Nowadays, technology has a pervasive and profound effect on the contempory world, and engineering plays a central role in all aspects of technological development. Because of this, it is vital to have an understanding of the ethical implications of engineer works. Engineers must be aware of their social responsibilities and in order to hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public, engineer must be equip themselves to reflect critically on the moral dilemmas they will confront. Therefore, it is a need now to incorporating ethics studies into an engineering undergraduate programme. However, there are also some pros and cons of incorporating ethics studies into an engineering undergraduate programme.
First, there are problems of vagueness. It may be unclear to individuals which, if any, moral considerations or principles may apply to some situation.
Besides that, moral dilemmas occur frequently, although usually there is only moderate difficulty in seeing what should be done. We make a promise to a friend, thereby creating an obligation to do what we have promised. Then our parents become ill and staying home to help them prevents us from keeping the promise. The dilemma, which consists of a conflict between the duty to keep promise and an obligation to one’s parents, is usually resolved by an apologetic phone call to the friend. Or again, we make one promise to our employer and another to a colleague, and it turns out that we cannot keep both. Here the general duty to keep promise has two incompatible applications. For an example, when an engineer has promise to deliver a project or machine that has ordered by the customers in sometime, he should deliver it by the deadline. And not suppose to giving reason for extended the deadline.
And promise is really important for a business. If the engineer did not keep his promise, it is hard for their customers to make orders from them anymore. Therefore , those are the pros of incorporating ethics studies into an engineering programme. So that an engineer could get a proper education in ethics in engineering. With this education, those engineer will be more ethical and have more good behavior to improve humans living quality.
Besides that, there are also some cons of incorporating ethics studies into an engineering undergraduate programme. For example, an engineer could be feeling stressful for studying, remember and memorize those code of ethics. It is because in every country normally will have The Boards Of Engineer. There will be some code of ethics for studying by the engineers in their country. And they normally have to read or memorize those code of ethics point by points. Besides that, there will be also another more code of ethics for studying by the national level engineers.
Studying those code of ethics will also make those engineer have no more their own opinion. They will just works by following the rules and instruction that have been given. They will not have their own opinion of doing things. Any it may also make an engineer can’t even having an idea of creating or invent something. For example, if an engineer want to create something great but this project requires more manpower, materials and money. He will having problem because according to the code of ethics, he should make optimum use of manpower, materials and money.
Therefore, those are the cons of incorporating ethics in engineering undergraduate programme. This will make engineers having difficult come out with something new and improve human living quality.
There also some means of being a professional and ethical for engineers. A professional engineer should have good knowledge, organization and public good. Knowledge means that the work involves exercising sophisticated skills, theoretical knowledge, judgment, and discretion that is not entirely routine or susceptible to mechanization. Generally, continuing education and updating knowledge are also required. While the organization means that special societies and organizations controlled by members of the professions are allowed by the public to play a major role in setting standards for admission to the profession, drafting codes of ethics, enforcing standards of conduct, and representing the profession before the public and the government.
Besides that, there are some codes of ethics that need to followed by a professional engineer such as a professional shall approve and sign only those engineering documents that he has prepared or are prepared under his direct supervisions. A professional engineer also shall not affix his signature to any plan or document dealing with subject matter in which he lacks competence, nor to any plan or document not prepared under his direction and control. Besides that, a professional engineer shall not accept assignment and assume responsibility for coordination of an entire project and sign and stamp the engineering documents for the entire project unless each technical segment of the project is signed and stamped personally by the qualified engineer who has prepared under his direction and control.
In conclusion. Although there are some pros and cons of incorporating ethics studies into an engineering undergraduate programme, but I believe that it is better to incorporating ethics studies into an engineering undergraduate programme because an engineering ethics course is not about preaching virtue so that the immoral and amoral will adopt an established set of belief. Rather, it is means to increase the ability of concerned engineers and others to responsibly confront moral issues raised by technological activity.