Asee peer logo

The Relations between Ethical Reasoning and Moral Intuitions among Engineering Students in China

Download Paper |


2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Moral Development and Ethics Assessment in Engineering

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Rockwell Franklin Clancy III Delft University of Technology

visit author page

Rockwell F. Clancy is a lecturer at TU Delft. Before joining Delft, he was an Associate Teaching Professor in engineering ethics and philosophy at the University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute and Research Fellow in the Institute of Social Cognition and Decision-making, both in Shanghai Jiao Tong University. His research and teaching interests include engineering ethics, moral psychology, philosophy of technology, Chinese philosophy, and political philosophy. Rockwell completed his PhD at Purdue University, West Lafayette, MA at the Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium, and BA at Fordham University, New York.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Empirical research in engineering ethics has tended to assess the ethical reasoning abilities of students in predominately WEIRD (Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic) countries. However, it is not clear that ethical judgments are only or primarily the result of ethical reasoning, or that conclusions based on WEIRD samples are applicable across cultures. To address these shortcomings, ongoing research has been examined the 1. relation between ethical reasoning and moral foundations among engineering students in China, and 2. effects of ethics education on ethical reasoning and moral foundations. To do so, engineering students at a US-Chinese educational institute in Shanghai, China completed the ESIT (Engineering and Science Issues Test) and MFQ (Moral Foundations Questionnaire) before and after a course on engineering ethics, to measure ethical reasoning and moral foundations, respectively. The ESIT uses two measures of ethical reasoning: P scores assess the prevalence of postconventional reasoning, while N2 scores measure the prevalence of postconventional reasoning relative to preconventional reasoning. The MFQ assesses moral foundations through the importance participants place on care, fairness, authority, loyalty, and sanctity in answering questions about right and wrong, and their levels of agreement with numerous statements. Results indicate that 1. Ethical reasoning is positively related to an emphasis on care and fairness 2. ethics education results in higher levels of ethical reasoning, as well as a greater concern with fairness and loyalty. The educational implications of these results are discussed, as well as shortcomings of the current study and directions for future work.

Clancy, R. F. (2021, July), The Relations between Ethical Reasoning and Moral Intuitions among Engineering Students in China Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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: © 2021 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