Spotlight on ethics: Engineers and public protest

As an engineer, you have a duty to maximise the public good and minimise both actual and potential adverse effects for your own and succeeding generations. Should you break the law to uphold this principle?

This is the dilemma presented in our Engineering Ethics Toolkit case study Engineers and Public Protest.

The engineer in this case has to weigh personal values against professional codes of conduct when acting in the wake of the climate crisis. This case study allows students to explore motivations and justifications for courses of action that could be considered morally right but legally wrong. 

We’ve provided this, and other case studies, for you to use and adapt in your teaching. If you’re new to ethics, we have a growing library of guidance articles available to support you, and an Ethics Explorer to get you started.

If you would like to give feedback on this or any other Engineering Ethics resource, or submit your own content, you can do so here. We also have a newly created community of practice that you can join, where we hope that educators will support each other, and share their success stories of teaching engineering ethics. You can join our Ethics Ambassadors community here.

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