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E – 1736 Ethics and the Engineer – Food for Thought

Intended Audience: All Engineers
Credits: 2 PDH Units


This 2-hour presentation explores the ethical challenges faced by engineers.  It is based upon the ASCE Code of Ethics, which, in fact, is very similar to the Codes of Ethics of most other engineering societies.  The presentation examines each of the 8 canons of the ASCE Code in terms of what they intend to achieve as well as some of the roadblocks encountered when attempting to follow them.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the course, the student should understand the importance of ethical engineering practices along with many stumbling blocks along the way toward ethical compliance, as illustrated by the following examples.  Other codes of ethics will also be explored and compared.  Specific discussion topics include

  • The Dene code of Ethics (Dene Laws).
  • Sustainability and Environmental Ethics.
  • Stumbling blocks in interpreting the 8 Canons.
  • Comparison of Ethical Theories.
  • The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster.
  • The Yellowknife Arsenic Dilemma.
  • The 2018 Miami Bridge Collapse.
  • Mining of the uranium ore that was used in the Hiroshima and Nagaski bombs.
  • Ecofemininism Sustainability/Ethics Viewpoint and Nature Ethics Thoughts.
  • Humans, Nature and the Anthropocene.


  1. Fleddermann, Charles B., Engineering Ethics, Pearson, 2012.
  2. ASCE Code of Ethics.
  3. Press references to specific disasters.

Course Reviews


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  1. E - 1736 Ethics and the Engineer – Food for Thought


    Very interesting discussions. I have had similar discussions regarding titles with my company. As one of the very few engineers at the company with a license, they are using some of these titles incorrectly to make the company look more marketable with more experience than it really has.


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