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Introduction to Engineering Ethics – 2 Engineering Ethics


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Title: Introduction to Engineering Ethics – 2 Engineering Ethics

Introduction to EngineeringEthics
2Engineering Ethics
  • Agenda
  • Review Ethics I
  • Introduce resources for ethical decisions in
  • References
  • Challenger Hand-Out
  • NSPE Code of Ethics
  • NSPE Cases Handout
  • Martin and Schinzinger Code of Ethics
    Introduction to Engineering Ethics, p. 1 22.

Defining Ethics and Engineering Ethics
  • Ethics - synonyms for morally correct or
    justified - set of justified moral principles of
    obligation, rights, and ideals
  • Ethics - particular beliefs or attitudes
    concerning morality
  • Ethics - area of study or inquiry an activity
    of understanding moral values, resolving moral
    issues, and justifying moral judgments

Engineering Ethics
  • The study of the moral values, issues, and
    decisions involved in engineering practice. The
    moral values take on forms including
    responsibilities, ideals, character traits,
    social policies, and relationships desirable from
    individuals and corporations engaged in

Ethics and Practicing Engineering
Engineering Firm
Engineer Manager Colleagues
Global Environment
Engineering Profession
Clients or Consumers
Law, Government Public
Engineering Code of Ethics
  • Some professional organizations have addressed
    the complexity of moral issues in their fields by
    developing codes of ethics
  • Professional codes of ethics consist primarily of
    principles of responsibility that delineate how
    to promote the public good.

Roles of Codes
  • Shared Standards
  • Positive Support to Act Ethically
  • Guidance Concerning Obligations
  • Motivation
  • Education
  • Deterrence and Discipline
  • Professional Image

NSPE Code of Ethics for Engineers
  • Preamble
  • I. Fundamental Canons
  • II. Rules of Practice
  • III. Professional Obligations

Fundamental Canon Engineers, in the fulfillment
of their professional duties, shall
  • 1. Hold paramount the safety, health and welfare
    of the public.
  • 2. Perform services only in areas of their
  • 3. Issue public statements only in an objective
    and truthful manner.
  • 4. Act for each employer or client as faithful
    agents or trustees.
  • 5. Avoid deceptive acts.
  • 6. Conduct themselves honorably, responsibly,
    ethically, and lawfully so as to enhance the
    honor, reputation, and usefulness of the

ExampleThe Challenger Explosion
  • Mission 51-L
  • NASAJanuary 28, 1986

  • The skies were clear and the sun shone on the
    cold freezing morning of January 28, 1986.
    Kennedy Space Center in Florida was busy
    preparing the launch of the 25th space shuttle
    into space. Mission 51-L, the 10th flight of
    Orbiter Challenger. This was one of the most
    publicized launches because it was the first time
    that a civilian, a school teacher, was going into
    space. The launch of Challenger had been delayed
    five times due to bad weather, January 28 was the
    coldest day that NASA had ever launched a
    shuttle. The time had come, at 1138 AM Eastern
    Standard Time, Challenger left Pad 39B at
    Kennedy. Seventy three seconds into flight, the
    Orbiter Challenger exploded, killing all seven of
    its crew.

The Explosion
CNN Online Archive
3 Seconds
CBS News.Com Interactive Challenger Disaster
59 Seconds
CBS News.Com Interactive Challenger Disaster
64.7 Seconds
CBS News.Com Interactive Challenger Disaster
Report of the Presidential Commission on the
Space Shuttle Challenger Accident(In compliance
with Executive Order 12546 of February 3, 1986)
  • In view of the findings, the Commission
    concluded that the cause of the Challenger
    accident was the failure of the pressure seal in
    the aft field joint of the right Solid Rocket
    Booster. The failure was due to a faulty design
    unacceptably sensitive to a number of factors.
    These factors were the effects of temperature,
    physical dimensions, the character of materials,
    the effects of reusability, processing and the
    reaction of the joint to dynamic loading.
  • (Source The Presidential Commission on the Space
    Shuttle Challenger Accident Report, June 6, 1986
    p.40, p.70-81)

Solid Rocket Motor Joint
CBS News.Com Interactive Challenger Disaster
Discussion Points
  • Interested Parties
  • The section of the NSPE Code of Ethics that may
    be helpful
  • Consequences of potential actions
  • Obligations or correct action
  • Issues or points of conflict

Questions To Think About
  • How does the implied social contract of
    professionals apply to this case?
  • What professional responsibilities were
    neglected, if any?
  • Should NASA have done anything differently in
    their launch decision procedure?

  • Defined ethics and engineering ethics
  • Tried one approach to developing a well-reasoned
    response to a moral dilemma
  • Introduced the NSPE Engineering Code of Ethics
  • Tried application of the Code of Ethics to
    engineering cases

Assignment Ethics Case Analysis
  • Using one of the case studies in your course
    packet (or another case from the NSPE website)
  • http//
  • Go to the website and read the full version of
    the NSPE case and discussion.

Assignment Ethics Case Analysis (Cont)
  • Do a short written report on the case that
  • Identifying the Case by number and title
  • Identifying the Issues and Points of Conflict
  • Listing the Interested Parties
  • List the main Code of Ethics References used by
  • List at least two available Actions and likely
  • State the NSPE Conclusion