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Engineering Ethics Course (Engr/Phil 482)

In our common everyday usage the word “ethics” (or “ethical”) refers to moral norms of behavior of a person or a group. By moral we mean what is right or wrong. In an academic or a scholarly context “Ethics” also refers to a field of academic inquiry that focuses on systematic study of the theories of moral good and their application to various theoretical and practical problems. Following from this “Engineering Ethics,” refers to a specialized field of inquiry that focuses on behavioral practices in engineering. Due to the complexity and diversity of both Engineering and Ethics as academic disciplines there are many potential ways to approach issues that lie at the intersection of both. In this course we will approach ethical issues in the engineering profession with an eye on developing students’ ability to understand, critically evaluate and highlight the many linkages between engineering and its moral/ social implications. A secondary but parallel focus of the course will be on analyzing the Engineering profession in an international context. This course aims to develop techniques of moral analysis and their application to ethical problems encountered by engineers, such as professional employee rights and whistle blowing; environmental issues; ethical aspects of safety, risk and liability and conflicts of interest; emphasis on developing the capacity for independent ethical analysis of real and hypothetical cases.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course students:

  • Know some common methods for analyzing and resolving ethical problems;

  • Develop the capacity to think analytically, critically, and creatively about ethical and professional issues in engineering and technology;

  • Know some of the classic cases in engineering ethics and some of the typical ethical and professional issues that arise in engineering;

  • Know the NSPE code and the code of their own professional society and the professional societies and organizations in engineering;

  • Improve skills in effective communication, both oral and written, especially with regard to ethical and professional issues in engineering; and

  • Develop ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams.

Topics Included
  • Introduction to Engineering Ethics

  • Modern Moral Thought: Concepts & Issues

  • Engineering Organizations in Qatar and the US

  • Social Context and the Professions

  • The Engineer and Society

  • Moral Responsibility of Engineers (codes of ethics)

  • Technology and Society

  • Fiduciary Relationships: Conflicts of Interest

  • Fiduciary Relationships: Employee-Employer

  • Fiduciary Relationships: Gender Issues

  • The Engineer's Responsibility for Safety

  • Engineers and the Environment

  • Tools and Methods of Case Study Analysis

  • Cases in Engineering Ethics

For more details on the course please click here
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