Asee peer logo

The Changing Of The Guard: Should The Engineering Ethics Code Be Changed To Environmental Ethics?

Download Paper |

Conference

2009 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Topics in Engineering Ethics IV

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Page Count

17

Page Numbers

14.1184.1 - 14.1184.17

DOI

10.18260/1-2--5413

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/5413

Download Count

76

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Paul Leiffer LeTourneau University

visit author page

Paul R. Leiffer is a professor in the School of
Engineering and Engineering Technology at LeTourneau University, where he has taught since 1979. He received his B.S.E.E. from the State University of New York at Buffalo and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Drexel University. Prior to joining the faculty at LeTourneau, he was involved in cardiac cell research at the University of Kansas Medical Center. His professional interests include bioinstrumentation, digital signal processing, and engineering ethics. Email: paulleiffer@letu.edu

visit author page

biography

R. William Graff

visit author page

R. WILLIAM GRAFF is a professor in the School of Engineering and Engineering Technology at LeTourneau University, where he taught since 1975. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from Purdue University in electrical engineering. Prior to joining LeTourneau University, he was assistant professor of electrical engineering at Drexel University for six years, and at Wilkes College for two years. His professional interests include antennas, microwaves, plasma, and ethics. Email: billgraff@letu.edu

visit author page

biography

B.Kyun Lee Le Tourneau University

visit author page

B. KYUN LEE is a professor in the School of Engineering and Engineering Technology at LeTourneau University, where he taught since 1988. He received his B.S. degree from Young Nam University, M.S. and Ph.D. from Oregon State University in mechanical engineering. Prior to joining LeTourneau University, he was a research and development engineer at Hyundai Motor Company. His professional interests include system dynamics, control, and applied mechanics. Email: kyunlee@letu.edu

visit author page

biography

Martin Batts Le Tourneau University

visit author page

MARTIN BATTS is a professor at leTourneau University, where he has been teaching in the areas of English and Philosophy since 1983. He received his B.S. from Calvin College, the M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, S.T.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and Ph.D. from the University of Dallas. He has served as a campus minister at Drake University and as dean at Ecola Hall. Email: martinbatts@letu.edu

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Changing of the Guard: Should the Engineering Ethics Code

Be Changed to Environmental Ethics?

Abstract

Engineers of the 21st Century must include environmental considerations in their designs. Such additions to design thinking as sustainability and consideration of environmental impacts are worthwhile; however, to place the emphasis on such considerations may override the main focus of the basic ethics statement. A series of recent publications has urged a move to broad environmental thinking as the foundation for engineering ethics. Environmentally-based ethics arises out of “deep ecology” or “morally deep ethics” in which oneness with nature, rather than our stewardship of nature, underlies our thinking. The authors warn that such an environmentally- based ethic proves detrimental to the meaning of engineering, provides an inadequate base for an ethical system, requires a major shift in worldview, and could produce a situation which is actually harmful to human lives.

Introduction

Neglect of the environment in the first half of the 20th Century led to large areas of destruction: pollution of water, air, and soil, destruction of forests, and, in some case, destruction of entire species. Catalano describes the situation in grave terms: “The world is in the midst of a period of unprecedented and disruptive change. This is particularly evident when examining the health of the world’s ecological systems. A host of human forces impinge upon coral reefs, tropical rain forests and other critical natural systems located around the world. Half the planet’s wetlands are gone.” 1

Because of the threat to the ecological system, modern engineers have come to recognize the importance of including environmental considerations in engineering decisions. Such additions as sustainability and consideration of environmental impacts are worthwhile; however, to place the emphasis on such considerations may override the focus of the basic ethics statement. A series of recent publications, including two books, 2,3 has urged a move toward broad environmental thinking as the core foundation for engineering ethics. When first considered, this change may seem to be a good idea. Any modifications of the basic ethical concepts previously established, however, including the Engineering Code of Ethics, should be examined carefully.

The solution proposed by some to the destruction of our environment (a solution which attempts to link peace, justice, ending poverty, and protecting the environment) is a move toward a new ethical foundation for engineering, a foundation that is specifically rooted in the environment. The proposed new ethical system has been termed “morally deep ethics” since it is based on the concept of “deep ecology.” “Deep ecology” is an approach to ecology based upon the complete

Leiffer, P., & Graff, R. W., & Lee, B., & Batts, M. (2009, June), The Changing Of The Guard: Should The Engineering Ethics Code Be Changed To Environmental Ethics? Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5413

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015