Ethics, Technology and Engineering
Descripción del Curso
There is an increasing attention to ethics in engineering practice. Engineers are supposed not only to carry out their work competently and skilfully, but also to be aware of the broader ethical and social implications of engineering and to be able to reflect on these. According to the Engineering Criteria 2000 of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in the US, engineers must have “an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility” and should "understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.”
This course provides an introduction to ethics in engineering and technology. It helps engineers and students in engineering to acquire the competences mentioned in the ABET criteria or comparable criteria formulated in other countries. More specifically, this course helps engineers to acquire the following moral competencies:
- Moral sensibility: the ability to recognize social and ethical issues in engineering;
- Moral analysis skills: the ability to analyse moral problems in terms of facts, values, stakeholders and their interests;
- Moral creativity: the ability to think out different options for action in the light of (conflicting) moral values and the relevant facts;
- Moral judgement skills: the ability to give a moral judgement on the basis of different ethical theories or frameworks including professional ethics and common sense morality;
- Moral decision-making skills: the ability to reflect on different ethical theories and frameworks and to make a decision based on that reflection.
With respect to these competencies, our focus is on the concrete moral problems that engineers encounter in their professional practice. With the help of concrete cases is shown how the decision to develop a technology, as well as the process of design and production, is inherently moral. The attention of the learners is drawn towards the specific moral choices that engineers face. In relation to these concrete choices learners will encounter different reasons for and against certain actions, and they will discover that these reasons can be discussed. In this way, learners become aware of the moral dimensions of technology and acquire the argumentative capacities that are needed in moral debates with stakeholders (e.g. governments, users, and commercial business departments).
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