Between Individual and Organization: Reinterpreting the Challenger Disaster and Finding an Interface between STS and Engineering Ethics

개인과 조직 사이에서: 챌린저호 폭발사고에 대한 재해석과 STS-공학윤리의 접점 찾기

  • Sung, Han-Ah (Interdisplinary Program in History and Philosophy of Science, Seoul National University) ;
  • Hong, Sung-Ook (Department of Biological Science, Seoul National University)
  • 성한아 (서울대학교 과학사 및 과학철학 협동과정) ;
  • 홍성욱 (서울대학교 생명과학부)
  • Received : 2011.12.13
  • Accepted : 20110000
  • Published : 2012.01.31

Abstract

On the grounds of Diane Vaughan's pioneering study into the Challenger Disaster, STS(Science and Technology Studies) scholars have recently argued that most engineers seldom face an ethical situation, in which the boundary between the ethical and the unethical is absolutely clear, and for which a serious moral decision such as "whistle blowing" is urgently needed. They have instead suggested that engineering ethics needs to address engineers' everyday routine practices, which, if accumulated, may have some impact upon the overall performance of the technological system. However, such studies have not completely resolved the tension between STS that emphasizes contextual elements in which the everyday practice of engineers are done, on the one hand, and engineering ethics that stresses individual engineer's moral decision of an existential kind, on the other. By discussing various works on the Challenger Disaster and related issues over technological risks, this paper attempts to establish an interface between STS and engineering ethics, and proposes some practical implications for the effective education of engineering ethics to engineering students.

Keywords

STS;Science and Technology Studies;Engineering Ethics;Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster;Normalization of Deviance;Acceptable Risk;Diane Vaughan;Pinto Case

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