What’s philosophically interesting about engineering ethics?
- Michael Davis
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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.
- For explanation and defense of this definition, see my Profession, Code, and Ethics (Ashgate Press: Aldershot, England, 2002).
- I speak from personal experience of the effect engineering ethics may have on political philosophy. I have a book, just published, Actual Social Contract and Political Obligation (Edwin Mellen Press: New York, 2002), that explicitly uses approaches originally developed for engineering ethics to interpret the early history of social contract theory.
- See, for example, my own Thinking Like an Engineer (Oxford University Press: New York, 1998).
- What’s philosophically interesting about engineering ethics?
Science and Engineering Ethics
Volume 9, Issue 3 , pp 353-361
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- Kluwer Academic Publishers
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- philosophically interesting
- Michael Davis (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, Illinois Institute of Technology, 60616, Chicago, Illinois, USA