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Ethics in the Civil Engineering Profession The Websters dictionary defines the word ethics short and simple It states that ethics is the system of moral values the principal of right or good conduct When I began to research ethics in the civil engineering profession I was amazed to find that it could not be defined quite as simply I found about four pages that list the written code of ethics fundamental canons and guidelines to practice under the fundamental canons of ethics that a professional civil engineer is supposed to abide by as well as in depth books on the basic concept and methods in engineering ethics and hundreds of fascinating case studies concerning this too In short I was blown away by how much information there was on a topic I considered at first to be quite simple The attempts of professional engineers to define proper courses of action in their dealings with each other with their clients and employees and with the general public is basically what engineering ethics represents It defines answers to questions about conduct and behavior that is morally correct and involves the study of moral issues and decisions In order to determine which actions are morally right and others that are morally wrong there are four types of moral theories They are utilitarianism duty ethics rights ethics and virtue ethics The utilitarianism theory has great appeal to many people because human well-being seems to be such a natural human endeavor However in order to be used the utilitarian must define well-being Yet people define well-being in all different ways For some it is physical pleasure for others financial and professional success and so forth In order to define what the the utilitarian means they have come up with a term called preference utilitarianism This consists of three basic concepts The first concept is to determine the audience of the action or policy in question The second concept
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