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Course Details

Spring 2012-2013
* CBE 260 / EGR 260 (EM)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Ethics and Technology: Engineering in the Real World

Jay B. Benziger

This course examines engineering as a profession and the responsibilities of that profession to society. Professional responsibilities of engineers are compared to those of lawyers, doctors, scientists and businessmen. Ethical theories are introduced as frameworks to guide decisions of technology implementation. Simple quantitative decision making concepts, including risk-benefit analysis, are introduced as a method for engineers to make ethically optimal choices.

Sample reading list:
David Noble, America by Design
Loren Graham, The Ghost of the Executed Engineer
Samuel Florman, The Existential Pleasures of Engineering
Douglas Birsch and John H. Fielder, The Ford Pinto Case: a study in applied ethics, business...
Garrett Hardin, Tragedy of the Commons
L. Winner, Do Artifacts Have Politics

Reading/Writing assignments:
Three short papers (2-3 pages) based on precept material. In the second half of the term, students will carry out an independent analysis of a technology and examine the ethical issues facing engineers in implementing the technology (topics include energy, environmental, automotive and other technologies). Oral presentations and annotated bibliographies will be presented on these analyses.

Mid Term Exam - 15%
Final Exam - 20%
Design Project - 20%
Papers - 25%
Class/Precept Participation - 20%

Other information:
There will be 6-8 special class sessions to view movies relevant to technology development, e.g. "Who Killed the Electric Car", "The Day After Trinity". Enrollment in precepts will be done using SCORE.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
41621 L01 11:00:00 am - 11:50:00 am T Th   Friend Center   112   Enrolled:8 Limit:15
42466 F01 07:30:00 pm - 10:20:00 pm Th   Friend Center   112   Enrolled:8 Limit:15
41622 P01 07:30:00 pm - 08:20:00 pm T   Friend Center   112   Enrolled:8 Limit:15
41624 P02 03:30:00 pm - 04:20:00 pm Th        Enrolled:0 Limit:0 Canceled