Ethics is the study of the characteristics of morals, and involves the moral choices made by individuals as they interact with other persons. Engineers need to be aware of ethics, They make choices during their professional practice of engineering. Engineering ethics will be defined as the rules and standards governing the conduct of engineers in their roles as professionals.
Ethics are a system of moral principles and a branch of philosophy which defines what is good for individuals and society. At its simplest, the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles. They affect how people make decisions and lead their lives. Means, “Ethics has to do with what my feelings tell me is right or wrong.”
Engineers need to be aware of ethics as They make choices during their professional practice of engineering. Engineering ethics is the field of applied ethics will be defined as the rules and standards governing the conduct of engineers in their roles as professionals.
Most of engineering educational institutions include discussion of ethics in their Curriculum. In fact the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) has compulsory that engineering educational programs include ethics in their undergraduate curriculum. Some institutions require a specific course in engineering ethics, others require their students to take a Humanities course (such as Philosophy) on ethics and morals.
It is important for engineering students to study engineering ethics so that they will be prepared to make (sometimes difficult) ethical decisions during their professional careers. As you read this Page you will note that many case studies in engineering ethics do not have a single clear-cut correct answer, But may have many correct solutions,
where some solutions are better than others. So, ethical problems can be similar to open-ended engineering design problems, where multiple solutions exist.
We are providing you introduction to engineering ethics and includes;
1) Fostering an increased awareness of ethical behaviour,
2) Codes of ethics for professional engineers,
3) Engineering case studies of Engineers profession that illustrate ethical (or unethical) decisions.
The Engineering Profession
Engineering is an important and learned profession. As members of this profession, engineers are expected to exhibit the highest standards of honesty and integrity. Engineering has a direct and vital impact on the quality of life for all people. Accordingly, the services provided by engineers require honesty, impartiality, fairness, and equity, and must be dedicated to the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare. Engineers must perform under a standard of professional behaviour that requires adherence to the highest principles of ethical conduct.
Engineering practice can be defined as a “profession,” as opposed to an
“occupation” or “job.” A profession has the following Virtues:
- Work requires sophisticated skills, judgement, and exercise of prudence.
- Membership in the profession requires formal education.
- Special societies (controlled by members of the profession) establish Standards for admission into the profession and conduct of its members.
- Significant positive public service results from the practice of the Profession.
Law and medicine are professions, and their practices are regulated by strong societies such as the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Bar Association (ABA). Similarly, Engineering is a profession, but differs from law and medicine in the following ways:
- Most engineers are not self-employed, but work for large companies.
- Education is different: only a BS degree is required to practice engineering.
- Engineering societies are not as powerful as the AMA or ABA, since BS degree holders can practice engineering without a Professional License.