Classic Ethics and Engineering
Thomas Mason, PE
This two hour online course presents the concepts and examples of use of engineering ethics. The concepts are referenced to sources which you can review independently. The examples are from recent engineering catastrophes and less serious failures which may illustrate the consequences of different choices.
The course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.
At the conclusion of this course, the student will:
This course is intended for architects, project managers, engineers, contractors and construction managers who must make daily engineering decisions. The initiating force was the New Mexico 2006 requirement for 2-pdh in ethics for PE renewal, though there is nothing specific to New Mexico in the content (per private communication with the NM Board of Registration). Interested technical persons will get value for insights into how philosophy interacts daily with engineering design and construction.
Benefit to Attendees
Some questions do not lend themselves to easy answer. The value is created by identifying the stakeholders, carefully thinking through consequences and making and documenting the most acceptable rational and emotional decision. This course does not present "right" answers, but does present some tools to assist in analysis of the questions.
The study of ethics is simple: Do good. Avoid evil. Or, Pursue right. Avoid wrong.
The study of ethics is complex; stakeholders include the innocent (naive) public, each business trying to profit from the construction, public services, politicians seeking re-election, muckrakers, whistle-blowers and mis-informed partisans. Each group defines right and wrong differently.
There are a wide range of acceptable ethical decisions, but we must work from a single set of facts.
These are the things we will discuss and demonstrate in this course. I hope that you will be able to participate in each of the various viewpoints and use the experience to help you make better ethical decisions.
The course content is in Classic Ethics and Engineering (PDF File). You need to open or download this document to study this course.Course Summary
Ethics are as real
as every design decision you make. On the other hand, guides available are absolute,
in a world of probable future outcomes rather than clear consequences. There
are legal and licensing liabilities to wrong design decisions but also life-safety
consequences. Unfortunately, there are also commercial and career continuity
consequences. This course attempts to present the guides available and real-world
interpretations. The goal is that you are in a better position to justify and
live with the decisions you have to make.
These sources are offered for reference and educational value. None of the products is particularly recommended by the author or PDHonline.
Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.