Ethics – Moral Issues for Engineers

Moral Issues for Engineers to Consider

Not only by considering the technological things but also by holding moral principles in mind, a moral issues can be understood as an issue to be solved. Let us consider the meaning in general, to be more precise.

Examples of Moral Issues

There are primarily two kinds of moral problems we often experience while holding the ethical aspects in mind to respond. They are − they are

Into micro-ethics

This approach further highlights the difficulties that exist regularly in the world of engineering and its practice by engineers.

Macro-ethics Explained

This strategy deals with social issues that are unclear. However, both at regional and national levels, these issues can suddenly face the sun.

Here are some examples:

Let us grasp a few instances relating to moral issues now.

Example 1

An engineer came to know about a bridge that is slightly secure after the recent collapse of a structure in which many people died. He told his superior who asked him to remain calm and not to speak to anybody while waiting for budget sessions for the next year to get some financial assistance for the required repair. What is an engineer supposed to do?

Example 2

What does an engineer automatically do if he sees his colleague copying unauthorized sensitive information? If he decides to interrupt his mate, what if, without his notice, this gets repeated? What if his friend loses his job if he tries to complain to the management? What would be morally right?

Example 3

An engineer who designs a prototype for the project loses it precisely the day before the submission due to a mishap. Is it morally right to outsource the project prototype and decrease the chances of work insecurity? What is he going to do?

Just to understand the kind of moral dilemmas, these are a few examples. At times, there may be one or more right responses. To deal with the issue, there can be some other way around, which one can’t easily find. However, to prevent more issues and also to address this in a way that leads to no regrets, decisions must be taken by following a gradual and transparent procedure.

Ethical Inquiries

To have a clear understanding of the problem, the problems can be addressed by following an investigative protocol, step by step. We have three different forms of inquiries available here.

To prevent any errors, judging the problems must be followed by a systematic process. Ethics in engineering includes research into principles, meanings, and evidence. The various kinds of surveys made for this are as follows.

Normative Investigations

Conceptual Investigations

  1. Factual or explanatory inquiries
  2. Forms of Inquiries
  3. Normative Inquiries

Normative Inquiry refers to a description that explains what, under a particular situation, one should do. This is the optimal reaction predicted, which may vary from what one feels is right or wrong.

This list describes the morally beneficial essence of directing individuals or groups and justifies it. This includes engineers’ responsibility for protecting public safety and how they should respond to such unsafe practices. The laws and procedures that influence engineering practice on moral grounds are often cited by normative investigations. They apply to the process of thinking in which moral rights must be upheld to satisfy their professional obligations.

Conceptual Investigations

Conceptual Inquiry refers to the description of the importance of ideas, values, and engineering ethics problems. Conceptual inquiries define the ethics that an engineer should possess to protect the safety, health, and welfare of the public, etc.

It explains what safety is and mentions the marginal safety concerns and the measures that should be taken by an engineer to avoid danger. Conceptual investigations, along with professional ethics and professionalism, mention the moral implications of bribery and its consequences.

Factual and Descriptive Modes of Thinking

Factual investigation or descriptive inquiry helps to provide the evidence for understanding the value-based problems and finding answers to them. Through using scientific methods, the engineer has to perform factual inquiries.

This helps to provide information on business realities such as engineering practice, engineering history, professional societies’ efficacy, methods to be followed in the evaluation of risks, and engineers’ psychological profiles.

Let us now go through the idea of the moral dilemma faced by an individual when faced with a scenario.

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