Code of Ethics
In history, code of ethics has a significant place in many professional. Their present form has perhaps outlived their usefulness. Reference to codes can be assumed to be typically of all professionals. It seems to be an important piece of information if one is proceeding on the assumptions that the codes are meant to be a set of ethical rules that are to govern engineers and philosephers in their professional lives. According to Luegenbiehl (1983), synopsis will show how avoidance of the codes by the respondents to the survey is justified. This is because the codes of ethics, in their present form, should not be utilized as a set of ethical rules of behavior. Initially, the attempt to provide such a set of rules is not justifiable. The literature below will demonstrate how the codes of ethics can be replaced by asset of “guides for ethical decision-making.”
In order to clarify the problems that engineering code of ethics faces, the motivation at work need to be recognized. At infancy period of engineering, the models that are available for emulation are those provided by traditional professions of law, medicine, and theology. Engineers believed that the status granted to the other professions could be theirs through the formation of professional organizations and through the devising codes of ethics that is modeled on those other professionals. In this regard, the motives of engineers need to be questioned. The leadership of engineering is majorly concerned with strengthening the standing accorded to engineering activities and engineers by the public (Luegenbiehl 83).
According to Edwin, “Engineering professional have made the fundamental aim, and other professional aim and professional values mean to come to an end.” For engineers to gain more status, their profession should show a greater sense of social responsibility. The organizations of engineers have overlooked their unique role in society, a role that could not be expressed simply in terms of the traditional professional relationship. Codes that were presented earlier failed to take into account the widespread consequences of work that is done by the engineers. Instead, they obligate engineers primarily to their immediate employers. Engineers should consider the protection of a clients or employer’s interest during professional obligations. Therefore, they should avoid any act that is contrary to their duties.
For instance, the decision made by engineers can affect the lives of thousands, or even millions, of people, such as in the instance of the widely publicized door look case. Initially, engineers who use early codes looked at possible disastrous consequences of their decisions particularly in terms of the interest of the client or employer. The recent codes have attempted to shift the focus away from a sole concern with an employee or a client. It has set a tone of limited responsibility that engineers have set to overcome. The primary focus of most of the early codes has resulted from the relationship between engineers.
Over the last 70 years, the emphasis in the codes has changed significantly especially with the regard to the public health and safety. However, codes that are more recent have emphasized on questions about the safety of the public, public disclosure, and quality of life. There have given the codes a less restrictive scope of concern. They have retained their focus on employers and matters of professional courtesy and etiquette. In the current codes, the mixtures of ethics and fraternal concerns in the current codes link themselves to their predecessors. When the codes are re-examining, it ultimately raises questions about the very nature of the code themselves. The code of engineers in 1947 is of great significance because it demonstrates awareness by the profession of responsibilities beyond those toward the clients and profession.
The following are mixtures of ethical and fraternal concerns:
- How engineers will use knowledge and skills to enhance human welfare
- Engineers should be honest and impartial, and should serve with fidelity to the public, their employers, and clients.
- They should strive to increase the competence and prestige of the engineering professional.
- Engineers should support the professional and technical societies of their disciplines.
The code of ethics does not provide a particular way of resolving the conflicts on the level of principles. Philosophical, a number of engineering organizations have adopted the general principles of the code and does not specify the rules that are associated with them. There is some evidence that these either would reject some of the specific rules or would be opposed to the specific nature of the interpretations concerning the rules. The more specific the rule becomes, the more likely are to be interpreted as having an exception less character that is absolute.
Modification of codes needs a concrete injunction that is laid down for engineers. This approach leads to a reversion of early codes, where only a brief statement of exhortations prefers the concrete rules practice. Luegenbiehl state that, “The notion of foundational principle is objected to the code that would at least need to be described as a method for resolving possible conflicts” (p. 120). There must be an implicitly and a higher court of appeal than the contents that rule themselves. According to the codes of ethics, “All engineers must act as faithful agents or trustees in professional or business matters, provided that such actions can conform to other parts of the codes.” If paramount, this model can be interpreted in the strong sense of overriding. It will establish a hierarchy of rules such that the responsibility of engineers to the society will be interpreted as a way of solving conflicts between rules. The previous code does not address the basic problem found in other code, namely, the coercive nature of the codes. Therefore, engineers must accept this foundation in order to be considered an ethical engineer by profession.
A certain standard of non-moral behavior can be demanded as a condition of membership in an organization. Engineers are known to be autonomous moral agents. Thus, the codes of ethics are currently formulated, and provide an unacceptable pathway to certain moral behavior. Justifications of engineers do not tell engineers what they must do in specific circumstances. Instead, it helps in the decision-making process in situations that would not arise in their everyday lives. According to Speight, James, and Russell (2011), engineers are supposed to use the guides with the conjunction with their own justified moral foundation so that to evaluate a particular situation from the moral point of view. They should undertake any assignment that will create a potential conflict of interest that might either require or not the engineer to take necessary steps so that to determine whether or not a potential conflict of interest exists (p. 124).
The engineer must not only be educated so that to make technical decisions on their own, but they must also learn how to make decisions regarding morality. In regard to this review, the first step for engineers is the formulation of an adequate foundation on which they can base there actions. They need to be taught to look beneath their intuitive reactions to situations so that to discover a common basis for their actions. They must examine this foundation critically to see if it can indeed serve as a consistent under supporting the basis for their actions.
Philosophers can undertake this part of educational process. Therefore, engineers must gain familiarity with the application of their own foundation to practical moral problems. Engineers who practice the use of moral ethics are familiar with specific details that arise in such contexts, and they must, therefore, share the burden of preparing future engineers beyond the technical dimensions of their work. In this respect, guides for ethical engineers should be helpful. The mixture of concerns in the existing codes is responsible for much of confusion that surrounds the codes; therefore, engineers should concentrate on fundamental issues. Laying out actual rules of normative would designate areas of concern for practicing engineers. The government must put emphasis on educating engineer to the ability that engineers can apply a rational chosen ethical foundation to specific engineer’s situation (Speight, James, and Russell 11).
A business entity should have an environmental responsibility based on ethical expectations. Observing the ethics helps to ensure that the humans show general responsibility towards the non-human world. According to the platform of moral approach, it is very unethical for the business to play a part in environmental pollution. There are diverse dimensions that engage the business in the environmental conservation efforts, such as fossil fuels, soil erosion, animals, and forestry. The moral responsibility of the business is major to take a definite stand on matters of environmental value.
The engineering fields have developed a number of comprehensive approaches towards the conservation of fossil fuels and other natural resources. Agricultural Engineering departments have been on the fore front of leading the fight against deforestation as discussed by Engels and Marx, (1967). Moderate usage of chemical fertilisers has also been proposed to farmers in order to build on the environmental conservation efforts. The defloration of the ozone layer is a real threat to the environment. The ultra violet rays cause skin cancer. The Engineering disciplines have always led from the front in developing strategies that can be implemented in the effort to preserve the environment. It goes without the emphasis that a healthy nation is indeed a wealthy nation.
According to Spafford (1992), the minimum standard requirement for environmental conservation by businesses has also been analyzed in details. It is been proposed that with a responsible business entity, there would be less requirement for government intervention. The managerial approach of policy enhancements would apply less. Lawful observation of responsibility roles would ensure that moral minimums are met. Business firms would not only be driven by the prospects of getting more profit by also by the desire to attain an environmental conducive society (p. 51).
Computers form the major foundation for technology development. There are, however, increasing cases of computer hackings. There is a dynamic evolution of the computer era. It is projected that in the future, nearly all-human operation shall be centered on computer development and the information technology. It becomes an unethical practice for the cyber-crimes that continue to occur on daily trend. According to Engels and Marx (1967), emails are a fundamental channel for internet communication. There should, however, be a proper way in which the hackings can be stopped. The information technology departments have, in partnerships with the relevant security bodies, such as the FBI in the United States of America launched criminal sectors that handle computer-related crimes.
The individuals who break into the systems to access information that does not belong to them gravely break the code of moral responsibility. Many of the hackers may argue their cases that in the hacking, they follow the ethics that states that all information should be free (Spafford 92). It calls for a clear understanding of the boundaries that limit the access of private information. The appropriate prosecution should be taken in such cases so as to ensure that there is no blatant abuse of computers.
A number of excuses have been advanced by the abusers as to defend their heinous acts as discussed by Eugene. The student argues that by breaking into accounts, they are just learning how the computers work and that no harm is intended. An idle argument is that the hackers are just making use of the idle machines that are not being used in any productive way. The relevant bodies also defend their breaking into the accounts arguing that they are just ensuring that no social conduct re being abused. However, no argument can fully justify the rising trends of the hackings that have been reported. Technology should not be used in proper way.
Computers, should however not be used for criminal purposes. Terrorists have resulted in o the use of the World Wide Web to plan attacks. The core purposes of computers have been lost in the process. Hacking by the security groups into accounts of the purported terrorists can, however, be vindicated. It is the moral responsibility of the government to ensure security for all its citizens. In this light, computer hacking operations may be instigated by the government bodies to ensure the safety of all. Therefore it is a moral duty of al, people to ensure that whenever they partake in the usage of the computer they observe cyber etiquette and should report any case of suspected breech of the moral codes.
All human activities involve risks. The risks that human take ensures their continued survival. There is a myriad of challenges that arise out of the technological development. Technology has come with so many catastrophes that arose out of the mere negligence of the sheer rules. There should be a critical way of making a prudent assessment to risks related to the technological processes. In relevance, there should be suitable intuitions on how to compare risks. There are a high number of people who die or disabled due to the side effects that come with the technological risks. An increasing number of accidents arise out of irresponsible driving. It is amoral that we appreciate the technological developments in a more responsible manner. Observing the road signs and speed limits are some of the basic moral responsibilities. They are necessary for the process of ensuring that there is no life risks that arise out of the technological development.
A precautionary approach is a very reliable way in which risks can be managed. Policy response programs should be put in play so as to ensure that there is no abuse of the technologies. For instance, the government may intervene in the market through fiscal or monetary means to ensure that the market is balanced. The government must ensure that there is no abuse of market rules by some of the players in the field. There are some of the precautionary approaches to moral responsibility.
The process of genetically modification has taken a diverse dimension. Genetically modifications are sure ways by which the principles of genetics can be applied in the event technological innovation. The genetically modification should be based on the principle of the benefits that can be derived out of the technological developments. Precautions should be taken so as to avoid adverse effects that may rise out of the genetically modified crops. However, the benefits occurring from genetically modified crops outweigh their risks. On the principle of cost-benefit analysis, the harm to the environment, animals, and the entire ecosystem should be put first-hand when taking the precautionary approach to the technological development.
Labor is a major factor of production in every process. The labor process involves the participation of both man and nature. Man on his part is responsible for the controlling of the reactions between the natures. Matters relating to the labor process are very critical in the capital formation process. As Marx explained in his theory of the labour-process and the process of producing surplus products, ethical treatment of the labour units is the production I proposed. Marx tries to explain the shift from the perception that human labor should not ne treated as a mere animal without feelings. The modern labour process has been built on a foundation of capital formation. Technological developments have enhanced the labour operations. The labour should be accorded a proper environment on which to deliver his targeted results.
The product of labor is seen through the products of the work. Through the observation of the labor process, Marx argues that the increased labour product may contribute to increased labor supply. This principle is weighed on the observation that high production leads o population rise due to the availability of resources. Whereas according to Marx technology would reduce the number of man-power needed for a particular task, in the modern economy technology has actually improved the production quality and quantity. It is, therefore, important that technology developments are supported in the production process. It is ethical that the health and the wellbeing of the laborer are observed so as to ensure the output per labor ratio.
In a classical economy, the social effect of the human effects in the field of production is examined. Classical economists, as Marx explain are engaged in the production process mainly for profit realisation. However, ignoring the welfare of humans could lead to a decline in the quantity and quality of products. In the light s social responsibility, the production process should go the extra mile of analyzing what becomes of the commodity and its purchasers, in the light of social responsibility.
In conclusion, moral ethics has enable professionals in different field to consider the protection of a clients or employer’s interest during professional obligations. Engineers should use knowledge and skills to enhance human welfare. They should be honest and impartial, and should serve with fidelity to the public, their employers, and clients. Lastly, engineers should support the professional and technical societies of their disciplines. Therefore, the codes of ethics are formulated based on the organization and provide an unacceptable pathway to certain moral behavior.
Engels, F.,and Marx, K. (1967). Capitalism and Modern Labor Process. New York: International Publishers, pg.173-177.
Luegenbiehl, H. (1983). Codes of Ethics and Moral Education of Engineers. Reprinted by Permission of the Author.
Spafford, H.(1992). Are Computer Hacker Break-ins Ethical. Information Technology Quarterly 234-240.
Speight, James, G., and Russell, F. Ethics in Science and Engineering. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley, 2011. Internet resource.