Friday, December 13, 2019

Summary of “An Historical Preface to Engineering Ethics” Free Essays

Summary of â€Å"An Historical Preface to Engineering Ethics† Michael Davis, in his article â€Å"An Historical Preface to Engineering Ethics† clarifies some misconceptions about engineering and distinguishes the differences between science and engineering by showing progressions through history. He makes a point to disprove engineer turned historian, Eugene Ferguson on his criticism that engineers have no consideration for human welfare by proving that not only do engineers have a deep consideration for human welfare, but that all of Ferguson’s criticisms of engineering are actually compliments given engineers’ military origin. Davis first depicts the progression of the definition of technology from ancient Greece to modern times, showing how the reverence of technology and thus engineering has grown over time. We will write a custom essay sample on Summary of â€Å"An Historical Preface to Engineering Ethics† or any similar topic only for you Order Now The modern day definition being the study of how to make manual labor easier, and the ancient Greece definition being the study of manual labor, and since mental labor is more respected than manual labor, engineering has become better respected over time. He disqualifies the misconception that science preceded technology and is therefore older and better than engineering by showing how some inventions predated the science that explains them. He even argues that engineering is better than science because it applies scientific knowledge to make things useful. Davis clarifies that engineering is not the same as technology. Technology being the creation of tools, and engineering being the planning and instruction for others to implement that creation. He shows the history of engineering and how it started in the military, branching out from France to other countries, progressively sophisticating over time. Beginning with engineers in the infantry, creating weapons such as catapults and artillery, France eventually found need of a congregation of the engineers. They founded an organization called the corps du ge’nie, which proved very useful in increasing the flow of knowledge and skills and providing records for later use. In just a few short years, they were acclaimed all over France for their advances in military construction. Davis shows that the basis of all modern day engineering originated from the corps and officially started in the 1700’s when they finally came to understand what they could do as engineers and what they wanted to do. After this, he proceeds to show how he Ecole Polytechnique school, which practically perfected engineering curriculum, was formed in France and how it’s curriculum was adopted by the US. The first engineering school in the US, the West Point military academy, was founded on this curriculum. Davis includes these facts about history, not only to differentiate between science and engineering and to clarify misconceptions about engineering, but also to disprove historian Eugene Ferguso n’s criticism of engineering. Ferguson criticizes engineering as unethical; he believes that engineers do not care about human welfare. Davis agrees with Ferguson’s points about engineers, but argues that they are not criticisms, but compliments and that engineers do in fact have a deep consideration for human welfare. Ferguson criticizes engineers for being efficient, creating labor-saving devices, putting control into systems, favoring the majority, and treating engineering as a means to an end rather than a means to satisfying human welfare. Davis argues that the first four are actually commendable qualities given engineers’ military origins, and that engineers do hold human welfare paramount and have since very early in their history. Since very early in engineering’s history human welfare has been held paramount. From almost the very beginning, even back in the 1700’s, human welfare was of great importance to engineers. The Ecole Polytechnique in France was noted for their regard for human welfare back in the 1700’s and England had the same attitude as France in regard to this as well. In 1828, Thomas Trigold, a member of The British Institution of Civil Engineers was asked to define civil engineering and he defined it as an art of directing Nature for the convenience of man. Davis states that these beliefs still hold true in today’s society, the only thing that differs is the engineers’ code of ethics, to stay consistent with ordinary morals as they differ. Davis argues that even before engineers created a code of ethics involving human welfare that they were not unethical, because they were not expected to hold it paramount, and that they were not unmoral, because not holding the public welfare as paramount is not unmoral in any ordinary sense of morality. Davis ultimately concludes that engineers’ do have high consideration for human welfare. Through historical references, definition contrasts, and counterargument, Davis provides a solid argument that engineering at its core is based upon the advancement of man, and thus human welfare. Word Count: 767 Citation: Davis, Michael. â€Å"An Historical Preface to Engineering Ethics. † Science and Engineering Ethics 1995: 33-44. Print. How to cite Summary of â€Å"An Historical Preface to Engineering Ethics†, Essay examples

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