One of our major objectives this semester is to apply the theories we’ve been discussing and our own ethical thinking to issues in engineering practice. For your final assignment, you will be doing exactly that. Building on materials that you have already submitted earlier in the semester (your identification of an ethical issue in your field and explanation of what makes a centrally ethical issues, as well as your earlier introduction and argument outline), you will submit a first draft of a final paper in which you do the following:
- Introduce your topic, explaining in language accessible to the educated layperson, what is involved—i.e., what you are talking about, what the issue is, what practice or technology or process is under discussion—at the technical level and what makes it a matter of ethical concern—here you might want to distinguish it from merely legal or customary or social concerns—including why your reader should be concerned;
- Choose and identify at least two perspectives—these can be from ethicists, engineers, or theorists we have discussed or they can be from any other professionals who have views bearing on your topic—and, for each of them, lay out the general picture of their view, making clear how they distinguish between right and wrong actions or good and bad people or good and bad design or practice—for this, you should cite your sources (APA, MLA, Vancouver, and Chicago are all acceptable formats);
- For each of the perspectives you have chosen, explain how you believe they would apply to your chosen topic—here you should explain how the general picture you have provided works in the specific case you are discussing—argue from their views to their application;
- For each of these perspectives, analyze their answers, telling your reader what you think they got right and wrong and why;
- Explain what you believe the correct approach to your topic is—what we ought to do, how we ought to limit or expand the practice, etc.—and defend your view—you should do your best to convince your educated lay reader of the correctness of your view, starting from reasonable premises about the rightness or wrongness of action to your conclusion; and,
- Finally, conclude, summing up your argument and view and comparing and contrasting it to the other views you have considered, highlighting your and their strengths and weaknesses.