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American University of Beirut

Faculty of Engineering and Architecture


Department of Industrial Engineering and Management

INDE 410: Engineering Ethics


Fall 2015

Administrative details
Instructor: Nadine Moacdieh
Email: nm102@aub.edu.lb
Office hours: Monday 10-12 and Wednesday 1-3 p.m. (or by appointment)
Office location: SRB 402
Class time: MWF 9-9:50 a.m.
Class location: Bechtel 208
Credits: 3
Course textbook:
Van de Poel, I. and Royakkers, L. (2011). Ethics, Technology, and Engineering: An
Introduction. Chichester, United Kingdom.
Other reference textbooks:
Harris, C., Pritchard, M., & Rabins, M. (2005). Engineering Ethics: Concepts and Cases.
Wadsworth, USA.
Rachels, J. & Rachels, S. (2007). The Elements of Moral Philosophy. McGraw-Hill,
USA.
Rachels, J. & Rachels, S. (2007). The Right Thing to Do: Basic Readings in Moral
Philosophy. McGraw-Hill, USA.
Catalog description
A course on engineering ethics covering responsibility in engineering; framing the moral
problem; organizing principles of ethical theories; computers, individual morality, and social
policy; honesty, integrity, and reliability; safety, risk, and liability in engineering; engineers as
employees; engineers and the environment; international engineering professionalism; and future
challenges.

Course sections
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Responsibility of Engineers (Chapters 1 and 9)


Ethical Theories (Chapters 3 and 4)
Professional Engineering Codes (Chapter 2)
Ethical Cycle (Chapter 5)
Ethics and the Design of Technology (Chapters 6 and 8)
Ethics and the Environment (Chapter 10)

Course objectives
This course will provide students with
1. An understanding of the responsibilities of engineers towards their employers and
towards society
2. An overview of the classical ethical theories that can help guide ethical decision-making
3. An overview of the different professional engineering codes available that regulate the
engineering professions and provide guidance in the case of moral conflicts
4. An awareness of forms of lying and dishonesty that should be avoided and highlighted to
authorities when detected
5. The necessary framework to carry out ethical decision-making and reach an acceptable
and moral solution in the face of conflict
6. An understanding of the ethical problems that may arise in the design of technology
7. An understanding of the ethical problems related to the environment and the role that
engineers can play in preventing harm to the environment
8. An ability to work in groups and prepare well-written technical reports, as well as present
coherent and formal presentations to their peers
Course learning outcomes
After completing ENMG 504, students should be able to
1. Describe the different types of responsibilities that engineers have towards society and
their employers, as well as the possible conflicts that may arise between engineers and
managers
2. Identify the conditions that make an engineer morally and/or legally responsible for an
event or accident and the reasons that make an engineer blameworthy
3. Describe the main tenets, advantages, and disadvantages of the classical ethical theories
and use them to solve ethical problems
4. Describe what makes an argument valid and the different forms of argumentation, as well
as being able to recognize fallacies and unsound argumentation

5. Recognize and describe the different forms of dishonesty that engineers may come across
in practice
6. Apply the ethical cycle to engineering ethical cases in order to reach an appropriate
solution
7. Identify and explain the importance of ethics at different stages of the design process
8. Explain the different ways to perform risk assessment and describe what counts as
acceptable risks
9. Explain the importance of considering ethics when potential harm to the environment is
involved
10. Describe the concept of sustainability as well as its moral justifications and possible ways
of achieving it
Course Schedule

1
2

Date
W September 2
F September 4

3
4
5

M September 7
W September 9
F September 11

M September 14

7
8

W September 16
F September 18

9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19

M September 21
W September 23
F September 25
M September 28
W September 30
F October 2
M October 5
W October 7
F October 9
M October 12
W October 14

20
21
22
23
24

F October 16
M October 19
W October 21
F October 23
M October 26

Section
Introduction

Responsibility of
Engineers (Chapters 1
and 9)

Topic
Why ethics
Introducing the different types of
responsibility
Passive responsibility
Liability
Responsibility in organizations
Active responsibility
Engineers vs. managers
The social context of technological
development
Case studies

Adha holiday no classes


History of ethics
Utilitarianism
Ethical Theories
Kant and virtue ethics
(Chapters 3 and 4)
Argumentation
Argumentation
Case studies
Professional codes of conduct
Benefits and limitations of codes of
Professional Engineering conduct
Codes (Chapter 2)
Corporate and global codes
Violating the codes
Violating the codes
Case studies
Midterm review

25 W October 28
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38

F October 30
M November 2
W November 4
F November 6
M November 9
W November 11
F November 13
M November 16
W November 18
F November 20
M November 23
W November 25
F November 27

39
40
41
42

M November 30
W December 2
F December 4
M December 7

Ethical Cycle (Chapter


5)

Ethics and Design of


Technology (Chapters 6
and 8)

Ethics and the


Environment (Chapter
10)

Moral problem statement, problem


analysis, and options for action
Ethical evaluation and decision
Biases in decision making
Case studies
Case studies
Problem analysis and design
Decision, detail design, and prototypes
Trade-offs and value conflicts
Ethical aspects of technical risks
Ethical aspects of technical risks
Ethical issues with technology
Case studies
Environment and sustainability
Case studies

Presentations

Course grading
Component
Class participation
Assignments
Midterm
Project
Final Exam

Percent Details
10%
Students are expected to participate in class discussions
10%
All assignments will be due on Moodle before class. Late
assignments will receive a grade of 0.
25%
Date: TBD
30%
Grade distribution: 15% presentation and 15% final
report.
25%
Date: TBD

Honor Code
It is expected that all material for this course will be a students own original work. Students are
not allowed to submit or refer to other students work. Assignments are to be done individually
and any form of collaboration will be considered a violation of the Honor Code.
Note: this syllabus is subject to change