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Learning and Teaching Engineering Ethics: Workshop for Vanderbilt Faculty. Nancy Tuana, Director, The Rock Ethics Institute Andy Lau, Associate Professor, College of Engineering. Day 1: “The Basics”. Introductions / Overview Intro to Ethics and Engineering Ethics What do we mean by ethics?

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learning and teaching engineering ethics workshop for vanderbilt faculty
Learning and Teaching Engineering Ethics: Workshop for Vanderbilt Faculty

Nancy Tuana, Director, The Rock Ethics Institute

Andy Lau, Associate Professor, College of Engineering

day 1 the basics
Day 1: “The Basics”
  • Introductions / Overview
  • Intro to Ethics and Engineering Ethics
    • What do we mean by ethics?
    • Motivating students to think about ethics, and to think ethically
    • Importance of ethics in engineering
    • Moral imagination
    • Tools for teaching and learning ethics
    • Applying ethics materials
  • Output:
    • Application of tools to sample cases
introductions
Introductions

Please introduce yourself with the following information:

  • Name
  • Department
  • Course that you will be working on and how ethics relates to that course.
activity

/

1

Activity
  • Please take a few moments to reflect on the following question and jot down your thoughts on the worksheet.
    • How do you hope to be able to enhance your course as a result of your participation in this workshop?
  • Discuss the answers with your neighbors.
our goals for you
Our Goals for You
  • Understand:
    • How to integrate ethics-related activities
    • How to obtain, develop, and use case studies
    • How to design a course to meet learning objectives related to ethics and how to assess related student work
  • Apply this understanding to design ethics-related activities for one of your courses
  • Integrate ethics-related activities into a course and influence your peers to do the same.
warm up cases to consider

/

2

Warm-up: Cases to Consider
  • Take-Home Exam
    • video
ethics broadly defined
“Ethics”: Broadly Defined

Ethics: the positive guidelines for our behavior and the systematic study of those guidelines.

ethics should be distinguished from
Ethics Should Be Distinguished From…
  • Mere Prudence
    • self-interest narrowly defined
      • sometimes doing the right thing hurts
  • Mere Legality
    • following the letter of the law
      • ethics is broader than legality
  • Professional Guidelines and Codes
    • ethics provides the underlying principles and values and provides resources for addressing ethical dilemmas
minimalist and maximalist ethics
Minimalist and Maximalist Ethics
  • Minimalist Ethics
    • Following the letter of the law
      • e.g., codes of ethics
      • do one’s duty and that’s all
  • Maximalist Ethics
    • Doing everything possible to make the world a better place
      • Embracing social responsibility
  • Searching for the middle ground…
motivating students to think ethically
Motivating Students to Think Ethically
  • Codes of ethics are incomplete
  • Foreseeing (and so avoiding) problems
  • Becoming an ethically aware professional

With what we know today, engineers are “socially responsible for ensuring progress and the benevolence of technological change.” (Edward Layton, The Revolt of the Engineers)

codes of ethics are incomplete
Codes of Ethics Are Incomplete
  • Tenets conflict
  • Stated in (purposefully) vague terms
  • Often are not self-explanatory
  • Do not cover all cases
  • Do not provide a procedure for resolving ethical dilemmas
nspe code of ethics fundamentals
NSPE Code of Ethics Fundamentals

Engineers, in the fulfillment of their professional duties, shall:

1. Hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public.

2. Perform services only in areas of their competence.

3. Issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.

4. Act for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees.

5. Avoid deceptive acts.

6. Conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically, and lawfully so as to enhance the honor, reputation, and usefulness of the profession.

National Society of Professional Engineers www.nspe.org/ethics

codes of ethics are incomplete13
Codes of Ethics Are Incomplete
  • Conflict Between
    • “Hold Paramount….” (1)

and

    • “Act…as faithful agents…” (1)
    • Ethical judgment needed to fill in the gaps
foreseeing disaster revenge of unintended consequences
Foreseeing DisasterRevenge of Unintended Consequences

Ford Pinto Case

  • … today’s routine decision may be tomorrow’s embarrassment (or shame)
becoming an ethically aware professional
Becoming an Ethically Aware Professional

Intrinsic Value of Personal Integrity

  • Difference between just doing my job and being proud of who I am and my work as an engineer.
    • What would my family or friends think?
    • Could I defend my action (publicly) to all affected?
    • Do I fully embrace the values underlying my decisions?
    • Could my company use my behavior in an ad?
slide16

The New Engineer

  • Social context
  • Long-term impacts
  • Ethics
  • Economics
  • Politics
  • Human interaction
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills

Evolving from occupation for technical advice, to profession serving community in socially & environmentally responsible way

From Sharon Beder, The New Engineer, 1998

recognizing ethical problems
Recognizing Ethical Problems
  • Does the situation “smell”?
  • Is there something that someone wants to keep quiet?
  • Would you tell your someone you revere?
  • How would you feel if story was on TV?
  • Would you use your behavior as a marketing tool?

Ernest A. Kallman & John P. Grillo, Ethical Decision Making and Information Technology, McGraw-Hill, 1996.

sidebar is it all relative
Sidebar: Is it all relative?

The Relativist Bogeyman

  • “Ethics is irrelevant since there is no universal ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – it’s all relative!”
  • Variation: “You can’t teach me ethics – that’s just your opinion!”
answering the relativist bogeyman
Answering the Relativist Bogeyman

1. Being relative does not mean a standard is not valid

  • e.g. speed limits

2. Relativists can’t complain

  • if you think something is unfair, you’re not a complete relativist

3. Certain moral values and basic principles are nearly universal

answering the relativist bogeyman20
Answering the Relativist Bogeyman

Further discussion of Relativism:

http://ethics.acusd.edu/theories/relativism/

shared principles
Shared Principles
  • To hurt no one
    • “First Do No Harm”
  • Give each their due
  • Live honorably

Justinian’s Institutes (533AD)

developing the moral imagination
Developing the Moral Imagination
  • What is moral imagination?
    • “an ability to imaginatively discern various possibilities for acting in a given situation and to envision the potential help and harm that are likely to result from a given action.”1
  • Ability to sense ethically relevant aspects of all situations
  • Johnson, M., Moral Imagination, Chicago: University of Chicago Press (1993).
moral imagination
Moral Imagination
  • Disengaging from and becoming aware of one's situation, understanding the mental model or script dominating that situation, and envisioning possible moral conflicts or dilemmas that might arise in that context or as outcomes of the dominating scheme.
  • The ability to imagine new possibilities. These possibilities include those that are not context-dependent and that might involve another mental model.
  • Evaluating from a moral point of view both the original context and its dominating mental models, and the new possibilities one has envisioned.

Gorman, M., Mehalik, M., and Werhane, P., Ethical and Environmental Challenges to Engineering , New Jersey: Prentice Hall (2000).

thinking outside the moral box
Thinking outside the (moral) box
  • Before you criticize someone you should first walk a mile in their shoes.
  • That way when you do criticize them you’re a mile away from them, and you have their shoes!
slide26

Pump Design Example

  • A pumping system designed by consultant needs 95 hp pump
  • Ethical implications? i.e. So what?
    • Depletes nonrenewable resource for electricity
    • Produces pollution
    • Adds to climate change
  • Redesigned system uses a 7 hp pump – how?
    • Larger D
    • Less fittings
    • Shorter, straighter runs
  • What’s the point?
    • Develop moral imagination
    • Understand connections – ecology, economics, global issues

Example from Cradle to Cradle by McDonough & Braungart

slide27

Frameworks for Ethical Thinking

  • Orientations to organize & guide one’s judgment in making (ethical) decisions
  • Basic frameworks
    • Consequences
    • Duties
    • Integrity
    • Care or Relationality
  • Making value considerations salient
slide28

Frameworks for Ethical Thinking

1. What will the effects of my actions be (for each of my choices)? (consequence-based thinking)

2. Are there any universal rules that apply here? (duty-based thinking)

3. What would a person with integrity do here? (virtue-based thinking)

4. What do the relationships (professional, personal) demand? (care-based thinking)

slide29

Frameworks for Ethical Thinking Stated Positively

1. Do what’s best for the greatest number of people. (consequence-based thinking)

2. Follow the applicable universal principle, e.g., do not lie. (duty/rights/justice-based thinking)

3. Do what a good (virtuous) person with integrity would do. (virtue-based thinking)

4. Consider what relationships demand (care-based thinking)

overview of ethical frameworks
Overview of Ethical Frameworks
  • Consider consequences of one’s actions
    • what will produce the most overall good or at least minimize harms?
  • Consider general ethical duties which apply
    • what if everyone did that?
overview of ethical frameworks31
Overview of Ethical Frameworks
  • Would a virtuous person do this?
    • is it the honest (generous, etc.) thing to do?
  • How does this affect valued relations with others?
    • what are the relational aspects of the situation?
overview of ethical frameworks32
Overview of Ethical Frameworks
  • Always keep in mind “limitations” of each framework
    • is this a case where consequence-based thinking (duty-based, etc.) often goes wrong?
overarching ethical rule of thumb
Overarching Ethical Rule of Thumb

Shorthand Principle which combines elements of all frameworks:

  • Can I reasonably justify my actions and their consequences to all affected in a way that is consistent with my integrity and my relations with others?
  • If not, can I responsibly justify my action?
general guide to ethical thinking
General Guide to Ethical Thinking

use moral

imagination

reflect, choose,

revisit decision

gather facts

Thinking/Acting

Ethically

how will relations

be affected?

identify stakeholders

formulate options

(creatively)

what virtues/ values apply?

consult others

identify

relevant

duties

consider consequences

-identify optimal option

slide35

A Process for Ethical Thinking

use moral

imagination

am I missing something?

reflect, choose,

revisit decision

gather facts

Thinking/Acting

Ethically

how will relations

be affected?

identify stakeholders

formulate options

(creatively)

what virtues/ values apply?

consult others

identify

relevant

duties

consider consequences

-identify optimal option

slide36

A Process for Ethical Thinking

use moral

imagination

reflect, choose,

revisit decision

gather facts

Thinking/Acting

Ethically

how will relations

be affected?

identify stakeholders

formulate options

(creatively)

what virtues/ values apply?

consult others

identify relevant duties

consider consequences

-identify optimal option

think through ethical

frameworks carefully

slide37

A Process for Ethical Thinking

redo other steps

use moral

imagination

reflect, choose,

revisit decision

gather facts

Thinking/Acting

Ethically

how will relations

be affected?

identify stakeholders

formulate options

(creatively)

what virtues/ values apply?

consult others

identify relevant duties

consider consequences

-identify optimal option

slide38

A Process for Ethical Thinking

Engage Stakeholders

-as appropriate

use moral

imagination

reflect, choose,

revisit decision

gather facts

Thinking/Acting

Ethically

how will relations

be affected?

identify stakeholders

formulate options

(creatively)

what virtues/ values apply?

consult others

identify relevant duties

consider consequences

-identify optimal option

extending ethics to broader contexts
Extending Ethics to Broader Contexts
  • Social and Political Issues
    • engineering practice meets social policy
  • Global and Environmental Factors
    • measuring consequences
    • identifying “stakeholders”
    • ecological / restorative ethic
  • Inter-Cultural Communication
    • sensitivity to other values
    • relativism revisited?
closing
Closing

“Developing this process is, at best, difficult, …. But not to do so, …, risks moral and technological bankruptcy, threatens ecological sustainability in some cases, and prevents engineers from exercising their talents in ways that will benefit all of us.”

Gorman, M., Mehalik, M., and Werhane, P., Ethical and Environmental Challenges to Engineering , New Jersey: Prentice Hall (2000).

afternoon activities
Afternoon Activities
  • Applications of frameworks and guidelines to ethical thinking
    • through case studies/ ethics game and discussion
  • Tips on Using Case Studies in Classroom
using case studies in the classroom
Using Case Studies in the Classroom
  • Choosing Cases
    • Use NSPE or other cases with “expert” opinions
    • Open-ended vs. closed cases
    • Dilemmas vs. obvious answers
    • Cases with obviously unethical behavior
    • Using timely cases to stimulate interest
  • Use ordinary situations that may not be obvious as ethical (material choices, energy use, cultural impact)
  • Develop case from personal experience
using case studies in the classroom43
Using Case Studies in the Classroom
  • Discussing Cases
    • Guided Discussions
    • Group work
  • Other Activities
    • Response papers
    • Constructing original cases
    • Class presentations
using case studies in the classroom44
Using Case Studies in the Classroom
  • Identify all ethical issues
  • Delineate relevant facts
  • Identify all stakeholders
  • Apply frameworks
    • Consequences of actions
    • Relevant duties and rights
    • Relevant virtues and values
    • Relational impact of choices
  • Propose and justify actions
using case studies in the classroom45
Using Case Studies in the Classroom
  • Goals
    • Developing moral imagination in students
    • Better understanding ethical frameworks through applying them to cases
    • Honing moral reasoning skills
using case studies in the classroom46
Using Case Studies in the Classroom
  • Pedagogical techniques
    • Have a list of “answers” that you want covered in the discussion/assignment, but be open to additional input from students
    • Construct alternate scenarios that might help students evaluate their responses
    • Provide a closing summary of the analysis which includes a discussion of clearly wrong choices
further information
Further Information
  • http://www.engr.psu.edu/ethics/