, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 353-361

What’s philosophically interesting about engineering ethics?

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Abstract

What makes a subject philosophically interesting is hard-to-resolve confusion about fundamental concepts. Engineering ethics suffers from at least three such fundamental confusions. First, there is confusion about what the “ethics” in engineering ethics is (ordinary morality, philosophical ethics, special standards, or something else?) Second, there is confusion about what the profession of engineering is (a function, discipline, occupation, kind of organization, or something else?) Third, there is confusion about what the discipline of engineering is. These fundamental confusions in engineering ethics connect with philosophically interesting work in moral theory, political philosophy, and philosophy of science. Work in these areas may help with the philosophical problems of engineering ethics. But, equally important, work in engineering ethics may help with the philosophical problems in these others fields.