Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 149–169

Understanding Engineering Professionalism: A Reflection on the Rights of Engineers

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11948-009-9166-x

Cite this article as:
Stieb, J.A. Sci Eng Ethics (2011) 17: 149. doi:10.1007/s11948-009-9166-x


Engineering societies such as the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and associated entities have defined engineering and professionalism in such a way as to require the benefit of humanity (NSPE 2009a, Engineering Education Resource Document. NSPE Position Statements. Governmental Relations). This requirement has been an unnecessary and unfortunate “add-on.” The trend of the profession to favor the idea of requiring the benefit of humanity for professionalism violates an engineer’s rights. It applies political pressure that dissuades from inquiry, approaches to new knowledge and technologies, and the presentation, publication, and use of designs and research findings. Moreover, a more politically neutral definition of engineering and/or professionalism devoid of required service or benefit to mankind does not violate adherence to strong ethical standards.


AltruismCodes of ethicsNSPEProfessionalismRights

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English and PhilosophyDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.College of Arts and SciencesDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA