Example Of Essay On Precautionary Principle And Engineering Ethics
All human activities have risk factors associated with them, and the new technological developments are no exception. Engelhardt argues that the assessment of newer technologies must also take into account the consequences of not innovating and employing technologies at all. He is of the opinion that a real assessment of the distant after-effects in the forms of catastrophes due to technological developments cannot be made disregarding the consequences of the absence of technologies. His theory attempts to analyze three aspects of risks of existence. The first, if the existence of any form of life is precarious due to the increasing urban population densities. Secondly, whether technological innovations and advancements are essential to adapt humans to face environmental threats that are likely to be catastrophic. Thirdly, whether advancement in biomedical technologies in such forms as embryo research or reproductive cloning should be prohibited morally. Genetic engineering is the focus of discussion (Engelhardt, and Jotterand).
It is a fact that one wants to take the risk to reach one's destination in an hour or so by flight taking far more risk than associated with a journey by road. An advocate of the precautionary principle would prefer starvation of millions of people than the use of genetically modified foods. The good of genetically modified foodstuff is overwhelmingly outweighed by the impeding ecological catastrophe. New technologies are thus held responsible for such catastrophes. On the other hand, those favoring new technologies argue that it would require deforestation of millions of hectares to meet the growing demand for food, and it would also lead to ecological catastrophe. However, biotechnology in agriculture can do a lot of good to the mankind without vitiating the environment, and it would be the wisest possible use of technology
.One should take note that this precautionary principle is mainly aimed at showing equal concern towards the environment as to the technological developments. It is usually surmised that technological developments lead to factors detrimental to the ecological balance, and dangerous to the human existence. The pros and cons accruing due to technological developments can be in terms of their effects on humans, ecosystems, animals, and the environment. Adaptation of humans to the changing environments due to the deployment of technology seems to be the answer to the complex problem of the use of newer technologies. While innovations and use of technology in various fields have facilitated sustenance of growing world population, it has imperiled, in the words of those advocating precautionary principle, the human as well as other biological existence.
One should agree with viewpoint raised by the Engelhardt. Undeniably, the survival of species is also dependent on technological innovation and developments. We cannot altogether do away with technology and its uses. Based on the model code of ethics set out by the World Federation of Engineering, engineering professionals must use their knowledge and skills for the betterment of the world (WFEO/FMOI). They need to provide engineering solutions conducive to the creation of a sustainable future. A prudent use of the technology is what is required, and not the shelving of technology altogether. As we cannot survive using technologies, we cannot, at the same time, continue to exist without using technologies.
Engelhardt, H. Tristram, and Fabrice Jotterand. 'The Precautionary Principle: A Dialectical Reconsideration.' The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 29.3 (2004): 301-312. Web.
WFEO/FMOI, Code of Ethics. Web. 4 Apr. 2015.<http://www.sustainable-design.ie/fire/WFEO-UNESCO_Model-Code-Ethics_2001.pdf>
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