About the Engineering Ethics Blog
A good engineer both does things right, and does the right thing. Doing things right is what engineers learn from the technical parts of an engineering education: classes on differential equations, lab experiments that demonstrate how materials perform, and so on. Doing the right thing, on the other hand, is not just a technical problem. It has to do with questions like "Who will buy this product? What will they do with it? Could it hurt anybody? Was anyone treated unfairly during the development process?"
These types of questions draw upon more than technical knowledge (though technical knowledge is vital)—they test an engineer's character. And these types of questions—questions about how to do the right thing and avoid the wrong thing in engineering—are what engineering ethics is about.
Strictly speaking, engineering ethics is a division of professional ethics, and professional ethics is a division of moral philosophy. But that is just speaking like an academic, which I try not to do, even though I am one. (I teach in the School of Engineering at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas). In this blog, I take a much broader view of engineering ethics, and deal with subjects as diverse as disasters that involve technical matters, movies with an engineering ethics or technical angle, and even philosophical and religious questions that engineers might have to deal with. I have a notoriously short attention span, so one week's post is likely to be completely unrelated to the following week's post. But whatever the topic, I try to stick to one main point and make the question—and my proposed answer, response, or opinion—as clear as possible, in about a thousand words. Sources and references for topics discussed are given at the bottom of each blog entry. While some of the topics are serious, I try not to take myself too seriously, even though engineering ethics is a serious and important matter.
Comments below each blog are welcome, although I should let you know that I personally filter them and as a matter of policy, no comment with a link to a commercial site is posted. You can also contact me directly by email at kdstephan(at)txstate.edu.
I extend a cordial welcome to you and hope you find something worth reading.