Understanding Engineering Professionalism: A Reflection on the Rights of Engineers

TitleUnderstanding Engineering Professionalism: A Reflection on the Rights of Engineers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsStieb, J. A.
Secondary TitleScience and Engineering Ethics
ISBN Number1353-3452
KeywordsAltruism, codes of ethics, NSPE, Professionalism, Rights, virtue

Engineering societies such as the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and associated entities have defined engineering and professionalism in such a way as to require the benefit of humanity (NSPE 2009a, Engineering Education Resource Document. NSPE Position Statements. Governmental Relations). This requirement has been an unnecessary and unfortunate "add-on." The trend of the profession to favor the idea of requiring the benefit of humanity for professionalism violates an engineer’s rights. It applies political pressure that dissuades from inquiry, approaches to new knowledge and technologies, and the presentation, publication, and use of designs and research findings. Moreover, a more politically neutral definition of engineering and/or professionalism devoid of required service or benefit to mankind does not violate adherence to strong ethical standards.