Engineering Ethics, though primarily individual even when it deals with duty to others, is faced with its most difficult problems when it comes to consider social groups. Wisdom as regards to the action of social groups requires the scientific study of human nature in society, if we are able to judge what is possible and what is impossible.
Why Codes of Engineering Ethics?
As with law, medicine, etc., engineering is a learned profession. As a profession, engineering constantly involves the exercise of expert judgment and discretion in the performance of services. Engineers are expected to use their education, training and experience which is concerned with the public health and safety. But where do engineers look for guidance in determining the most appropriate course of action to follow in the earlier cited cases? One possible source is the law.
Statutes, regulations, court decisions, etc. that certainly provide a basis to make certain decisions concerning conduct and behavior. However, the law does not address many issues concerning appropriate professional conduct. Another possible resource might be colleagues, family members or friends. While sometimes these sources might be extremely valuable as a sounding board, in some cases they might lack the necessary education and training to provide useful feedback or the feedback might be biased or prejudiced by some fact or circumstances.
For that reason, professional organizations such as the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), develop codes of ethics to assist engineers in making decisions in their every day practice and employment. Professional codes of ethics reflect basic “norms” of conduct that exist within a particular professional and provide general guidance relating to a variety or issues.
Except in the most basic circumstances, codes of ethics do not provide “answers” or solutions as such to ethical dilemmas faced by engineers, but they do provide guideposts, that can be helpful in assisting engineers in evaluating the circumstances they are encountering and providing possible approaches that may be taken while addressing the ethical issues involved.
What is “Engineering Ethics”?
- The systematic study of the rules and ideals of the Engineering Profession.
- Engineering Ethics is as important to good engineering practice as Mathematics, Physics, Designing, etc.
Only with these helpful ethical issues, engineers can have an understanding about what they can do and their limitations to improve their own working conditions. For this, they have to undergo a course on Engineering Ethics.
Engineering ethics is the issue that goes to the heart of engineering practice. It reflects the customs, habits, and values of engineering as a profession and reflects the time-tested experience, seasoning and training of practicing engineers.
In some senses, a code is a “timeline” for the profession because it mirrors the conventions, routines and patterns of the profession but shifts as those conventions, routines and patterns change.
- The study of the characteristics of morals
- The study of the moral choices made by each person in his or her relationships with other persons
Defining Engineering Ethics
Engineering Ethics for purpose of this discussion is the identification, study and resolution of ethical problems occurring in the practice of the profession of Engineering.
Engineering Ethics is a branch of a broader ethical concern involving the impact of technology on society.
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