1. Ethical judgements limit the methods available in the production of knowledge in both the arts and the natural sciences. Discuss. a. What areas of knowledge & ways of knowing….
Ethical Issue in Bay Area Rapid Transit
The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) case opened the eyes of engineers about engineering ethics in the United States. The Bay Area Rapid Transit began its operations in 1972 and served three counties in San Francisco Bay area. Months before the start of operation, three engineers pointed out the deficiencies in the control systems’ design and construction.
The engineers were Holger Hjortsvang, who worked in the Automated Train Control System (ATC), and Max Blankenzee, a programmer analyst who worked for Hjortsvang.
Hjortsvang, a systems engineer, noticed that BART lacked a systems engineering group to supervise the “development of control and propulsion systems” (Book Rags, 2006). They reported it to their manager, but he rejected it. At the same time, Robert Bruder, an electrical engineer, became aware of how his managers disregarded reports about shoddy work. The three engineers decided to bring their concerns to the Board of Directors through Daniel Helix, a board member.
However, the Board rejected them and fired them without any written cause or appeal. In 1973, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Committee on Social Implications of Technology (CSIT) intervened by submitting a two-part resolution to the IEEE Board of Directors. The resolution called for IEEE mechanisms to assist engineers when they are placed in jeopardy, in conformity to their ethical principles. As such, the resolution called for IEEE to intervene for the three engineers. Through the IEEE U. S.
Activities Committee (USAC), the Board commissioned an amicus curiae brief which aimed to articulate general principles but not to side with the engineers. Moreover, the brief convinced the court that when an engineer was dismissed in an effort to protect the public safety, his termination will be a breach to his employment contract. Afterwards, the engineers accepted a settlement of $75,000 (Book Rags, 2006). Reference Book Rags. (2006). Bay Area Rapid Transit case. Retrieved December 10, 2008, from http://www. bookrags. com/research/bay-area-rapid-transit-case-este-0001_0001_0/