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Engineers, Emotions, and Ethics

Engineers, Emotions, and Ethics
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Author(s): Michael Davis (Illinois Institute of Technology, USA)
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 11
Source title: Contemporary Ethical Issues in Engineering
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Satya Sundar Sethy (Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8130-9.ch001


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This chapter tries to answer the question: What part, if any, should emotion have in making engineering decisions? The chapter is, in effect, a critical examination of the view, common even among engineers, that a good engineer is not only accurate, laconic, orderly, and practical but also free of emotion. The chapter has four parts. The first, the philosophical, provides a critical analysis of the term “emotion.” The second and third parts show how that analysis helps us understand the relation between emotion and engineering. It explicates what a reasonable emotion is. These two sections are organized around an ethical problem concerning management's rejection of engineering judgment. The fourth part, the pedagogical, delineates how we should develop a curriculum for a course in engineering ethics. It suggests teachers of engineering ethics should take time in class to help students accept the fact that engineering has an emotional side, for example, that doing good engineering is likely to delight them and doing bad engineering to depress them.

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