Engineering Ethics of Titanic Sinking Essay

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Steven Miller
Phl 3221
Professor Tapp

Utilitarianism Look at the Titanic
When engineers design a product many things go in to the decision making process when it comes to selecting materials, design, and the manufacturing processes. One concern that has always been in the decision making process is trying to make sure the outcome will always be ethically good, although this isn’t always the case. Try as they might, no person is perfect, and accidents do happen. When engineering disasters happen there are many factors that may be involved, such as human factors, design flaws, extreme conditions, and materials failures. When these things do happen it is important to look at the ethical aspect of each part of the failure and
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Jeremy Bentham created an algorithm to determine the degree or amount of pleasure that a specific action is likely to cause. He called this Hedonic Calculus and it was divided into seven different categories. Bentham based this calculation off of intensity, or the strength of the pleasure, duration or how long the pleasure will last, certainty or how likely it is pleasure will occur, propinquity or how soon the pleasure will occur, fecundity or the likeliness it will be followed by pleasures, purity or probability that feelings of the opposite will occur, and extent or how many people will be affected. I will try to put some of the major failures of the Titanic in to these categories to determine the ethical standing of the engineers responsible for the Titanic. When analyzing this disaster the first thing to consider is the engineer’s design of the Titanic. The Titanic was employing many new and innovative designs that were believed to make the Titanic the safest ship ever built at that time. The engineer’s of the vessel made claims that the Titanic was “unsinkable” and that “even in the worst possible accident at sea, the ship should have stayed afloat for two to three days.” One of the features that lead them to this claim was the 16 watertight compartments in the hull of the ship. The way they were designed allowed for up to four compartments to be breached and they ship would still carry
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