Getting an Ethics Charge Out of Current Events : Some Doubts About Katrina
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The author discusses why he believes that Hurricane Katrina, which is certainly the biggest engineering disaster in the history of the United States, is not a good case for teaching engineering ethics. This is for three major reasons. First, there is the question of what happened. Second, there is the question of what part engineers had in what happened, which decisions were theirs and which belonged to elected or appointed officials who were not engineers. Third, there is the question of what part engineering ethics had, or should have had, in the decisions engineered did make. We lack any dramatic moment such as the Challenger Disaster provided, a moment when ethics mattered in a way that is both precise and interesting.