Civic and Professional Ethics for Engineers

Universidad de Deusto - Bilbao

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Civic and Professional Ethics for Engineers

  • Host University

    Universidad de Deusto - Bilbao

  • Location

    Bilbao, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Ethics

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

    60
  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    6
  • Overview

    DESCRIPTION

    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.

     

    CONTENTS
    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
    ORGANIZATIONAL ETHICS
    * Professional Codes.
    * Organizational ethics
    * Specific cases: Companies / Public Administration / NGOs

    METHODOLOGY
    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
    them.

    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
    contents.
    * 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.

    ASSESSMENT
    - CONTINUOUS ASSESSMENT (70%):
    Individual Reports (20%)
    Debate (15%)
    Presentation (15%)
    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.

    READINGS
    Basic Readings:
    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
    cases, South-Western
    Web pages:
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: http://plato.stanford.edu/

Course Disclaimer

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.