Engineering Ethics (PHIL402)
Dr. Cory Wright Dr. Nellie Wieland
Tuesdays & Thursdays · 2:00pm–3:15pm · LA5–149
This course is an exploratory investigation of the practical application of classical normative theories to issues in engineering professions. To carry out this investigation, the course will first rehearse some of the concepts and principles of these theories in the moral domain: Aristotelian virtue, Pricean intuition, Kantian maxims, Millian utility, etc. Next, it will shift to discussion of practical application: how shall we deploy these concepts and principles about the moral standards of rightness and wrongness that govern action into workaday professional circumstances? Along the way, the course will also involve the analysis of an array of case studies from aeronautical, civil, electrical, mechanical, chemical and biomedical, agricultural, and architectural engineering. Topics may include technological malfunction; civil disasters; the regulation of vehicular systems; weapons delivery systems; value-sensitive design in machine learning; ethical issues in human × robot interaction; feeding overpopulation; geoengineering; ethics of chemical synthesis; plastics and leaded gasoline; bacteria-resistant drugs; growing in vitro meat; and, finally, the development, maintenance, and dismantling of techno-industrial aspects of society.
GE/GR areas: upper-division C (humanities) and WI (writing)