Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 149–169 | Cite as

Understanding Engineering Professionalism: A Reflection on the Rights of Engineers

Original Paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Altruism Codes of ethics NSPE Professionalism Rights 

References

  1. Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. (2009). History. Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Resource Document. http://www.abet.org/history.shtml. Accessed 5 August 2009.
  2. ACM. (1992). ACM code of ethics and professional conduct. Resource document. Association for Computing Machinery. http://www.acm.org/about/code-of-ethics. Accessed 9 August 2009.
  3. Airaksinen, T. (1994). Service and science in professional life. In R. F. Chadwick (Ed.), Ethics and the professions (pp. 1–13). Aldershot: Avebury.Google Scholar
  4. Annas, G. J. (2004). American bioethics: crossing human rights and health law boundaries. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Anonymous. (1998). A Science Odyssey: People and Discoveries J. Robert Oppenheimer. Resource document. WGBH, Pbs.org.Google Scholar
  6. Bok, S. (2008). Whistleblowing and professional responsibility. In T. Donaldson & P. Werhane (Eds.), Ethical issues in business; a philosophical approach (8th ed., pp. 128–135). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  7. Bowers v. Hardwick (1986). Bowers v. Hardwick 478 U. S. Resource Document. United States Supreme Court. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=478&invol=186. Accessed 7 August 2009.
  8. California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. (2009). EIT/LSIT certification information and application (engineer-in-training/land surveyor-in-training). Resource Document. California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. http://www.pels.ca.gov/applicants/eit_lsitapp.shtml. Accessed 2 August 2009.
  9. Chesher, J. E., & Machan, T. (1999). The business of commerce; examining an honorable profession. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press.Google Scholar
  10. Cooke, M. L. (1921). On the organization of an engineering society. Mechanical Engineering 43, 323, 325 [page range unknown]. Quoted by Layton 1971, 15.Google Scholar
  11. Davis, M. (1997). Is there a profession of engineering? Science and Engineering Ethics, 3, 407–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Davis, M. (1998). Thinking like an engineer; studies in the ethics of a profession. Oxford University Press, New York. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/baoppe.html. Accessed 5 August 2009.
  13. Egar, J. M. (2000). The right to be left alone. Resource Document. Insight. San-Diego Union-Tribune. Reprinted in Smart Communities. http://www.smartcommunities.org/library_alone.htm. Accessed 6 August 2009.
  14. Ferrell, O. C. (2009). A framework for understanding organizational ethics. Online Document. http://www.aacsb.edu/resource_centers/ethicsedu/a%20framework%20for%20understanding%20organizational%20ethics.doc. Accessed 17 September 2009.
  15. Fieser, J. (2006). Ethics. Resource document. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://www.iep.utm.edu/e/ethics.htm. Accessed 5 August 2009.
  16. Firmage, D. A. (1991). The definition of a profession. In D. Johnson (Ed.), Ethical issues in engineering (pp. 63–66). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  17. Greenwood, A. (1991). Attributes of a profession. In D. Johnson (Ed.), Ethical issues in engineering (pp. 67–77). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  18. Halliday, R. (1997). A theory of property rights for a free nation. Resource Document. Libertarian Nation Foundation. http://libertariannation.org/a/f52h2.html. Accessed 16 August, 2009.
  19. Harris, C. E. (2008). The good engineer: giving virtue its due in engineering ethics. Science and Engineering Ethics, 14, 153–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hendee, W. (2009). Editorial: a statement of the rights of scientists and engineers. Resource Document. Press Room. American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. http://www.aimbe.org/content/index.php?pid=426. Accessed 7 August 2009.
  21. Hurlburt, G. F., Miller, K., & Voas, J. M. (2009). An ethical analysis of automation, risk, and the financial crisis of 2008. IT Professional, 11, 14–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. IEEE. (2009). IEEE code of ethics. Resource Document. Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. http://www.ieee.org/web/membership/ethics/code_ethics.html. Accessed 9 August 2009.
  23. KAR. (2009). Design criteria for dams and associated structures. Resource Document. Kentucky Administrative Regulation (KAR) 4:030. Kentucky Legislature. http://www.lrc.ky.gov/kar/401/004/030.htm. Accessed 6 August 2009.
  24. Kennedy, J. F. (1961). Inaugural Address. Resource Document. Famous Quotes. http://www.famousquotes.me.uk/speeches/John_F_Kennedy/5.htm. Accessed 7 August 2009.
  25. Ladd, J. (1991). The quest for a code of engineering ethics: an intellectual and moral confusion. In D. Johnson (Ed.), Ethical issues in engineering (pp. 130–136). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  26. Layton, E. T. (1971). The revolt of the engineers. Cleveland: Case Western Reserve University.Google Scholar
  27. Lozano, J. F. (2006). Developing an ethical code for engineers: the discursive approach. Science and Engineering Ethics, 12.2, 245–256.Google Scholar
  28. Manion, M. (2001). Engineering professionalism and the imperative of sustainable development. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS’01) (pp. 168–176). IEEE Computer Society: Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  29. Miller, K. W., & Voas, J. (2008). IT as a profession: is competent creation the primary goal? IT Professional, 10, 15–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Moriarty, G. (2008). The engineering project; its nature, ethics and promise. University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  31. NSPE. (1987). Code of ethics for engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers. In: Johnson, D. (Ed.) (1991), Ethical issues in engineering (pp. 98–104). Prentice Hall: New Jersey.Google Scholar
  32. NSPE. (2009a). Engineering Education Resource Document. NSPE Position Statements. Governmental Relations. National Society of Professional Engineers. http://www.nspe.org/GovernmentRelations/TakeAction/PositionStatements/ps_eng_edu.html. Accessed 5 August 2009.
  33. NSPE. (2009b). NSPE code of ethics for engineers. Resource Document. National Society of Professional Engineers. http://www.nspe.org/Ethics/CodeofEthics/index.html. Accessed 31 July 2009.
  34. NSPE. (2009c). History of the code of ethics for engineers. Resource Document. National Society of Professional Engineers. http://www.nspe.org/Ethics/CodeofEthics/CodeHistory/historyofcode.html. Accessed 2 August 2009.
  35. NSPE. (2009d). Board of ethical review. Resource Document. National Society of Professional Engineers. http://www.nspe.org/Ethics/BoardofEthicalReview/index.html. Accessed 2 August 2009.
  36. NSPE. (2009e). Licensure. Resource Document. National Society of Professional Engineers. http://www.nspe.org/Licensure/Resources/faq/lic_rec_FAQ.html.
  37. Oakley, J., & Cocking, D. (2001). Virtue ethics and professional roles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Olmstead v. U.S. (1928). Olmstead v. U.S. 277 U.W. 438. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=277&invol=438. Accessed 7 August 2009.
  39. Parkan, B. (2008). Professionalism: a virtue or estrangement from self-activity? Journal of Business Ethics, 78, 77–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schinzinger, R., & Martin, M. (1996). Ethics in engineering (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  41. Selvan, K. T. (2004). An approach for harmonizing engineering and science education with humaneness. Science and Engineering Ethics, 10.3, 573–577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Solomon, R. (2003). A better way to think about business: how personal integrity leads to corporate success. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Stieb, J. A. (2008). A critique of positive responsibility in computing. Science and Engineering Ethics, 14(2), 219–233.Google Scholar
  44. Unknown Author. (1954). National affairs: The oppenheimer case. Time Magazine 63. 26. June 28, 1954. Online Document. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,860874-9,00.html. Accessed 17 September 2009.
  45. Veach, C. M. (2006). There’s no such thing as engineering ethics, in Leadership and Management in Engineering, 6.3, 97–101 quoting Maxwell (2003).Google Scholar
  46. Vogel, D. (2006). The market for virtue. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  47. Werhane, P. H., Gorman, M. E., Mead, J., & Cummings, M. (2002). Boeing (a): no nerds, no birds to strike or not to strike. Resource Document. Darden Case No. UVA-E-0233. Darden Business Publishing. https://store.darden.virginia.edu/business-case-study/boeing-no-nerds-no-birds-c-will-a-strike-jeopardize-public-safety-817. Accessed 31 July 2009.
  48. Whitbeck, C. (2006). Part 3: the discovery of the change from welds to bolts. Resource Document. Online Ethics Center for Engineering. National Academy of Engineering. http://www.onlineethics.org/CMS/profpractice/exempindex/lemesindex.aspx. Accessed 31 July 2009.

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

Personalised recommendations