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Engineering Ethics, STS, and the China Airlines CI-611 Accident


The field of engineering ethics emerged in the early 1990s in Taiwan, following the example of the United States, which had developed this field over the previous three decades. The Institute of Engineering Education Taiwan (IEET) recommends that students of engineering schools study engineering ethics so as to acquire an “understanding of professional ethics and social responsibility.” For the most part, the scenarios used for teaching are simplistically real or hypothetical ones framed by the codes of ethics, or case studies borrowed directly from the United States. In this paper I argue that adding components of STS studies, especially historical-sociological analyses of real cases to engineering ethics, is beneficial and more consonant with IEET requirements, and I draw on the concepts of STS studies to analyze a local case study as an illustration of this.

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