asset, – Leads to trust in work relationships – Frees them from controls necessary when trust doesn’t exist
  11. 11. SO WHY BOTHER WITH ETHICS?? • Special knowledge • Involved in decision-making “Practicing engineers are more apt to get into trouble as a result of a failure to properly anticipate and handle ethical problems rather than as a result of a traditional engineering problems!”
  12. 12. RESULT OF ETHICAL EQUATIONS ETHICAL BEHAVIORETHICAL BEHAVIOR UNETHICAL BEHAVIORUNETHICAL BEHAVIOR Quality products Conservation of resources Pride in work Public safety Timeliness GOOD BUSINESS Shoddy products Waste, fraud, greed Abuse of expertise Guilt, fear Lack of safety Cutting corners -poor design -rushed testing DISASTERS!
  13. 13. ETHICAL ISSUED FACED BY ENGINEERS  Public Safety  Bribery and Fraud  Environmental Protection  Fairness  Honesty in Research and Testing  Conflicts of Interest
  14. 14. 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.
  15. 15. WHY STUDY ENGINEERING ETHICS? • Increased awareness of importance due to publicity surrounding high profile engineering failures. • Engineering decisions can impact public health, safety, business practices and politics. • Engineers should be aware of moral implications as they make decisions in the workplace.
  16. 16. WHY STUDY ENGINEERING ETHICS? • Study of ethics helps engineers develop a moral autonomy. • Ability to think critically and independently about moral issues. • Ability to apply this moral thinking to situations that arise in the course of professional engineering practice.
  18. 18. Moral dilemmas • A situation in which, whatever choice is made, the agent commits a moral wrong. 1. Something morally right 2. Something morally wrong Bad outcome Good or better outcome
  19. 19. Moral Dilemma A woman was near death from a unique kind of cancer. There is a drug that might save her. The drug costs $4,000 per dosage. The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money and tried every legal means, but he could only get together about $2,000. He asked the doctor scientist who discovered the drug for a discount or that he let him pay later. But the doctor scientist refused.
  20. 20. Moral Dilemma Should Heinz break into the laboratory to steal the drug for his wife? (Why or why not?)
  21. 21. Moral Stages • Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-87)
  22. 22. Kohlberg Kohlberg proposed that moral reasoning, which he thought to be the basis for ethical behavior, develops through stages.
  23. 23. Moral Stages Level 1: PRE-CONVENTIONAL Level 2: CONVENTIONAL Level 3: POST-CONVENTIONAL
  24. 24. Kohlberg’s Stages Level 1 (Pre-conventional) Reasoners judge the morality of an action by its direct consequences Stage One: Obedience and Punishment Stage Two: Individualism, Instrumentalism, and Exchange
  25. 25. Heinz Dilemma Stage One (obedience): Heinz should not steal the medicine, because otherwise he will be put in prison.
  26. 26. Pre-conventional level Stage One (obedience orientation) Individuals focus on the direct consequences that their actions will have for themselves.
  27. 27. Heinz Moral Dilemma • Pre-conventional Level Stage Two (self-interest): Heinz should steal the medicine, because he will be much happier if he saves his wife, even if he will have to serve a prison sentence.
  28. 28. Kohlberg’s Stages Stage Two (self-interest orientation): what's in it for me position. Right behavior is defined by what is in one's own best interest.
  29. 29. Socrates’ Dilemma From a level two perspective, Socrates should not die because…
  30. 30. Kohlberg’s Stages Level 2 (Conventional) People who reason in a conventional way judge the morality of actions by comparing these actions to social rules and expectations. Stage Three: Interpersonal Concordance ("Good boy/girl") Stage Four: Law and Order
  31. 31. Heinz Moral Dilemma CONVENTIONAL LEVEL • Stage Three (conformity): Heinz should steal the medicine, because his wife expects it.
  32. 32. Conventional level Stage Three (conformity orientation) Individuals seek approval from other people. They judge the morality of actions by evaluating the consequences of these actions for a person's relationships.
  33. 33. Socrates Dilemma • Socrates should die because…
  34. 34. Conventional level Stage Four (law-and-order mentality). In stage four, individuals think it is important to obey the law and conventions of society.
  35. 35. Kohlberg’s Stages Level 3 (Post-conventional) (Most people do not reach this level of moral reasoning) • Stage Five: Human Rights • Stage Six: Universal Ethical Principles (Principled Conscience)
  37. 37. MORAL DILEMMA • Moral dilemmas often test our character and our commitment to the greatest good for the greatest number of people. • Some moral dilemmas are simply complicated decisions which must be thoroughly evaluated before choosing a course of action. • Other choices are genuine moral dilemmas which challenge our ability to makes fair and just choices.
  38. 38. MORAL DILEMMA • Some people have hypothetical minds that like to debate what is right and wrong. • Sometimes, however, what is right and wrong is not so clear, as is the case in a moral dilemma.
  39. 39. LONG,SHORT TERM CONSEQUENCES • Moral dilemmas can also be evaluated on the basis of their short-term and long-term consequences. • If short-term consequences are overshadowed by long-term benefits, then moral dilemma can find its ethical solution by pursuing an outcome which obtains the greatest long-term benefit for the greatest number of people.
  40. 40. Should you always tell the truth? • A murderer at the door is looking for your friend who is hiding in your house. • Your co-worker is cheating on her time-sheet. • You witness a parking-lot accident.
  41. 41. Should you take this job? • You are offered a job that will require you to do things that you find morally questionable. – If you don’t take it, someone else will. – Maybe you can work for good from the inside. – With the money you can take care of your family and even give back to charities
  42. 42. MORAL DILEMMA SCENARIOS Debt to your Friend • What would you do? • There is a train that, is about to run over your own son, who has been tied to its track. • It just so happens that you have only enough time to pull a lever which will send the train down an alternate track saving your son. • However, you see that, tied to the other track, is your best friend, who recently saved your life and you have yet to repay him for doing so.
  43. 43. SCENARIOS • Friendship • Right or wrong? • You have the responsibility of filling a position in his firm. Your friend Paul has applied and is qualified, but someone else seems even more qualified. You wants to give the job to Paul, but you feels guilty, believing that you ought to be impartial. • You gives the job to Paul. Was he right?
  44. 44. How to Respond to an Ethical Dilemma • Assess the situation. – Responding to an ethical dilemma requires that you are able to, in a sense, step back from the situation and properly look at the situation as a whole. – You need to understand who is affected by the dilemma aside from yourself, what potential decisions could be made and what the outcomes of those decisions might be for all those involved. – By gaining a wider perspective of the problem as a whole, you will be more informed and able to make a decision that is perhaps justifiable based on your assessment of the circumstances.
  45. 45. How to Handle MORAL Dilemmas • Discuss the issues with a trusted friend or colleague. Understand that listening to an additional opinion can provide more insight. It can also help you focus on issues that you may have overlooked. • Spend time thinking about the appropriate decision to make. Avoid thinking about your decision in terms of “right” or “wrong,” as this can make it easier to be trapped in your own thoughts.
  46. 46. RESOLVING AN MORAL DILEMMA • Step 1: Identify the Problem • Step 2: Identify the Potential Issues Involved • Step 3: Evaluate Potential Courses of Action • Step 4: Obtain Consultation • Step 5:Determine the Best Course of Action
  47. 47. Step 1: Identify the Problem • Gather as much relevant information as possible. • Talk to the parties involved. • Clarify if the problem is legal, moral, ethical or a combination.
  48. 48. Step 2: Identify the Potential Issues Involved • List and describe the critical issues. • Evaluate the rights, responsibilities and welfare of those affected by the decision. • Consider basic moral principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice. • Identify any competing principles. • Ascertain the potential dangers to the individuals, department or college.
  49. 49. Step 3: Evaluate Potential Courses of Action • Brainstorm ideas. • Enumerate the outcomes of various decisions. • Consider the consequences of inaction.
  50. 50. Step 4: Obtain Consultation • Colleagues or a supervisor can add an outside perspective. • It’s a serious warning sign if you don’t want to talk to another person about actions you are contemplating. • You must be able to justify a course of action based on sound reasoning which you can test out in the consultation.
  51. 51. Step 5:Determine the Best Course of Action • Map out the best way to resolve the problem (e.g., who should be contacted first if multiple parties are involved? Do you need outside support? Do you need to talk to a supervisor?). • Then consider who, if anyone, should know about the problem (such as a work supervisor, friend, administrator or colleague).
  52. 52. SOLVING THE DILEMMAS IN STUDENTS LIFE • There is only one way to solve the moral dilemma and that is opting for one of the situations. • Parents and teachers play a major role in this task of solving dilemmas for students. • Though they cannot be there with children everywhere, they must mentally prepare their children to face such situations. • It is important to note that younger children base their moral judgments on consequences and not on the motive behind the act.
  53. 53. SOLVING THE DILEMMAS IN STUDENTS LIFE • This happens because many of the parents just explain what is wrong but not why a certain thing is wrong. • Explaining this helps children analyze the situation better and solve the moral dilemma effectively. Always appreciate the positive behavior of your children without any conditions.
  54. 54. SOLVING THE DILEMMAS IN STUDENTS LIFE • For example, If your child is studying hard, appreciate it but do not say that you will reward his hard work only if he gets good marks. An overall good child development process prepares students to face various moral dilemmas in their school life. • It helps them cope with stressful events with ease and stay content without losing mental peace.