The application of ethics to engineering and the engineer's moral responsibility: Perspectives for a research agenda

Science and Engineering Ethics 7 (3):415-428 (2001)
Abstract
There are different possibilities for defining the areas for the application of ethics to engineering. They range from descriptive analysis of engineers’ relationship to moral criteria and extend to normative issues on how engineers should design more “sustainable” technology. In this paper, a frame of reference is proposed, which makes it possible to elaborate in a transparent manner goals for analysis of the scope of ethics in engineering. Its point of departure is marked by two questions: 1) which types of situation in the practice of engineering require ethical reflection? and 2) to what extent are engineers expected to assume moral responsibility in the practice of their profession? The answers to both of these questions presuppose reflection on the societal processes of setting definitions and of making ascriptions. Understanding these processes of societal “construction” of demands for ethical reflection in engineering and of engineers’ moral responsibilities should be an important objective of the analysis of ethics in engineering.
Keywords Research Agenda for Ethics in Engineering  Moral Conflicts in Engineering  Social Concerns in Technology Development  Concept of Responsibility
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    Ibo Poel (2001). Investigating Ethical Issues in Engineering Design. Science and Engineering Ethics 7 (3):429-446.
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