Reflexive Principlism as an Effective Approach for Developing Ethical Reasoning in Engineering

TitleReflexive Principlism as an Effective Approach for Developing Ethical Reasoning in Engineering
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsBeever, J, Brightman, A
JournalScience & Engineering Ethics
Date Published2016
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number13533452
KeywordsDECISION , ENGINEERING , ethical , Iterative , Moral , professional , Reflectivity , reflexive
AbstractAn important goal of teaching ethics to engineering students is to enhance their ability to make well-reasoned ethical decisions in their engineering practice: a goal in line with the stated ethical codes of professional engineering organizations. While engineering educators have explored a wide range of methodologies for teaching ethics, a satisfying model for developing ethical reasoning skills has not been adopted broadly. In this paper we argue that a principlist-based approach to ethical reasoning is uniquely suited to engineering ethics education. Reflexive Principlism is an approach to ethical decision-making that focuses on internalizing a reflective and iterative process of specification, balancing, and justification of four core ethical principles in the context of specific cases. In engineering, that approach provides structure to ethical reasoning while allowing the flexibility for adaptation to varying contexts through specification. Reflexive Principlism integrates well with the prevalent and familiar methodologies of reasoning within the engineering disciplines as well as with the goals of engineering ethics education. 
NotesBeever, Jonathan 1; Email Address: Brightman, Andrew 2; Email Address:; Affiliation: 1: The Rock Ethics Institute, Penn State University, 131 Sparks Building University Park 16802 USA 2: Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University, Martin Jischke Drive West Lafayette 47907 USA; Source Info: Feb2016, Vol. 22 Issue 1, p275; Subject Term: ENGINEERING ethics; Subject Term: ENGINEERING students; Subject Term: DECISION making; Subject Term: PROFESSIONAL ethics; Subject Term: ITERATIVE methods (Mathematics); Author-Supplied Keyword: Engineering ethics; Author-Supplied Keyword: Ethical reasoning; Author-Supplied Keyword: Moral framework; Author-Supplied Keyword: Reflectivity; Author-Supplied Keyword: Reflexive principlism; Number of Pages: 17p; Document Type: Article