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Lecture 1: Understanding morals And engineering ethics.

"What does ethics mean to you?"

"I don't know what the word means." "Ethics has to do with my religious beliefs."

"Ethics consists of the standards of behavior our society accepts."

"Ethics has to do with what my feelings tell me is right or wrong."

"Being ethical is doing what the law requires."

Mores(latin) meaning customs of a people - a stern set of duties that require us to subordinate our natural desires - habits of life in regard to right and wrong conduct - A failure to fulfill our duty brings with it a heavy sense of guilt. - morality is assumed to have a religious basis.

Ethos meaning character or custom - individual character - good person - social rules that govern and limit individual conduct - morality ---rules concerning right and wrong

Ethics is the study of morality moral values that are sound and reasonable actions or policies that are morally right morally permissible morally desirable

Morality is about judgments of right and wrong, good and bad

concern behavior that is of serious consequence to human welfare moral judgments universally applicable. do unto others as you would have them do unto you moral judgments override other considerations

Morality and Etiquette - Rules of etiquette are nonmoral but violations of etiquette can have moral implications Morality and Law - An action can be illegal but morally right - An action that is legal can be morally wrong

What is engineering?
Engineering is the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained by study, experience, and practice is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind". - The Accreditation Board for
Engineering and Technology

Ethical considerations are an integral part of making engineering decisions. The professional obligations of engineers go beyond fulfilling a contract with a client or customer. Codes of ethics can provide guidance in the decision-making process.

National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)

Engineers shall hold paramount safety, health and welfare of the public and shall strive to comply with the principles of sustainable development in the performance of their professional duties.

1Kayaraya limited co. won a contract to design, test , and manufacture aircraft brakes for air force plane. 1Kayaraya guaranteed that its compact brake would contain no more than four small braking disks and stop the air craft within a certain distance. Mat Kermit , an engineer with 1Kayaraya was given the task to write up the report of the test run on the brake. He discover and wrote that the brake system is slightly faulty (disintegrated rotor) His superiors suggested for him to falsify the test data


Identify the moral values, issues, and dilemmas, if any involved in the above case, and explain why you consider them moral values and dilemmas?

Moral/Ethical Judgment

Moral Moral Moral Moral

Reasoning Values Issues Dilemma

The rightness or wrongness of an action
Universally applicable. do unto others as you would have them do unto you Override other consideration - convenience, personal gain, and legal requirements fall before moral obligations. Should be logical - support with reasons and evidence

Is 1Kayaraya or anyone in the company guilty of any ethical breaches?

In your judgment, is it morally right or morally wrong for a person in Mr. Kermit's situation to write up a false report as he did?


Standards of good and evil that govern an individuals behavior and choices. Provide serious consequence to human welfare, that can profoundly injure or benefit people. Moral values derive from within ones own self.

What are some of the moral values involved in 1Kayarayas case?


Obligation to tell the truth Wrong to endanger the lives of others. Wrong to write a false report on the brake Integrity is good and dishonesty is bad Always Keep your promise Disobedience is distasteful

What are some of the moral values involved in 1KayaRayas management?

Moral Standards matters that can seriously injure or benefit human beings. not established by the decisions of particular authoritative bodies should be preferred to other values including self-interest based on impartial considerations (universal standpoint) Associated with special emotions and a special vocabulary- feel guilty, ashamed, or remorseful


Was this a clear-cut case of ethical wrong-doing? Situation which requires a person or organization to choose between alternatives that must be evaluated as right or wrong. Seldom black and white Example: Taking bribes is morally ok if one in difficult financial situations.
Is the obligation to tell the truth greater or lesser than Kermits obligation towards is family?

A moral dilemma may be defined as a conflict a person experiences between two or more moral obligations in a particular circumstance. Joe Herkert

Situations in which moral reasons come into conflict. Or in which the applications of moral values are unclear and not immediately obvious what should be done. Why? Because moral values are many and varied.


Moral clarity. Conceptual clarity. Factual clarity. Informed about the facts(obtain relevant information) Consider all options. Make a reasonable decision.