An Introduction to Principles of Ethics and Morality for Scientists and Engineers
International Dimensions of Ethics Education Case Study Series
Preface: This document is part of an NSF-funded project at the University of Massachusetts Amherst that is developing on-line case-based ethics curriculum for science and engineering disciplines. The on-line materials include a set of cases based on real events with international ethical dimensions , including the incidents leading up to the Bhopal chemical plant disaster, the reporting incidence of the SARS epidemic, and international regulation of genetically modified foods. Each case module has a description and supplementary resources including reference material; a set of interviews with fictitious stakeholders; and an on-line discussion forum structured to promote particular types of discussion, analysis, and reflection.
The online activities are designed to be modularly introduced into college graduate and undergraduate classes, so in some scenarios students will be exploring these cases with little or no introduction to basic topics in Ethics. This document, sections of which might be assigned as required or optional reading, is provided to give students an overview of some overarching concepts and themes in ethics, particularly as they relate to the professional experiences of scientists and engineers. It should provide students some vocabulary and ideas to deepen their analysis and discuss of the case studies. It may also serve as a guide to instructors by outlining themes and discussion questions to expand upon.