Engineering Ethics Essay

1653 Words 7 Pages
In this essay I shall consider whether the primary goal of a course on engineering should be to teach students the standards of professional conduct as set out by major engineering codes of ethics, or if they should think autonomously about moral issues. The speaker in the essay question suggest that the former argument is correct, and that engineering courses should have the goal of teaching students to master the standards set out by codes of ethics as following these is what engineering ethics consists of. This means that students should be taught that instead of making their own decisions about moral issues, they are to follow the guidelines set out for them by engineering institutions. Many agree with this philosophy, for example …show more content…
These are all reasons that students should master the standards of professional conduct as set out by the major codes of ethics, as they all show engineers how to conduct their work in a way that is deemed to be responsible and moral. If engineers were left to think autonomously then it is likely that each engineer will have their own set of codes that they decide to follow and hence there will be a lack of consistency among the profession. This may lead to a worsening of the public’s view of the profession and also without a major engineering institution setting the codes, the way engineers operate may not change to meet the ever-increasing challenges in the rapidly changing world. Throughout engineering history there have been many events that back up the argument posed in this essay, in which engineers have taken decisions into their own hands, where the profession’s code of ethics would have prevented them doing so. An example of this is the engineers that designed the Ford Pinto 1997. This car was found to have a flaw during testing, in which the fuel tank would rupture in a crash above 25mph [3] and at the same time the front doors would usually jam shut. Although in every test run above 25mph the fuel tank ruptured the engineers decided that the cost of the fix was far greater than what they would have to pay out in compensation for accidents. In this case the engineers decided not to follow the guidelines set out in nearly all of the major
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