The Ethical Engineer: Contemporary Concepts and Cases

An exploration of the ethics of practical engineering through analyses of eighteen rich case studies


Feb 13, 2018
6 x 9.25 in.
10 halftones. 15 line illus.
Buy This

The Ethical Engineer explores ethical issues that arise in engineering practice, from technology transfer to privacy protection to whistle-blowing. Presenting key ethics concepts and real-life examples of engineering work, Robert McGinn illuminates the ethical dimension of engineering practice and helps students and professionals determine engineers’ context-specific ethical responsibilities.

McGinn highlights the “ethics gap” in contemporary engineering—the disconnect between the meager exposure to ethical issues in engineering education and the ethical challenges frequently faced by engineers. He elaborates four “fundamental ethical responsibilities of engineers” (FEREs) and uses them to shed light on the ethical dimensions of diverse case studies, including ones from emerging engineering fields. The cases range from the Union Carbide pesticide plant disaster in India to the Google Street View project. After examining the extent to which the actions of engineers in the cases align with the FEREs, McGinn recapitulates key ideas used in analyzing the cases and spells out the main lessons they suggest. He identifies technical, social, and personal factors that induce or press engineers to engage in misconduct and discusses organizational, legal, and individual resources available to those interested in ethically responsible engineering practice.

Combining probing analysis and nuanced ethical evaluation of engineering conduct in its social and technical contexts, The Ethical Engineer will be invaluable to engineering students and professionals.

  • Meets the need for engineering-related ethics study
  • Elaborates four fundamental ethical responsibilities of engineers
  • Discusses diverse, global cases of ethical issues in established and emerging engineering fields
  • Identifies resources and options for ethically responsible engineering practice
  • Provides discussion questions for each case