There exists moral dilemmas: the simplest form is the trolly problem. Is it right to sacrifice one to save others? We need ethical norms, the two distinct ethical norms that make up the ends of the spectrum:
- Consequentialism (results-of-actions)
- Utilitarianism states an action is morally correct if it maximize utility/happiness for greatest people.
- Deontology (rule-based)
Virtue ethics fall outside of the spectrum.
Engineers interpret the meaning of “the public” precisely: the public is anyone who are suseptible to the powers an engineer has.
Engineering Code of Ethics (EGBC)
By EGBC definitions, “professional engineering” (roughly) means: carrying of engineering that may be accredited and has duties to design, report, and direct engineering projects.
Professional engineers are registered/licensed, engineer-in-training (EIT) completed education and working towards requirements for P.Eng. under a P.Eng supervisor. Everyone can do engineering, but only P.Eng can practice engineering.
Being EIT or P.Eng binds the code of ethics personally and applies at all times.
The code of ethics have potential conflicts in certain situations. They are to be resolved case by case (e.g. whistleblowing)
- Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public, the protection of environment and promote health and safety within workplace
- Take responsibility only when qualified by training or experience.
- Provide opinion only when founded upon adequate knowledge and honest conviction.
- Act faithful towards client or employers; avoid conflict of interest; disclose circumstance immediately.
- Uphold principle of appropriate and adequate compensation.
- Keep informed, maintain competence, advane knowledge.
- Conduct fairness and good faith.
- Present possible consequences clearly if professional comment is disregarded.
- Report members that conduct hazardous, illegal or unethical practices.
- Extend public knowledge and appreciation of engineering, protect profession from misrepresentation and misunderstanding.
- Results based and rule based are the two distinct ethical norms.
- One can do engineering but only P.Eng can practice engineering.
- Neither acting religiously, legally, nor based on individiual morality is necessarily ethical.
- The “public” are those vulnerable to the powers an engineer has.
- The EGBC code of ethics principles are not always rational, consistent; they may have conflicts.
- The EGBC code of ethics is rule-based.
- An EIT or P.Eng reports situation that is damanging or unsafe, even if they’re on vacation.
- Utilitarianism is a results-based ethical norm.
- Virtue ethics has recently been relevent in environmental management.
- The Golden Rule (“treat others as you want t o be treated”) is only a consistency principle, but ethical norms tell you what to do.