PHL 316: Engineering Ethics
Winter Term, 2004
Daily course schedule
Unit 2: Professional identity and formal codes of ethics (Feb.12 - Feb.26)
This unit studies the distinctive ethical character of occupations that are regarded as professions. We will discuss whether engineering work should normally count as a profession and whether professionals have special kinds of ethical obligations. We will also survey some formal codes of engineering ethics and assess some of their strengths and weaknesses. We will consider how formal codes of ethics could be important for moral reasoning and professional identity.
Th Feb 12
Ethics and design. Introduction to the history of professionalism in engineering. Read: Whitbeck, Ch.1 (pp.53-73). [Mon, Feb. 16, 4:30 p.m., Sears Recital Hall: panel discussion by Bro. Ray Fitz and Dr. Bob Bolz on engineering and the humanities]
Tu Feb 17
More on engineering as a profession. Crises in professional identity? Read: William May, "The Beleaguered Rulers" (handout); Whitbeck, pp.74-93. Optional: Paul Busch, "Time for Another Look at Conflict-of-Interest" (click here). Group project assignment posted.
Th Feb 19
Codes of engineering ethics. Read: Whitbeck, pp.93-107; read NSPE code and at least one other ethics code from Case Western's Online Ethics Center (click here) or IIT's Codes of Ethics Online (click here). PowerPoint slides on definition of profession (click here).
Tu Feb 24
More discussion of codes of engineering ethics. Some criticisms of formal ethics codes. Read: John Ladd, "The Quest for a Code of Professional Ethics" (handout). List of members for group research project due in class.
Th Feb 26
Defending ethics codes through the fairness principle. Read: Michael Davis, "Thinking Like an Engineer" (click here). PowerPoint slides on Davis's argument (click here).
Go to Unit 3 schedule
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