How Engineers Can Care from a Distance: Promoting Moral Sensitivity in Engineering Ethics Education

J.B. van Grunsven*, L. Marin, T.W. Stone, N. Doorn, S. Roeser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

49 Downloads (Pure)


Moral (or ethical) sensitivity is widely viewed as a foundational learning goal in engineering ethics education. We have argued in this paper is that this view of moral sensitivity cannot be readily transported from the nursing context to the engineering context on the basis of a care-analogy. The particularized care characteristic of the nursing context is decisively different from the generalized and universalized forms of care characteristic of the engineering context. Through a focus on care and maintenance, the engineering student’s moral sensitivity can be refined, opening up a perceptual awakening and affectivity towards the complex nature of the engineer’s Other. This awakening is in part promoted through an understanding of the ideology of neutrality as a moment in the history engineering. Becoming aware of this ideology as an ideology can then be seen as an activity of dividing loyalties that allows for a reflexive and critical view of the biases and presuppositions inherited within the world of engineering. This process of deepening the engineering student’s moral sensitivity is perhaps as much a process of the student becoming aware of her professional world, how it shapes her understanding of herself, and what it means to be a good engineer.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThinking through Science and Technology
Subtitle of host publicationPhilosophy, Religion, and Politics in an Engineered World
EditorsGlenn Miller, Helena Mateus Jerónimo, Qin Zhu
PublisherRowman & Littlefield
Number of pages163
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5381-7652-8
ISBN (Print)978-1-5381-7650-4
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Philosophy of engineering
  • Engineering education
  • philosophy of technology
  • Moral sensitivity


Dive into the research topics of 'How Engineers Can Care from a Distance: Promoting Moral Sensitivity in Engineering Ethics Education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this