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Engineering Ethics: Improving Pedagogical Methods

[+] Author Affiliations
Carlos E. Bertha

United States Air Force Academy

Paper No. IMECE2006-13569, pp. 225-229; 5 pages
doi:10.1115/IMECE2006-13569
From:
  • ASME 2006 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Innovations in Engineering Education: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, November 5 – 10, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4781-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3790-4

abstract

Engineers like to solve problems. But they tend to like to solve problems that have discrete solutions. As long as they know which formulae apply, the rest is a matter of calculation. When philosophers teach ethics, they often take an approach that seems antithetical to the engineer's methods of solving problems: ethicists teach in terms of "ill-defined problems." For the purposes of this essay, I will assume that it has been fairly well established that engineering students should take an ethics course as part of their curriculum. Having said that, should engineers suffer through an ethics course taught by a philosopher? Or should engineers teach engineering ethics? Should engineering students get a tailored version of the course offered by the philosophy department?

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