Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society, Dublin, 11-12 November 2015.


This paper is focused on the teaching of engineering ethics (EE). Through a focus on safety and the lens of what sociologists call the agency/ structure relationship it examimes various approaches to this teaching. Drawing on Critical Realism it argues there are deficiencies in both the dominant approach and a number of proposed alternatives as they suffer from various forms of conflationism . By drawing on Critical Realism (CR) a more robust agenda for teaching engineering ethics can be developed. It is argued that CR offers a basis for understanding the range of factors which lead to accidents and disasters. It allows for a fuller consideration of agency/structure relations and the importance of changing the contexts in which engineers work in order to allow them to hold paramount the health, safety and welfare of the public.


Included in

Engineering Commons