Civic and Professional Ethics for Engineers
Universidad de Deusto - Bilbao
Area of Study
Taught In English
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits4
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units6
Hours & Credits
University student education in the nowadays business world needs to incorporate the ethical dimension that affects both the individual in their professional performance and the company as an organization. For this purpose it is important for the student to be knowledgeable about the major ethical systems that have marked human thought and are still applicable in our culture. Also required is a deep study of the ethical dimensions of the company's activity, thus enabling students to analyze issues incorporating justice as an unavoidable critical instance. The practice of Engineering is a source of citizenship. It resembles a real and effective possibility for an active and responsible participation in our society. Participation that is based on the development of the rights and obligations inherently incorporated in our condition as members of social groups, with the Human Rights perspective as an unavoidable horizon. By implementing this approach we intend to contribute to our university will to educate graduates who are specially sensitive towards, and concerned about, the human being and the improvement of society thus contributing with their work to the respect for the fundamental rights and the promotion of equality and democratic culture, at the same time as they help to develop more just, inclusive and egalitarian societies.
UNIT 1: TECHNO-SIENTIFIC PHENOMENON AND ITS SOCIAL RELEVANCE
* Technological revolution and its social implications (economy, politics, culture).
* Science, Technology and Society
* The social challenges of technoscience
UNIT 2: TECHNOSCIENCE AND CITIZENSHIP
* The unavoidable ethical dimension of Technoscience.
* Human Rights as the ethical guide for techoscientific activities.
* Citizenship as a social category from the Human Rights perspective.
UNIT 3: ENGINEERING AS A PROFESSION
* Professionalism: a specific way of citizenship.
* Engineering as a profession: its social contribution
* Complementarity between Citizen ethics and Professional ethics
UNIT 4: PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND ITS PRINCIPLES
* Professional Ethics
* Beneficence / Autonomy / Justice.
* Deviations in professional ethics.
UNIT 5: RESPONSIBILITY AS A CENTRAL CATEGORY IN ENGINEERING
* Risk: definition, characteristics and management.
* The virtue of the Prudence. Facing moral dilemmas.
* Moral responsibility. Responsibility in Engineering.
UNIT 6: REGULATORY FRAMES: PROFESSIONAL DEONTOLOGY AND
* Professional Codes.
* Organizational ethics
* Specific cases: Companies / Public Administration / NGOs
The strategy is based on a simultaneous development of the theoretical contents and the
practical activities, both in class and outside it, looking for a progressive feedback between
Each Unit is structured according to the following activities:
- Initial presentation by the Lecturer, introducing the general structure of the unit and the basic
concepts, pointing out its relevance and putting them in relation with the rest of the units.
- GROUP ACTIVITY: Report written in class by each group about questions raised in a text
about actual implications of the unit contents, to motivate the reflection about these unit
* PRESENTATION of the Unit performed by one group. The group will use the contents raised
in the first two activities, as well as bibliography and other relevant documents. At the end of
the Presentation, students will deliver a short manuscript with their findings related with their
personal professional ethics. It will be evaluated and incorporated to the final individual mark
on the task. Attending alums will also evaluate the Group that has performed the presentation.
- Final conclusions by the Lecturer, stressing some points raised during the previous activities
and answering questions presented by students.
In parallel to this unit-based structure, the course will include the following activities:
* In class DEBATES. Debates will be performed between two groups of students and the topic
will be related to relevant ethical questions in engineering. The position to be defended during
the debate should be prepared by each group by means of bibliographical search, argument
elaboration, etc. Before the debate, each group must prepare a written dossier with a general
description of its position and the basic arguments that will be used. During the debate, every
member of the group must participate at least once. At the end of the Debate, attending alums
will deliver a short manuscript with their findings related with their personal professional ethics.
It will be evaluated and incorporated to the final individual mark on the task. Students will also
evaluate the Groups that have performed the debate.
- INDIVIDUAL Exercises: Once per month, students will deliver an individual written report
about some specific ethical questions in engineering. These reports will be individually checked
and commented in classroom.
- TEXT READING: At least once during the semester, the student will perform a written report
about a text. The contents of that report must include a critical vision of the ideas offered by the
text, making connections with different topics of the civic and professional ethics. The report
will be individually checked and commented in classroom.
All the written reports must be entirely original. Non-original texts must be properly cited and
should constitute a minor part of the whole paper.
- CONTINUOUS ASSESSMENT (70%):
Individual Reports (20%)
Group Activities in classroom (10%)
Report on text Reading (10%)
- FINAL EVALUATION (Final Exam) (30%)
50% in the continuous evaluation is required to pass the subject. In the case that a student does
not pass the continuous evaluation, 75% of its total value could be reevaluated by means of
different activities to be performed before the final exam.
Davis, M. (2009). Is engineering a profession everywhere? Philosophia, 37, 211-225.
Tavani, H. (2004), Ethics and Technology: Ethical Issues in an Age of Information and
Communication Technology, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons; Second Edition, 2007
Van den Hoven, J. and J. Weckert (2008), Information Technology and Moral Philosophy,
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Weiss, J. W. (2009): Business ethics : a stakeholder and issues management approach with
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: http://plato.stanford.edu/
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.
Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.
Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.