A homework assignment is provided for each topic; see below. Additionally, short questions will be presented in class for solving as homework. Please use homework as an opportunity to read around the subject and better understand it. Solutions to homework will not be given, nor will they be assessed. While you are not required to submit your homework solutions to the lecturer, you are welcome to discuss them with us.
- Topic 1:
a) Browse through the course website.
b) Take a copy of the course text book, Fleddermann, browse through it.
c) Follow the links given in the Glossary.
- Topic 2:
a) Read Chapter 1 in the course text book Fleddermann.
b) Read the article: Pinto Madness
c) Think about and discuss "why should you study engineering ethics?
Is it enough to use common understanding of morals to solve an ethical problem?
d) Search the Internet for information and discussions relating to the "Space Shuttle Challenger disaster".
1. Imagine yourself as one of the engineers responsible for the design and production of the Ford Pinto in the 1970's. What would be an appropriate response to managers who force you to approve mass production of the car despite clear evidence that it is not safe?
2. For the same situation in previous question, if you decide to refuse approving and cannot persuade your superiors to stop the production, what is the next thing to do?
3. If you got fired as a consequence of stressing further on the safety issue of the Pinto, would you consider suing the company? Whose financial and legal support would you expect to have in this situation? Do you think it is ethical to get support from a rival motor company to cover the expenses of the case?
4. Consider yourself in a position responsible for the Challenger project in 1986, before the launch of the Challenger. Which position would you prefer: The vice-president for engineering at Morton Thiokol, a Morton Thoikol engineer, or NASA's Marshall Manager? If you were in one of these guys' shoes, would you act differently?
5. It is known that there exists a clear correlation between control of corruption and prosperity. This means, roughly speaking, that we will get richer as we prevent corruption. Do you think that this can be a motive to conduct and encourage ethical practices, in other words, can we suggest people to act ethically to get richer? Do you see anything wrong with this proposition?
- Topic 3:
a) Read Chapter 2 in the course text book Fleddermann.
b) Find out more about the IEEE and the NSPE by visiting their websites: www.nspe.org and www.ieee.org.
c) Read the full details of the NSPE code of ethics.
d) From the course web site follow links to more codes of ethics.
1. Consider the Declaration of Geneva, which is a modern version of the Hippocratic Oath for medical doctors. If the same declaration were used for the profession of engineering, which statements would be appropriate and which would be irrelevant in your opinion?
2. Taking into account the basic features of a profession that have been mentioned in the lecture, name three jobs that are professions and three jobs that are not professions. For the latter, explain your reasoning clearly indicating which feature of a profession the jobs fail to possess.
3. Try to write down a mission statement, code of ethics and a code of conduct for the course EEE 100. Will the two codes be the same? Which applies to the teachers, which to the students?
3. In the lecture, mission and vision statements of two organizations are given. Are you a member of a student club or team? If so, does your club or team have mission and vision statements? If the answer is no, try to create these statements yourself.
4. In the lecture, IEEE code of ethics, NSPE code of ethics, House of Commons code of conduct, and CERN code of conduct are given as examples. Common to all these codes, name at least five qualities all professional engineers should have.
5. Do we have professional organizations for electrical and electronics engineers in Turkey? Do these organizations have codes of ethics or conduct? Please research.
- Topic 4:
a) Read Chapter 3 in the course text book Fleddermann.
b) Consider the IEEE code of ethics, and read carefully all ten statements in the code. For each statement, try to determine which theory is used as a basis, i.e. is the statement based upon utilitarianism, duty and right ethics, virtue ethics, or a combination? Explain your reasoning.
c) Think about an engineering problem that will yield two different solutions when tackled with two different ethical theories.
d) Discuss with your friends the nuclear energy issue and the possibility of a nuclear disaster. Do you think that it is ethical to build a nuclear plant being aware of the possibility of a disaster based on the theory of utilitarianism? What about the other theories? Do they yield different results?
e) Based on the previous question, assume that a nuclear power plant in a neighbouring country has broken down, leading to leakage of harmful radiation. Who gets hurt by this leakage, and is it the same people as the ones who benefited from the energy supplied by the plant? How can you explain the ethical problem here with a cost-benefit viewpoint?
Consider the following news story (news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8356343.stm):
Women die in Ghana mine collapseQuestions:
Many people dig in pits hoping to strike some of Ghana's large gold reserves At least 15 people working in an illegal gold mine in western Ghana were killed when the mine collapsed. Thirteen of those who died in the privately owned gold mine in Dompoase town were women, police told the BBC. The accident, which officials described as the country's worst mining disaster, happened on Tuesday when about 30 people were working in the mine. Police have said they fear that more bodies will be recovered from the collapsed mine. "This is the biggest mining tragedy that has ever hit Ghana," western region police chief Kojo Antwi Tabi told Agence France Presse. "The government must take measures to control the activities of miners," he added. The BBC's Casper Leighton in the capital, Accra, says Ghana has large gold reserves and alongside the multinational mining companies, locals dig pits in the hopes of striking gold themselves. Safety measures are poor or nonexistent, he says. While men generally do the digging it is often women who carry out the soil for sorting. Police say they are looking into the possibility of criminal negligence but that the owner of the mine was one of those killed.
a) Who are the people responsible for this disaster? Is it possible to accuse one person alone as the primary suspect?
b) Describe the ethical problems related with this disaster in terms of the people who are responsible.
c) Describe the ethical misconduct of each person involved, and explain how this behaviour is linked with the ethical theory it refers to.
d) Does the fact that the mine owner was also killed in the mine collapse change his ethical responsibility? Explain.
- Topic 5:
1. Consider the Fort Pinto case discussed in detail in Lecture 1. Use the line drawing method to determine whether the Ford Engineers acted ethically or not. Does the flow charting method give the same answer to the problem?
2. For the Challenger disaster example in Lecture 1, what would be the positive and negative paradigms in your opinion?
3. Apply the line drawing method to the nuclear power plant problem in the fourth homework question of Lecture 4.
4. We will have a midterm exam in a few weeks. time. Suppose that you have found the solution manual of the course textbook while surfing in the internet and have a strong feeling that the exam will consist of these questions.
a. What are the possible decisions you can make?
b. What are the positive and negative paradigms?
c. Is it ethical to keep the questions for yourself?
d. Is it ethical to tell your close friends registered to the course about it?
e. Is it ethical to distribute the questions to everyone registered to the course?
5. For the same imaginary case in Question 4, assume that the questions you reached were in a password-protected area that you broke into, and you are absolutely sure that they will be asked in the exam. Repeat parts a-e.
6. For the two cases in Questions 4 and 5 above, use the line drawing and flow charting techniques to reach a clear conclusion.
7. Use your imagination to find examples to the following extreme cases:
a. A case of a 1 TL worth gift that is definitely a bribe
b. A case of a 1000 TL worth gift that is definitely not a bribe
- Topic 6:
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- Topic 9:
- Topic 10: