Fundamentals of Ethics for Scientists and Engineers

  • 6h 1m
  • Edmund Seebauer, Robert L. Barry
  • Oxford University Press (US) Engineering
  • 2001

Fundamentals of Ethics for Scientists and Engineers represents a new approach to introductory ethics that is both practical and accessible. Classical virtue theory is employed to provide a time-tested, simple, and easily remembered basis for ethical reasoning. The text is modularized for easy use in both stand-alone ethics courses and as self-contained units within engineering core courses. The text is accompanied by an instructor’s manual that includes a comprehensive set of sample lectures and course assignments, detailed homework solutions, and many helpful hints for teaching an ethics course.

To ground the ethical analysis in practical reality, each chapter contains a real-life case together with several fictional cases. The fictional cases breathe renewed vigor into the study of ethics by employing a new learning device: the ethical serial.” Each functional case can be understood individually, but the cases are also unified by the use of a single set of college-aged characters whose personalities are developed throughout the book. These characters mimic real people far more closely than those in other texts and act in situations that are directly familiar to students.

The book is composed of four units. The first two focus on ethical reasoning, outlining within the context of science and engineering the notions of character formation and intention central to virtue theory. To prepare students to handle complex ethical questions, these units extend virtue theory in a readily understandable way, accounting systematically for the consequences that follow an ethical decision. The second two units focus on practical issues such as intellectual property, conflict of interest, whistle blowing, and authorship in scientific publication. These units also treat more advanced topics like risk, resource allocation, conflicting ethical methods, and intuition in ethical decision making.

About the Authors

Edmund G. Seebauer is Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Author of about 75 publications and one patent in surface science and microelectronic processing, he is the first to successfully use measurements of surface chemical kinetics in ultrahigh vacuum for quantitative a priori process development. He has received awards in both science and engineering including an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, a Sloan Foundation Fellowship in chemistry, and an Inventor Recognition Award from Semiconductor Research Corporation. He also holds two awards for undergraduate teaching.

Robert L. Barry is a well-known ethicist who has appeared on national television programs such as “Face the Nation” and “Meet the Press.” He holds the rank of Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and regularly develops programs in ethics education for Air Force commanders. He has written extensively in various fields of ethics, contributing to more than 70 articles and three books. He was a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow and has taught for many years, most recently at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In this Book

  • Approaching the Subject of Ethics
  • The Person and the Virtues
  • Analyzing Exterior Acts: Some First Steps
  • Analyzing Interior Intentions: Some First Steps
  • Toward a Hierarchy of Moral Values
  • Starting Moral Judgments: Evaluating Exterior Acts
  • Completing Moral Judgments: The Decisive Role of Intention
  • Moral Responsibility
  • Truth: Person-to-Person
  • Truth: Social
  • Fairness: Person-to-Person
  • Fairness: Social
  • Resource Allocation
  • Risk
  • Dealing with Differing Ethical Systems
  • Habit and Intuition
  • Cases—The Rest of the Story