Teaching Engineering Ethics across National Borders

  • Published : 2007.06.30


Recently there has arisen an increasing world-wide emphasis on teaching ethics within the engineering curriculum. Much of the teaching has relied on the use of an American model emphasizing autonomy and professional identification. This paper argues that this model is inadequate when engineering is seen in a global perspective, because different cultural values are dominant throughout the world, some of which stand in sharp contrast to traditional Western values based on the primacy of the individual. A new global engineering ethics thus needs to be constructed which takes into account a variety of different cultural values and local circumstances, but which is able to serve as a uniting ethical foundation for engineers throughout the world. The paper suggests that the development of a global code of engineering ethics would be a fruitful way to pursue such a strategy.


  1. Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (2005). Engineering Criteria 2000. Http://www.abet.org/forms.shtml
  2. Clark, S.(2000). Engineering Ethics in Japanese Corporations: A View from the Field. EAJ (Engineering Academy of Japan) Information, No. 97
  3. Didier, C.(2002). Why There Are No Engineering Ethics in France: An Historical Interpretation," Centre d'Ethique Contemporaine, Universite Catholique de Lille, unpublished manuscript
  4. Harris, C.E., Jr., Pritchard, M.S., and Rabin, M.J.(2004) Engineering Ethics: Concepts and Cases. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing
  5. Iino, H.(2001). Teaching Engineering Ethics in Japan. Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Education, Oslo, Norway
  6. Luegenbiehl, H.C. (1983). Codes of ethics and the moral education of engineers. Business and Professional Ethics Journal, 2(4): 41-61
  7. Luegenbiehl, H.C. (1996). Engineering Ethics Education in the U.S. Bilingual Japanese/English. Tokyo: Engineering Academy of Japan, No. 61
  8. Luegenbiehl, H.C. (2003). Themes for an International Code of Engineering Ethics. Proceedings of the 2003 ASEE/WFEO International Colloquium. Nashville, TN: American Society for Engineering Education
  9. Luegenbiehl, H.C. (2004). Ethical Autonomy and Engineering in a Cross-Cultural Context. Techne: Research in Philosophy and Technology, 8(1): e-journal
  10. Martin, M. and Schinzinger, R.(1983). Ethics in Engineering. New York: McGraw-Hill
  11. Mitcham, C. and Duval, R.S.(1999). Engineering Ethics. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall
  12. National Society of Professional Engineers (2006). Code of Ethics. Http://www.nspe.org/ ethics/eh1-code.asp
  13. Unger, S.H.(1982). Controlling Technology: Ethics and the Responsible Engineer. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston
  14. Vesilind, P.A and Gunn, A.S.(1998) Engineering, Ethics and the Environment. New York: Cambridge University Press
  15. Whitbeck, C.(1998). Ethics in Engineering Practice and Research. New York: Cambridge University Press