--Your friends at LectureNotes

Note for Professional Ethics - PE by SHUBHAM KUMAR

  • Professional Ethics - PE
  • Note
  • Computer Science Engineering
  • B.Tech
  • 4 Topics
  • 10 Offline Downloads
  • Uploaded 11 months ago
0 User(s)
Download PDFOrder Printed Copy

Share it with your friends

Leave your Comments

Text from page-1

PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND CODE OF CONDUCT UNIT-1 SENSES OF ‘ENGINEERING ETHICS’ The word ethics has different meanings but they are correspondingly related to each other. In connection with that, Engineering ethics has also various senses which are related to one another. Comparison of the senses of Ethics and Engineering Ethics Ethics Engineering Ethics Ethics is an activity which concerns with making Like the ethics, engineering ethics also aims at investigations and knowing about moral values, knowing moral values related to engineering, finding solutions to moral issues and justifying finding accurate solutions to the moral problems in moral issues and justifying moral judgments. engineering and justifying moral judgments of engineering. Ethics is a means of contrasting moral questions Engineering Ethics gives a total view of the moral from non-moral problems problems and how to solve these issues specifically related to engineering field. Ethics is also used as a means of describing the Engineering ethics is also using some currently beliefs, attitudes and habits related to an accepted codes and standards which are to be individual‟s or group‟s morality. Eg. : Ethics given followed by group of engineers and engineering in the Bhagavat Gita or the Bible or the Quran. societies. As per the definition of dictionaries – „moral Engineering ethics also concerns with discovering principles‟ is about the actions and principles of moral principles such as obligation, rights and conduct of the people. i.e. ethical or unethical. ideals in engineering and by applying them to take a correct decision. From these senses of Engineering ethics, one can realize that it is the study of morality. What is morality? The term „morality‟ concerns with (a) what ought or ought not to be done in a given situation, (b) what is right or wrong in handling it, (c) what is good or bad about the persons, policies and principles involved in it. If an action is said to be morally right or a principle is said to be morally good, then they are said to be had some moral reasons in supporting it. Moral reasons include respecting others and ourselves, respecting the rights of others, keeping promises, avoiding unnecessary problems to others and avoiding cheating and dishonesty, showing gratitude to

Text from page-2

others and encourage them to work. So, if an engineering decision is said to be a good one, it has to meet out all the specifications. These specifications must be covered both the technical and the moral specifications such as safety of the product, reliability, easy maintenance and the product should be userfriendly with environment. VARIETY OF MORAL ISSUES There are so many engineering disasters which are greater / heavier than the level of acceptable or tolerable risk. Therefore, for finding and avoiding such cases such as nuclear plant accident at Chernobyl (Russia), Chemical plant at Bhopal (India) where a big disaster of gas leakage, occurred in 1980, which caused many fatal accidents. In the same way, oil spills from some oil extraction plants (the Exxon Valdez plant), hazardous waste, pollution and other related services, natural disasters like floods, earth quake and danger from using asbestos and plastics are some more cases for engineering disasters. These fields should be given awareness of engineering ethics. Hence, it is essential for engineers to get awareness on the above said disasters. They should also know the importance of the system of engineering. When malfunction of the system is a rapid one, the disaster will be in greater extent and can be noticed immediately. When they ate slow and unobserved, the impact is delayed. So, the engineers should not ignore about the functions of these systems. These cases also explain and make the engineers to be familiar with the outline of the case in future and also about their related ethical issues. Approaches to Engineering Ethics: i. Micro-Ethics: This approach stresses more about some typical and everyday problems which play an important role in the field of engineering and in the profession of an engineer. ii. Macro-Ethics: This approach deals with all the social problems which are unknown and suddenly burst out on a regional or national level. So, it is necessary for an engineer to pay attention on both the approaches by having a careful study of how they affect them professionally and personally. The engineers have to tolerate themselves with the everyday problems both from personal and societal point of view. TYPES OF INQUIRY Inquiry means an investigation. Like general ethics, Engineering ethics also involves investigations into values, meaning and facts. These inquiries in the field of Engineering ethics are of three types. 1. Normative Inquiries 2. Conceptual Inquiries 3. Factual or Descriptive Inquiries

Text from page-3

Normative Inquiries These inquiries are mostly helpful to identify the values which guide the individuals and groups in taking a decision. These are meant for identifying and justifying some norms and standards of morally desirable nature for guiding individuals as well as groups. In most of the cases, the normative questions are given below: 1. How do the obligations of engineers protect the public safety in given situations? 2. When should an engineer have to alarm their employers on dangerous practices? 3. Where are the laws and organizational procedures that affect engineering practice on moral issues? 4. Where are the moral rights essential for engineers to fulfill their professional obligations? From these questions, it is clear that normative inquiries also have the theoretical goal of justifying moral judgments. Conceptual Inquiries These are meant for describing the meaning of concepts, principles, and issues related to Engineering Ethics. These inquiries also explain whether the concepts and ideas are expressed by single word or by phrases. The following are some of the questions of conceptual inquiries: 1. What is the safety and how it is related to risk? 2. What does it mean when codes of ethics say engineers should protect the safety, health and welfare of the public? 3. What is a “bribe‟? 4. What is a “profession‟ and “professional‟? Factual / Descriptive Inquiries These help to provide facts for understanding and finding solutions to value based issues. The engineer has to conduct factual inquiries by using scientific techniques. These help to provide information regarding the business realities such as engineering practice, history of engineering profession, the effectiveness of professional societies in imposing moral conduct, the procedures to be adopted when assessing risks and psychological profiles of engineers. The information about these facts provide understanding and background conditions which create moral problems. These facts are also helpful in solving moral problems by using alternative ways of solutions. These types of inquiries are said to be complementary and interrelated. Suppose an engineer wants to tell a wrong thing in an engineering practice to his superiors, he has to undergo all these inquiries and prepare an analysis about the problem on the basis of moral values and issues attached

Text from page-4

to that wrong thing. Then only he can convince his superior. Otherwise his judgment may be neglected or rejected by his superior. MORAL DILEMMAS Dilemmas are certain kind of situations in which a difficult choice has to be made. Moral dilemmas can also be called moral problems. Moral dilemmas have two or more foldings - moral obligations, duties, rights, goods or ideals come into disagreement with each other. One moral principle can have two or more conflicting applications for a particular given situation. Moral dilemmas can be occurred in so many ways. For example, suppose one gives a promise to his friend that he will meet him on the evening of a particular day, but unfortunately on the same day his brother has met with an accident and he has to take him to hospital. The dilemma here consists of a conflict between the duty to keep promise and obligations to his brother. In this situation, to solve his moral problem, he can make a phone call to his friend and make apology for his inability to come. So, from the above it is clear that the duty to keep promise always has two different and conflicting applications. The moral dilemmas cannot easily be addressed or resolved always. It requires an elaborate searching which sometimes causing extreme suffering and reflection of a situation. The modern engineering practice compels that all the engineers have to face boldly about the moral dilemmas in their careers. The Problem of Vagueness The problem of vagueness is related to individuals. The individuals may not know how to moral considerations or principles in resolving a moral problem at a particular situation. For example, an engineer in a higher position of a company, is responsible and having the sole right to make purchases on his own and behalf of the company. There may be many suppliers for supplying materials. In this situation, a sales representative from one of the suppliers approaches him with a moderating gift. In this case, the engineer may have some doubts like (i) Whether this is an acceptance of a bribe? (ii) Does it create a conflict of interest? The solution is only with that engineer. He can also discuss with his colleagues about the problem. The colleague may find the solution on the basis of previous experiences, - it may not be a kind of bribe, but at the same time it should not be encouraged in future because there is the possibility of supplying substandard materials. It is difficult to arrive at the conclusion whether the gift is an innocent amenity or an unacceptable bribe. The problems of Conflicting reasons These occur more frequently. In a difficult situation of a moral problem, an individual may clearly know about what moral principle has to be applied to resolve the problem. When it arises, there are two or more principles with clear solutions lead into conflict with one another or one particular moral

Lecture Notes