A historico-ethical perspective on engineering education: From use and convenience to policy engagement

TitleA historico-ethical perspective on engineering education: From use and convenience to policy engagement
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsMitcham, C.
Secondary TitleEngineering Studies
ISBN Number1937-8629
Keywordscodes of ethics, engineering education, engineering ethics, future of engineering, history of engineering, policy turn, post-engineering
Abstract

In the United States, professional ethics has become a standard part of engineering education. Such educational practice has an intellectual history that invites critical reflection. This article constitutes one such reflection, oriented not so much toward historical knowledge or the production of more engineers as toward developing a critical appreciation of engineering from a broad historico-ethical perspective. The argument advances through three main sections. After an untitled introduction, one section provides a partial narrative overview of the historical emergence of and debates about codes of professional conduct in engineering ethics, highlighting the mid-twentieth-century articulation of engineers as having a paramount responsibility to protect public safety, health, and welfare. Another considers some of the ways engineering ethics so construed and associated codes have been introduced into engineering curricula through textbooks. A third section and conclusion consider contemporary discussions of potential transformations in engineering ethics, especially the idea of a policy turn, and in the process challenge the future of engineering ethics while raising the possibility of a discipline that might be called ’post-engineering.’

URLhttp://www.informaworld.com/10.1080/19378620902725166