EGR 402-04 Ethical Considerations in Technology and Applied Science
Winter 2012

Revised 3/3/12

Back to Dr. Rosenkrantz' Main Page | Blackboard


Dr. Phil Rosenkrantz (IME Dept)

Erik Jackiw (Philosophy)


Introduction to Engineering Ethics, Martin & Schinzinger, McGraw-Hill Science/Engineering/Math; 2nd edition, 2009, ISBN-10: 0072483113 [Not to be confused with Engineering Ethics by the same authors]

The Fundamentals of Ethics, Russ Shafer-Landau, Oxford University Press; 2nd edition, 2012,




Office Hours

Mon: 8:30 - 9:00 a.m., 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
10:00-11:00 a.m.
Wed: 8:30 - 9:00 a.m., 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Thurs: 10:00-11:00 a.m.
(weekly schedule)

Wed: 4pm - 5:50pm
4pm - 4:50pm

Office Phone

909-869-2553 (email recommended)

909-869-2555 (email recommended)

E-Mail (preferred) or


Description: This is a normally team-taught course that introduces engineering students to ethical theory (philosophy) and issues in the practice of science and technology (applications). Science and technology, of course, includes engineering. These issues include the nature of professional responsibility, the status of moral claims, the types and roles of codes of ethics, the nature of risk and risk assessment, and employee and employer obligations. Other topics are listed under the heading of "Tentative Schedule" below. The primary benefit for the philosophy half of this course is the understanding and application of major moral theories. The primary benefit for the applications half of the course is to learn how to work through issues and help develop your own approach for dealing with moral dilemmas that come up as a working professional. All students will be expected to participate. This class presupposes no formal training in ethical theory, but does expect students to think deeply and systematically about ethical issues of relevance to any practicing professional.

Evaluation (Engineering): One half of your final grade will be based on:

Class participation (30%) - Class participation includes attendance and contributions to class and any on-line discussions. Note: Class attendance means attendance to the entire class meeting...not just a few minutes or the first hour only.

Reading quizzes (10%) - Very short quizzes that should be answerable by anyone who read the assigned material. They are not guaranteed, but may either be given at the beginning of class the days that material is assigned to be read, or in the form of a short on-line quiz in Blackboard released prior to the class time. There is absolutely no make up for missed reading quizzes.

One, Two, or Three page papers (60%) - All written assignments will be evaluated based on clarity, relevancy, critical thought, depth of analysis, and writing style. Some papers may be collaborative.


Evaluation (Philosophy): One half of your final grade will be based on:

Assignments & Participation (15%) – There will be a variety of in-class and take-home assignments.  This may include unannounced quizzes (possibly oral), designed to test your familiarity with the reading.  You will also be required to complete some writing assignments, in which you apply moral theories to specific cases.  Finally, class participation will also be considered.

Attendance is required; partial attendance of a class period will not be credited.  Please note: excessive absences (2 or more) will result in a failing grade for this course.  Cell phones, mp3 players, work for other courses, and other sources of distraction should be left at home or be turned off and put away.  If this policy is violated, the offending student will be required to surrender the object and provide an oral presentation per instructor’s choice.  Refusal to do so, or a second violation, will result in a failing course grade.

Interview Assignment (15%) – Same as paper #4 from Engineering Module.   

Case Analysis (Group Paper) & Proposal (30%) – Students will work in groups of about 4; they’ll select and write a proposal which sets forth the basics of a case and provides a preliminary analysis.  Once the proposal has been approved, students will write an extensive paper in which moral theories are applied to the case as a way of determining the morally correct course of action.

Quizzes (20%) – There will be five on-line quizzes, made available through Blackboard.  They may cover reading material, student presentations, and previous class lecture.

Presentation/Write-Up (20%) – As a way of promoting class participation, groups will be required to present on an assigned topic/activity and complete a write-up a week following the presentation. 

Late work: No late work will be accepted without prior consent of instructor.


Final Course Grade - Your final course grade will be based on the average of the numeric scores from each of the instructors of the course. The scale used for translating numeric scores to letter grades is shown on Prof. Rosenkrantz' Policies and Procedure web page.

Policy for excused absences (BOTH modules): If you contact instructor PRIOR TO THE CLASS YOU MUST MISS and get an excused absence for illness, work demands, or other conflicts, then to finalize the excused absence you must write a one-page, double spaced, paper about the material covered in class that you missed or a related topic. Be sure to include the date missed on the one-page paper. Get information from a friend (or, if you have no friends, you can email the instructor and we will give you an appropriate topic.)

Academic Integrity – This is, among other things, an ethics class.  Cheating, of any kind, in either module of this course, will result in a failing grade for the entire course and possibly even further penalties.  (Cheating includes, but not is limited to, plagiarism, using unauthorized aids on exams, and signing in for another student on an attendance sheet.)  You should therefore acquaint yourself with the university’s policy on plagiarism and student conduct and see the instructor if you find that you are having difficulties with the coursework.

Tentative Class Schedule

Class Meeting


Read prior to class

Week 1   
1/3 (Tue)    
1/5 (Thurs)

Philosophy, Ethics, & the Socratic Method


Week 2           
1/10 (Tues)

1/12 (Thurs)

Decision-making, Engineering, & Ethics

The Profession of Engineering
EGR 402 Assignment #1 Due

(1) Lehrer video (
(2) Impediments to Responsible Action (Bb)
(3) Can Instruction in Engineering Ethics Change Students’ Feelings about Professional Responsibility? (Bb)

IEE: Ch1:All.Ch. 2.1:27-38

Week 3            
1/17 (Tues)

1/19 (Thurs)

The Ethics of Belief & the Analysis of Cases

Engineering as Social Experimentation

FE, pp. 1-17; The Ethics of Belief (Bb)

IEE: Ch. 4: All

Week 4
1/24 (Tues)

1/26 (Thurs)

Consequentialism: Utilitarianism

Engineering as Social Experimentation
EGR 402 Writing Assignment #2 Due

FE, pp. 117-132

Paper Proposal Due

Week 5
1/31 (Tues)

2/2 (Thurs)

Deontology: Kantian Ethics

Engineer's Responsibility for Safety

FE, pp. 154-175

IEE: Ch. 5: All

Week 6               2/7 (Tues)

2/9 (Thurs)

Virtue Ethics

Engineer's Responsibility for Safety

FE, pp. 252-261

Week 7            2/14 (Tues)

2/16 (Thurs)

Other Moral Tests; Science & Ethics

Workplace Responsibilities and Rights


Ch. 6: All, Ch. 7: All

Week 8             2/21 (Tues)

2/23 (Thurs)

Is Morality Relative or Absolute?

Workplace Responsibilities and Rights

FE, pp. 289-305

Week 9              2/28 (Tues)

3/1 (Thurs)

Social Contract Theory

Engineering Codes of Ethics
Global Issues
EGR 402 Writing Assignment #4 Due (double points)

FE, pp. 187-200

Ch. 2: 40-47
Ch. 9: All, Ch. 10: All

Week 10            2/28 (Tues)

3/1 (Thurs)

Ethical & Psychological Egoism: Why be moral

EGR 402 Writing Assignment #5 Due in Bb by 12 noon.

FE, pp. 89-116
Case Analysis Due by 3/14 via e-mail