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The Right Choice: Applying Ethics and Happiness to Engineering

William A. (Bill) Brant, J.D., P.E.

Course Outline

What are you seeking in LIFE? Success, fame, fortune, pleasure?

The purpose or essence of life is to be happy. We use the ideas of Aristotle, Dobrin, and the Dalai Lama to study happiness as it relates to ethics. The people who are happiest are those who have learned to balance ethical values with other values.

Most people think they know what happiness is and; therefore, do not study happiness. I believe, we can all become wiser in the areas of ethics and happiness.

Logically, to be happy we can not be unhappy. We learn to minimize our negative emotions that cause unhappiness and maximize our positive emotions that allow us to be happy.

At the root of happiness is our ethics, belief/virtue/value system. We learn through Aristotle that ethics bestows happiness. Moreover, happiness is a two way street between the individual and family with the polis.

"Happiness as a reason for ethics" is expanded from a section out of the two hour course, THE RIGHT CHOICE: APPLYING ETHICS TO ENGINEERING, PDHonline Course Number R115, and is a stand alone one hour course.

This experience has been written with the goal to balance theory and practical application and, cause you to think about your happiness and your ethics, both individually and professionally.

Your experience should be enhanced through straight forward, helpful, study questions.

This course includes a multiple choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the end of this experience, you will:

Intended Audience

Written with engineers in mind, ethics and happiness are at the root of our human existence and anyone can benefit from this course experience.

Benefit to Attendees

If you want to be happy, you will look at happiness in a better light after completing this course. At the very least, you will think about yourself and happiness in your life.

Course Introduction

Life is a challenge! Our attitude and pre-disposition determines our life-view.

My purpose is not to make you happy. Only you can make yourself happy! My purpose is to make you think about happiness, and show that you can change yourself to be happy or happier. You can be happy not just in your own life, but also in the lives of others.

Course Content

The course content is in a PDF file (1.1 MB) The Right Choice: Applying Ethics and Happiness to Engineering. You need to open or download this document to study this course.

Course Summary

Over two thousand years ago, Aristotle studied and wrote about happiness, with the caveat that in order to achieve happiness, one had to have a certain maturity, sufficient health and wealth. Aristotle's basis of happiness was an ethical belief/virtue/value system that is as true today as it was over two thousand years ago.

Aristotle, certainly one of the first, isn't the only person to determine ethical behavior leads to happiness.

We will study Aristotle, briefly and in a simplified manner, ethicist Arthur Dobrin, through Dobrin's dilemmas, and a Buddhist Monk, the Dalai Lama. They provide us with a basis and roadmap for ethical behavior which leads to happiness. Moreover, this ethical behavior and happiness interfaces and reciprocates with others in our lives.

Our study of happiness from Aristotle through Dobrin to the Dalai Lama is preceded by reviewing what makes us unhappy including practical tips on how to de-fuse our negative emotions.

Our experience ends with practical, concrete directions that provide the tools for us to be happy.

Course References and Links

Course references, endnotes, websites, and acknowledgments are provided with the Course Content.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

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DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.