Fundamentals of Ethics for Scientists and Engineers represents a new approach to introductory ethics that is both practical and accessible. Classical virtue theory is employed to provide a time-tested, simple, and easily remembered basis for ethical reasoning. The text is modularized for easy use in both stand-alone ethics courses and as self-contained units within engineering core courses. It is accompanied by an instructor's manual that includes a comprehensive set of sample lectures and course assignments, detailed homework solutions, and many helpful hints for teaching an ethics course.
To ground the ethical analysis in practical reality, each chapter contains a real-life case together with several fictional cases. The fictional cases breathe renewed vigor into the study of ethics by employing a new learning device: the "ethical serial." Each fictional case can be understood individually, but the cases are also unified by use of a single set of college-aged characters whose personalities are developed throughout the book. These characters mimic real people far more closely than those in other texts and act in situations that are directly familiar to students.
The book is composed of four units. The first two focus on ethical reasoning, outlining within the context of science and engineering the notions of character formation and intention central to virtue theory. To prepare students to handle complex ethical questions, these units extend virtue theory in a readily understandable way, accounting systematically for the consequences that follow an ethical decision. The second two units focus on practical issues such as intellectual property, conflict of interest, whistle blowing, and authorship in scientific publication. These units also treat more advanced topics like risk, resource allocation, conflicting ethical methods, and intuition in ethical decision making.