2017 Essence of Humanities and Social Sciences2:Ethics in Engineering

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Humanities and social science courses
Fudano Jun 
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Course description and aims

Students in this course will examine the relationship between science and technology, society and the environment from a historical and multifaceted perspectives, and grasp the need to share worthy values as a scientist or engineer in our modern, advanced technological society. Students will simulate possible ethical issues facing scientists and engineers, and study techniques for making ethical decisions. Throughout the course, students will learn to focus not only on the preventive ethics of "you may not", but also ethics oriented towards thinking about "what you can do" as a scientist or engineer. Students will also learn that ethical scientists and engineers can contribute not only to social welfare, but also enhance their own "well-beings". In addition, students will examine specific examples of how scientists and engineers in an organization should behave. Another important element of this course is responsible R&D activities.

Student learning outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to
1) understand the positive and negative impacts of science and engineering on human society and on the natural environment
2) understand the importance of aspirational ethics in addition to that of preventive ethics
3) use a tool for ethical decision making
4) understand one's own character strengths
5) understand the elements of well-being and recognize that contributing to something larger than yourself can raise your own well-being
6) understand the values which scientists and engineers should hold paramount and develop an attitude to share those values
7) understand the social responsibility of organization and design one's conduct in organization
8) understand the characteristics of responsible conduct of research and share the values for researchers


Science, Technology and Society, Scientists, Engineers, Ethics, Seven-Step-Guide for Ethical Decision Making, Preventive Ethics, Aspirational Ethics, Well-being, Positive Psychology, Social Responsibility of the Organization, Responsible Conduct of Research

Competencies that will be developed

Intercultural skills Communication skills Specialist skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

The course is designed with the active-learning approach. Therefore, in addition to the acquisition and understanding information on science and engineering through lectures, students are expected to participate actively in writing reports, presenting them, and working as a group. It is essentially important for students to attend all the classes.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 1) Course guidance and education objectives 2) What is "science and engineering ethics in a new era" After the class, 1) to answer the course questionnaire, and 2) to take the VIA survey on the VIA Institute site and understand the character strengths. https://www.viacharacter.org/survey/account/register
Class 2 1) Lecture: When and why do scientists and engineers face with ethical decision making? (1) 2) Group Discussion: The Space Shuttle Challenger Accident Case Before the class, 1) read Chapters 1 and 2 of the textbook A, 2) work on the Challenger Case response sheet、 After the class, 3) work on the group presentation
Class 3 1) Group Presentation: The Challenger Case 2)Lecture: The Impacts of Science and Engineering on human society and the natural environment 3) Group discussion 2: Grand Challenges for Engineering Before the class, 1) read Chapters 3-5 of the textbook After the class, 2) work on the Grand Challenges for Engineering assignment
Class 4 1) Lecture: What attributes and skills are required for engineers in a new era? 2) Lecture: How to design one's conduct as ethical scientist/engineer? 3) Group discussion: "Solar Blind" Before the class, 1) read Chapters 6-12 of the textbook A, 2) work on the Solar Blind assignment
Class 5 1) Lecture: The social responsibility of scientists and engineers 2) Lecture: How to behave in an organization 3) Lecture: Scientists and engineers after the 3.11 Disaster Before the class, 1) read Chapters 13-15 of the textbook
Class 6 1) Lecture: The responsible conduct of research and development 2) Group discussion: on the research ethics program Before the class, 1) read Ch. 4 of the textbook A, 2) read Chapters 1-4 of the textbook B
Class 7 1) Lecture: for the sound development of science 2) Group presentation: on the research ethics program Before the class, 1) read Chapters 5-8 of the textbook B, 2) work on the group presentation
Class 8 1) Group discussion and presentation: Scientists and engineers in a new era Before the class, 1) complete the final paper on research ethics program, 2) complete the final paper on the scientists and engineers in the 12st century


A. Jun Fudano et al., Atarasiijidai no gijyutusyarinnri (Engineering Ethics in a New Era) (in Japanese), Open University of Japan Press, 2015

B. Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Editing Committee "for the Sound Development of Science," For the Sound Development of Science: The Attitude of a Conscientious Scientist, Maruzen Publishing, 2015

Reference books, course materials, etc.

To be introduced and explained in the first class

Assessment criteria and methods

1) Class participation (attendance, group discussion, presentation) 30%
2) Assignments 30%
3) Report 30%
4) 0thers 10%

Related courses

  • LAH.T105 : Ethics in Engineering A
  • LAH.T206 : Ethics in Engineering B
  • LAH.T305 : Ethics in Engineering C

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

No prerequisite

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