Thursday, September 06, 2007


For the past weeks, my Engineering Professionalism module is discussing the notion of Ethics in Engineering. Certain issues are discuss with examples given for case study or some small little tests to see how we view ethics. Though I believe that the notion of Ethics differs from person to person one man evil is another man justice, but apparently my lecturer believe that there is some kind of universal Ethics that we should all follow.

So I question if there is really such thing as universal goodness. One may argue that things like thy shall not kill or thy shall not lie is some form of universal goodness. However, we do know that there are always exceptions to any kind of situation. Like how does government justify the killing of rebels, or how does we justify the use of white lies. Some may argue that white lies are ethical in nature because it is for the good of the person you lied to, but how can we justify that certain people should be murder for the greater good of others?

Some of the tests brought up was whether you would kill one person in a group of twenty people in order to save the whole lot getting kill, or whether you would rather choose to let one person die to save another five persons. This are of tests are suppose to be situational, such that it is a you will know the outcome test. However I find that in real life Ethics, issues are not all black or white because there are always the gray shades of Ethics. These gray shades of Ethics are not necessary debatable questions of whether it is ethical or not, but rather integrate other factors which are often contributed by other people.

One such example is whistle blower at workplace. In case you do not know what is whistle blower, basically they are the people who expose wrong doings. Practically, whistle blowing has quite bad effect on your job because of the notion between honesty versus loyalty and trust. We do know that not every company play by the rules and the lure of profits or even survivability just make whistle blowing really bad. Even basic issue like would you expose your best friend for cheating in exam or telling your best friend that their girlfriend or boyfriend is cheating on them. I do not really think that Ethic is about what is right or wrong, because the issue is not exactly doing what is right, but rather doing what is appropriate for the situation.

Anyway Ethics aside, let us remember Luciano Pavarotti who just died today due to cancer. In fact, hope anyone who died today will be missed by someone.

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