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Virtue ethics is important for engineering the engineered people because it is concerned with the moral sense and not on the market forces that an engineer need in order to be good. Traditional engineering was linked to political and social world, which were tied by the rules of the pharaohs and kings that were non-democratic and repressive.
The need of the engineered persons to be what they wanted was largely determined by the powers the engineered individuals would have after the process. Although this is still the case today, the contemporary engineers have the option of changing jobs based on dissatisfaction of the current job (Moriarty, 2001).
This option was not available for traditional engineers as engineering by then was largely implicit, which made it lack distinction and clarity.
The engineering could not be put under public interest for ethical scrutiny but it was driven by intuition, design experience and estimates that were rough. There used to emerge ethical concerns about the behaviour and character of the engineers at those times. Such engineers were compared with supervisors with sole responsibilities to oversee construction projects (Moriarty, 2001).
For example, slaves could build the pyramids having been engineered by the engineers. However, little is known about the engineers of the ancient times though some of them were of high character. In the traditional engineering enterprise, when analysis is done between the engineer, engineered individuals and the engineering process, the engineer used to predominate (Moriarty, 2001).
The issue of character of engineers should therefore be regarded with importance. Successful engineers should be orderly, good disciplined and predictable in their methods of solving problems. They should also be even-tempered and abiding to the laws (Moriarty, 2001).
Conceptual ethics in the modern era is characterized by procedures, means and methods that are explicit. Renaissance brought about conceptual ethics and proceeded to contemporary times with a gradual change of engineering enterprise into a unique practice, which led to the development of methodology that was clear and distinct (Moriarty, 2001).
Modernist methods were exhibited in practicing of engineering where the engineered individual, engineer and the concept of engineering was able to stand out. The characteristics and features of the process were regarded with importance than the engineer’s character (Moriarty, 2001).
The act gained more value than the actor did. For example, in the recent times of computer technology the actor seems gradually to disappear. Analysis of the modern engineering indicates that appearance and reality are not always the same. The product, personality, the engineered person and the engineer existed in the background as the whole process tended to the centre stage (Moriarty, 2001).
Modern engineering is a contribution of Rene Descartes, Leonardo da Vinci and Francis Bacon. For example, Da Vinci incorporated science in various ways to help in engineering projects. Leonardo advocated the importance of linking practice and theory in order for the humankind to benefit (Moriarty, 2001).
The methods of Descartes were also largely embraced by the modern engineering. The abstraction notion, dissection and reconstruction from Descartes made the modern engineering explicit (Moriarty, 2001).
Modern methodologies are becoming increasingly fruitful making engineering to be an applied design and science. For example, dissection and abstraction procedures provide basic component in analyzing engineering processes while in synthesis the basics are control and reconstruction (Moriarty, 2001).
Science was brought closer to modernist engineering through analysis procedures that use proliferation. Coherence in engineering resulted from the link between know-what and knowledge with the practice and theory (Moriarty, 2001).
Conceptual engineering linked with modernist engineering in a natural way because both were grounded in a theoretical and general scientific mind-set, which was a characteristic of the worldview of the modernist.
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A possible scenario is used to explain about material ethics where all the household goods are networked in such a way that the toaster signals the fridge. The fridge then has bagels containers that sense when the bagels are not there and relay the information to an agent in the internet dealing with shopping list and expenditure accounts in order to balance them (Moriarty, 2001).
This disengages the owner of the house from many commitments, which is the concern of material ethics and focal engineering. Focal engineering is concerned with the good while material ethics aim at the closeness of the good (Moriarty, 2001).
The concern of the material ethics is the material product that results from a system of engineering process, structure and different manifestation of system or network on how the system can serve the good. This helps to explain how engineered products can be used in focal practices. Something focal has the ability to enrich earthly sojourn (Moriarty, 2001).
These habits from the mind and heart bring unity and sense of focus in our lives towards a good society. Engineered products have the ability to orient lives away or towards good (Moriarty, 2001).
For example, when we watch television, we can be inspired to have good or bad character depending on the values of the programs we are watching. Therefore, material ethics examine the moral worth among the engineered to determine the level of engagement (Moriarty, 2001).
Moriarty, G. (2001). Three kinds of ethics. Fall: IEEE Technology and Society Magazine.