Ethics, Technology and Engineering

Authors: Ibo van de Poel, Lamber Royakkers

Available as hardcover, paperback and e-book. More information on the website of the publisher


Featuring a wide range of international case studies, Ethics, Technology, and Engineering presents a unique and systematic approach for engineering students to deal with the ethical issues that are increasingly inherent in engineering practice.

  • Utilizes a systematic approach to ethical case analysis — the ethical cycle — which features a wide range of real-life international case studies including the Challenger Space Shuttle, the Herald of Free Enterprise and biofuels.
  • Covers a broad range of topics, including ethics in design, risks, responsibility, sustainability, and emerging technologies
  • Can be used in conjunction with the online ethics tool Agora (
  • Provides engineering students with a clear introduction to the main ethical theories
  • Includes an extensive glossary with key terms


  • 1 The Responsibilities of Engineers
  • 2 Codes of Conduct
  • 3 Normative Ethics
  • 4 Normative Argumentation
  • 5 The Ethical Cycle
  • 6 Ethical Questions in the Design of Technology
  • 7 Designing Morality (Peter-Paul Verbeek)
  • 8 Ethical Aspects of Technical Risks
  • 9 The Distribution of Responsibility in Engineering
  • 10 Sustainability, Ethics, and Technology (Michiel Brumsen)
  • Study Questions
  • Discussion Questions.



Chapter 1



Ethics, Technology, and Engineering: An Introduction is a genuine contribution to an already substantial literature on ethics in the techno-lifeworld. Arising from within a world where humans live more intensely integrated with and thoughtfully reliant on technology than anywhere else on the planet, this volume constitutes a new realization of historico-philosophical promise.”
Carl Mitcham, Colorado School of Mines

Ethics, Technology, and Engineering takes undergraduate education in engineering ethics to a new level. It shows why engineers need to reflect seriously on ethics, and provides them with the tools they need to do so. This is exactly what we need to teach ethics to engineers.”
Sven Ove Hansson, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

“Van de Poel and Royakkers have written a most comprehensive, up-to-date, and readable text. Their discussion of the different grounds for, and ways of framing, moral problems likely to be encountered in engineering covers all the bases; their illustrative cases, drawn in the main from contemporary practice, are treated circumspectly and will no doubt provoke the kind of open discussion of engineering decision-making they intend. It is the best treatment of this subject geared toward the undergraduate I have encountered.”
Louis L. Bucciarelli, MIT



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