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Part of the book series: Philosophy of Engineering and Technology ((POET,volume 21))

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Why should engineers behave ethically? Often, this question is answered by qualifying engineering as a “profession”, and professional organizations have codes of ethics that members should comply with. In many countries however, engineering is organized differently. The present chapter explores conceptions of “professionalism”, inspired by evolutions in different occupational areas. A second part questions the idea that professionalism encompasses ethical responsibilities “beyond ordinary morality”. The thesis will be defended that, although there may be specific rules for “professionals”, the philosophical foundation of professional ethics yet rests on ordinary morality.

It definitely was professional, and it was definitely smart, if you can call it that, but it was very conservative, very risk-averse, very aware of what mattered.

(Lance Armstrong, Interview with Oprah Winfrey, January 2013)

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I express my gratitude to Christelle Didier, for her critical and constructive comments on a first draft for this chapter, and to Dr. Erik Van Achter, for his linguistic polishing of the text.

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Correspondence to Martin Meganck .

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Meganck, M. (2015). On the Normativity of Professionalism. In: Christensen, S., Didier, C., Jamison, A., Meganck, M., Mitcham, C., Newberry, B. (eds) Engineering Identities, Epistemologies and Values. Philosophy of Engineering and Technology, vol 21. Springer, Cham.

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