Engineering 10 ProfessionalEthics Bruce Mayer, PE Licensed Electrical & Mechanical EngineerBMayer@ChabotCollege.edu
Development of Prof. Ethics • OutLine • The Nature of Ethics • Definition of “Ethics” • Definition of an Ethically Based “Profession” • Short History of Professional Ethics • Oaths • Code(s) of Ethics • Brief History of Engineering code(s) of Ethics • SIMILARITIES to Ethics in Other Professions • DIFFERENCES from Ethics in Other Professions • Conclusion
The Nature of Ethics • Ethics is generally concerned with rules or guidelines for morals and/or socially approved conduct • Ethical standards generally apply to conduct that can or does have a substantial effect on people’s lives
Ethics Defined • General Ethics The study of the general nature of morals and of the specific moral choices to be made by a person; moral philosophy • Professional Ethics The rules or standardsgoverning the conduct of a person or the members of a profession
General Ethics Theories • Utilitarianism • Duty Ethics • Rights Ethics • Virtue Ethics
Utilitarian Ethics J. S. Mill (1806-1873) • Considers a balance of good & bad consequences for everyone affected (society) • Actions are good that serve to promote human well-being OverAll • Cost-Benefit analysis is an application • Consideration of the most benefit to the most people outweighs needs of a few individuals
Duty Ethics Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) • There are duties that should be performed regardless of whether these acts do the most good or NOT • Kant believed that there are higher principles that are good in every time, every culture, and every situation. When faced with an ethical dilemma, Kant believed we should ask ourselves: “To whom do I owe a duty and what duty do I owe them?” • e.g.; Duty to treat others fairly,or not to injure others
Rights Ethics John Locke (1632-1704) • Locke Believed that ALL PERSONS are born FREE and EQUAL • Thus INDIVIDUALShave fundamental rights (such as: life, liberty, & property) that others have a duty to respect.
Virtue Ethics • Virtue-based ethics places less emphasis on rules and instead focuses on good character traits, such as kindness and generosity. • These character traits will, in turn, allow a person to make the correct decisions later in life • Actions are considered right if they support good character traits (virtues) and wrong if they support bad character traits (vices) • Closely tied to Personal Honor
Examples Personal Ethics • DownLoad Pirated Software • Expense Account Padding • Copying of HomeWork • Income Tax “fudging” • “Borrowing” Nuts & Bolts, office-supplies from employer • Copying of Videos or Music • Plagiarism (cut & paste from InterNet) • Using the Copy Machine at Work
¿¿¿ Class Question ??? • What are some of the Characteristics of a Profession or a Professional?
“Profession” Defined • A “Profession” Differs from a “Job”, an “Occupation”, or a even a “Career” • All professions combine • special knowledge • special privileges • special responsibilities
“Professional” Defined • Professional skills are important to the well-being of society. Professionals: • Have autonomy in the workplace; • They are expected to utilize their independent judgment in carrying out their professional responsibilities. • Finally, professions are regulated by ethical standards; often embodied in Codes of Ethics
“Professional” Summarized • Possesses specialized knowledge and skills • Belongs to, and abides by, the standards of a society • Serves an important aspect of the public good
Engineering as a Profession • Satisfies indispensable and beneficial need • Discretion and judgment, not subject to standardization • Knowledge and skill not commonly possessed by the general public • Group consciousness promotes knowledge, professional ideas, social services • Legal status (P.E.’s are “Practice Regulated”) • Well-formulated Standards Of Admission • Practice Governed by a Code of Ethics
Oaths (to Ethical Ideals) • The PreCursor of Codes of Ethics • Usually Based on Gentlemanly Honor • First → Hippocratic Oath (400 BC) • This Oath of Medical Ethics for Physicians formed the basis of more recent medical, and other, Oaths • New York Oath (1807) • An “UpDated” Version of the Hippocratic Version
New York (Medical) Oath • Note the Powerful commitment to PERSONAL Honor “I do solemnly declare, that I will honestly, virtuously, and chastely conduct myself in the practice of physic and surgery, with the privileges of exercising which professionI am now to be invested; and that I will, with fidelity and honor, do everything in my power for the benefit of the sick committed to my charge.”
Oaths are NOT Enough • Examine Professional Oaths: • Language used is very Subjective • First person singular often used • “I swear” • “I declare” • “I shall” • An oath is subject to personal interpretation • Oaths are too general to provide much guidance • Oaths are not suitable for large-scaleprofessional institutions.
Codes of Ethics • Thomas Percival (1740-1804) Published a CODE of medical ethics for physicians in 1794 • The FIRST code for professional ethics • Percival’s was also the First code of ethics to be adopted by a Professional Organization - the American Medical Association (AMA)
Codes of Ethics • Percival’s code of ethics was UNlike oaths • The Code Banished • The first person singular • Subjectivity • Idiosyncrasy • Replaced 1st Person with the 2nd and 3rd person plural • Formulated standards of conduct with enumerated “DUTIES” • Asserted the moral authority and independence of medical professionals
Codes of Ethics • Modern Professions adopted codes of ethics to: • Promote Common Standards • Minimize interpersonal strife that the emphasis on individual honor encourages • Provide a Conduct-Structure that permits professionals to assert their independence of their nominal employers in the name of the Profession • i.e., Service to OTHERS takes precedence over Service to the EMPLOYER
Engineering Codes of Ethics • Two early engineering codes of ethics • 1912 – first engineering code of ethics adopted by the American Institute of Electrical Engineers - the AIEE (Later the IEEE) • 1914 – a code of ethics for engineers adopted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers • The Early Codes Said a great deal about • protection of the client’s or employer’s interest • business relationships • the ownership of data • Had only little general concern for the public safety, health, or welfare
Engineering Code of Ethics • The evolution of the Engineers' Council for Professional Development (ECPD – now ABET) code of ethics • First version of the ECPD code produced in 1947 • Emphasized concern for the public well-being & safety • “fidelity to the public” • Engineer’s “duty to interest himself in public welfare…apply his/her special knowledge for the benefit of mankind” • Lead to the writing of Similar Codes
Similarity to Other Professions • Focus on public safety and the safety of their patients or clients or customers • Emphasize that one should only attempt to perform only those practices that which are in the practitioner’s capability • Focus on special care and attention for their clients or patients or customers • Keep up the level of competence in the Field • Emphasize the importance of professionalism • Denounce acts of deception or fraud • Emphasize importance of client/patient/customer confidentiality
Differences from Other Prof’s • The paramount duty of engineers is to: • Safety, Health, and Welfare of the PUBLIC • Physicians’ paramount duty is to the PATIENT • Engineering ethics focuses on the way information is provided to the public • Physicians most help those in emergency situations • Engineering ethics focuses more on relationships between engineers
Ethics Conclusion • Ethics in professional lives is not new - Ethics have been around for ages. • Today every Profession has code(s) by which their professionals must practice. • Engineers are no exception. So remember, A code of ethics isn’t something that gets posted on a bulletin board - It’s something every engineer should live every day.
Ethics is also GOOD BUSINESS • The Mayer Axiom of Ethics SLEAZE is NOT a Strategy for LONG TERM SUCESS
All Done for Today EthicalPressures
Engineering 10 Appendix Time For Live Demo Bruce Mayer, PE Licensed Electrical & Mechanical EngineerBMayer@ChabotCollege.edu