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"Ethics and the Engineer" Lecture by Raffaella Ocone, Heriot-Watt University, UK

The visit of Raffaella Ocone is organised by Ferruccio Doghieri from the Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental, and Materials Engineering.

Apr 03, 2018 from 05:30 PM to 07:30 PM

Where Sala Rossa, Palazzo Marchesini, via Marsala 26, Bologna

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Isaiah Berlin’s popular essay The Hedgehog and the Fox (Berlin, 1953, 1999) could be used as an effective metaphor to illustrate ethics in engineering. Berlin divided thinkers into two categories: foxes who draw on many different experiences, and hedgehogs who see the world through a single lens.

The same analogy could be used in engineering: should the engineer possess only technical competence (i.e. know one “big thing”) or rather have a holistic vision of the profession by interfacing and complementing technical competence with a wider social perspective?

Although the provision of ethics in engineering curricula has increased in recent years, the teaching of engineering ethics remains patchy and sporadic in a number of countries. Ethics in research, on the other hand, appears to be at a more mature stage. At the same time, the number of ethical codes, codes of practice and research concordats has flourished, both nationally and internationally.

The questions remain: are those codes “live”? Have those concordats resulted in an improvement of professional integrity? Is the teaching of ethics different and/or disconnected from ethics in research and in the workplace? The talk analyses those questions in relation to an ever changing landscape, influenced by local and international drivers.