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Ethical Theories and Teaching Engineering Ethics

Ethical Theories and Teaching Engineering Ethics
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Author(s): Michael S. Pritchard (Western Michigan University, USA) and Elaine E. Englehardt (Utah Valley University, USA)
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 10
Source title: Contemporary Ethical Issues in Engineering
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Satya Sundar Sethy (Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8130-9.ch008


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As an area of academic study, engineering ethics focuses primarily on practical ethical issues. A primary aim of the study of practical ethics is to help students make good ethical decisions in whatever practical endeavors they may undertake, including in their chosen careers. The authors argue that reflection on the sorts of ethical problems that arise in engineering practice should be the starting point, with ethical theory coming into view primarily in this context. This is in contrast to a more “top-down” approach that tries to “apply” theory to practice only after laying out a spectrum of philosophically grounded theories, each of which attempts to give us a comprehensive picture of ethics, as such.

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