Engineering ethics at the Catholic University of Lille (France): research and teaching in a European context
This paper relates to the development of non-technical education (and to ethics) in engineering curricula in Europe and particularly in France. Two projects being followed at the Centre de recherche en éthique de l'ingénieur (CREI) at the Catholic University of Lille (France) are discussed: the first is an engineering ethics course which has been running for 6 years in a state engineering school, where there is a strong emphasis on analysing the ethical issues of the students' first work experience. The second has to do with the writing of a European handbook on engineering ethics which gives us good insight into how engineering ethics as a discipline is shaped by the cultural background of those who develop it (dominant philosophical tradition, religious background, the way the engineering profession is organized and education). Two main approaches seem to be prevalent in Europe today: the first relates to professional ethics as discussed in the USA since the 1950s, the second relates to a new discipline that is developing in Europe, that of the ethics of technology.