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Religious Ethics, General Ethics, and Engineering Ethics: A Reflection

Religious Ethics, General Ethics, and Engineering Ethics: A Reflection
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Author(s): P. R. Bhat (Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India)
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.ch007


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The objective of this chapter is to examine the underpinning relation among religious ethics, general ethics, and engineering ethics. We, the human beings, belong to one religion or the other by birth and/or by practice. There is hardly any society that is non-religious, and every major religion has religion-based ethics. Every evolved religion promotes values such as honesty, truthfulness, nonviolence, helping the needy, etc. These values are developed by major religions, such as Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, etc. All these values together constitute our understanding about general ethics. Fortunately, many religions prescribe similar values, and these values are considered as general ethics, which the chapter delineates in detail. The chapter also elucidates why we have not considered agnostics' and atheists' views on religious ethics even if general ethical principles are based on religious ethics. Further, what is the need to have professional ethics such as engineering ethics when we already have religious and general ethics? The chapter argues “engineering ethics” as a professional ethics would be an autonomous system and would be independent of religious ethics and general ethics. The reason for this claim is professionals need to perform their duties in accordance with their professional codes of conduct, and not based on their religious ethics or general ethics. The chapter submits that engineering ethics is an autonomous ethics even if it has values that resemble religious or general ethics.

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