Sustaining Engineering Codes of Ethics for the Twenty-First Century
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
How much responsibility ought a professional engineer to have with regard to supporting basic principles of sustainable development? While within the United States, professional engineering societies, as reflected in their codes of ethics, differ in their responses to this question, none of these professional societies has yet to put the engineer’s responsibility toward sustainability on a par with commitments to public safety, health, and welfare. In this paper, we aim to suggest that sustainability should be included in the paramountcy clause because it is a necessary condition to ensure the safety, health, and welfare of the public. Part of our justification rests on the fact that to engineer sustainably means among many things to consider social justice, understood as the fair and equitable distribution of social goods, as a design constraint similar to technical, economic, and environmental constraints. This element of social justice is not explicit in the current paramountcy clause. Our argument rests on demonstrating that social justice in terms of both inter- and intra-generational equity is an important dimension of sustainability (and engineering). We also propose that embracing sustainability in the codes while recognizing the role that social justice plays may elevate the status of the engineer as public intellectual and agent of social good. This shift will then need to be incorporated in how we teach undergraduate engineering students about engineering ethics.
- Agyeman, J. (2005). Alternatives for community and environment: where justice and sustainability meet. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 47(6), 10–23.
- Agyeman, J., & Evans, T. (2003). Toward just sustainability in urban communities: building equity rights with sustainable solutions. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 590(1), 35–53. CrossRef
- AIChE. (2010). Space for ethics in sustainability. The Reactor. Blog. http://chenected.aiche.org . Accessed 19 April 2010.
- Allenby, B. (2009). Industrial ecology. In J. B. Callicott & R. Frodeman (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy (pp. 517–518). New York: MacMillan Reference.
- Baillie, C., & Catalano, G. (2009). Engineering and society: Working toward social justice. San Rafael, CA: Morgan & Claypool.
- Barry, B. (1999). Sustainability and intergenerational justice. In A. Dobson (Ed.), Fairness and Futurity: Essays on Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice (pp. 43–65). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Bridger, J., & Luloff, A. (1999). Toward an interactional approach to sustainable community development. Journal of Rural Studies, 15(4), 377–387. CrossRef
- Catalano, G. (2006a). Engineering Ethics: Peace, Justice, and the Earth. San Rafael, CA: Morgan & Claypool.
- Catalano, G. (2006b, June). Engineering in a morally deep world: applications and reflections. Paper presented at the 113th annual ASEE conference and exposition, Chicago, IL.
- Craig, P., Glasser, H., & Kempton, W. (1993). Ethics and values in environmental policy. Environmental Values, 2(2), 137–157. CrossRef
- Davis, M. (2001). Three myths about codes of engineering ethics. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 20(3), 8–14. CrossRef
- de Graaff, J. V. (1975). Theoretical Welfare Economics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (first published 1957).
- Dreyer, L. C., Hauschild, M. Z., & Schierbeck, J. (2006). A framework for social life cycle impact assessment. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 11(2), 88–97. CrossRef
- Gibbons, M. (2009). Engineering by the Numbers. Washington, DC: American Society of Engineering Education.
- Herkert, J. (2009). Macroethics in engineering: the case of climate change. In S. H. Christensen, B. Delahousse, & M. Meganck (Eds.), Engineering in Context (pp. 435–445). Aarhus, Denmark: Academica.
- Iverson, D. (1994). Critiques of cost-benefit analysis. Ecological Economics. Online discussion. http://www.fs.fed.us/eco/eco-watch/econcritiques.html. Accessed 25 November 2010.
- Jamieson, D. (1996). Ethics and intentional climate change. Climatic Change, 33(3), 323–336.
- Jamieson, D. (1992). Ethics, public policy, and global warming. Science Technology and Human Values, 17(2), 139–153. CrossRef
- Johnston, R. (1997). A critique of life cycle analysis: paper products. In D. J. Richards (Ed.), The Industrial Green Game (pp. 225–233). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
- Linver, M. R., Davis-Kean, P., & Eccles, J. E. (2002, April). Influences of gender on academic achievement. Paper presented at the biennial meetings of the Society for Research on Adolescence, New Orleans, LA.
- Lucena, J., Schneider, J., & Leydens, J. (2010). Engineering and Sustainable Development. San Rafael: Morgan & Claypool.
- Mihelcic, J., Crittenden, J., Small, M., Shonnard, D., Hokanson, D., Zhang, Q., et al. (2003). Sustainability science and engineering: emergence of a new metadiscipline. Environmental Science and Technology, 37(23), 5314–5324. CrossRef
- Miller, D. (1999). Social justice and environmental goods. In A. Dobson (Ed.), Fairness and Futurity: Essays on Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice (pp. 151–172). Oxford: Oxford University Press. CrossRef
- Mitcham, C. (2009). A historic-ethical perspective on engineering education: from use and convenience to policy engagement. Engineering Studies, 1(1), 35–53. CrossRef
- National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics. (2007). First-time full-time graduate student enrollment in science and engineering increases in 2006 especially among foreign students. Arlington, VA: NSF 08-302.
- Rawls, J. (1971, revised 1999). A Theory of Justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Riley, D. (2008). Engineering and Social Justice. San Rafael: Morgan & Claypool.
- Sagoff, M. (2004). Price, Principle and the Environment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossRef
- Sagoff, M. (2007). The Economy of the Earth: Philosophy, Law and the Environment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossRef
- Scherer, D. (2003). The ethics of sustainable resources. In A. Light & H. Rolston III (Eds.), Environmental Ethics (pp. 334–358). Oxford: Blackwell.
- Slabbert, N. L. (2010). Engineers as visionaries. Mechanical Engineering Magazine, 132(6), 24–26.
- Vesilind, P. A. (2002). Vestal virgins and engineering ethics. Ethics and the Environment, 7(1), 92–101.
- Voorthuis, J., & Gijbels, C. (2010). Cradle-to-cradle as a design theory measured against John Rawls’ theory of justice and Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative. Sustainability, 2, 371–382. CrossRef
- Warnock, M. (2005). Ethics in time. In T. Aldrich (Ed.), About time: Speed Society People and the Environment (pp. 120–132). Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing.
- Sustaining Engineering Codes of Ethics for the Twenty-First Century
Science and Engineering Ethics
Volume 19, Issue 1 , pp 237-258
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Engineering codes of ethics
- Engineering education
- Paramountcy clause
- Social justice