Consensus means ‘agreement’ and ‘controversy’ means disagreement. The consensus and the controversies are playing the vital roles while considering the moral autonomy.
When an individual exercises the moral autonomy, he cannot get the same results as others get in applying moral autonomy. Surely there must be some moral differences i.e. the results or verdicts will be of controversy.
This kind of disagreements is unavoidable. These disagreements require some tolerance among individuals who are autonomous, reasonable and responsible.
As per the principle of tolerance, the goal of teaching engineering ethics is not merely producing an agreed conformity on applying moral principles among engineers but also to reveal the ways of promoting tolerance to apply moral autonomy.
Both the goals of engineering ethics and the goals of engineering courses have some similarities. These similarities have to be extended with the help of exercising authority.
For example, in the class room, the teachers are having the authority over students and in the work place, the managers are having the authority over engineers.
There are two general points regarding the relationship between autonomy and authority with reference to the class room :
Moral autonomy and respect for the authority cannot be differentiated or separated from each other. Moral autonomy is exercised on the basis of moral concern for other people and also recognition of good moral reasons.
Authority provides for the framework in which learning can take place.
It is based on the acceptance of authority by both the students and the professors. Without this acceptance, the classes cannot be conducted in a smooth way.
On the other hand, cheating will be encouraged and the trust between faculty and the students may be reduced to some extent. These kind of deviations are due to the absence of moral views and respect for authority. They must be coincide with each other.
Generally a tension may arise among the individuals regarding the need for consensus about authority and need for autonomy. This tension can be reduced by students and faculty discussing openly regarding a moral issue with the help of the authority.
In short, conflicts will arise between autonomy and authority, when the authority is misused. For example, in small classes, the students are having the authority to express their own views.
But when the professor doesn’t allow them to do so, he misuses his authority. This will create some moral problems between the students and the faculty.