Future directions in engineering ethics research: Microethics, macroethics and the role of professional societies

Science and Engineering Ethics 7 (3):403-414 (2001)
Abstract
Three frames of reference for engineering ethics are discussed—individual, professional and social—which can be further broken down into “microethics” concerned with individuals and the internal relations of the engineering profession and “macroethics” referring to the collective social responsibility of the engineering profession and to societal decisions about technology. Few attempts have been made at integrating microethical and macroethical approaches to engineering ethics. The approach suggested here is to focus on the role of professional engineering societies in linking individual and professional ethics and in linking professional and social ethics. A research program is outlined using ethics support as an example of the former, and the issuance of position statements on product liability as an example of the latter.
Keywords ethics support  macroethics  product liability  professional societies  public policy  research on engineering ethics
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