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Engineering Philosophy Asbestos

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Discuss about the Engineering Philosophy.



Engineering philosophy is the study that elaborates what engineering entails, the function of engineers and the importance that their functions impact the society. Asbestos occurs naturally and it is recognized for its wide range of uses (Bucciarelli, 2003). It is mainly known for its ability to resist heat, ability to be easily malleable, it is ability to resist heat conductivity, and it has been used in production of fire proof vests and in construction of buildings.

Asbestos has been banned in many countries due to its ill effect when people are exposed to it. Engineers ought to have determined the effect of asbestos before utilizing it. It is morally wrong to utilize a product that is known to cause ill effect to people (Cherry, 1998). Asbestos has been known to cause diseases when inhaled. It is not morally acceptable to use materials that affect the health of people who are exposed to asbestos. Inhaled asbestos take a relatively long period of time to be noticed. When inhaled, they cause inflammation in the lungs and scarring. Other diseases known to be caused by asbestos include: asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and pleural plaques (Castleman, 2005). Asbestos causes inflammation of the lungs when inhaled, it leads to shortness of breath, exposed persons suffer from prolonged coughs and exposure over a long period of time leads to the damage of the lungs. Exposure to asbestos causes development of carcinogenic tumors in the lining of the lungs. The engineers in the construction industry have to act and stop the utilization of products containing asbestos. The government ought to ban any products that are tested and proved to contain asbestos in them. Exposure to asbestos in the long run leads to death of loved ones (Scheberle, 2004). It causes the economy to be poor as there will be decreased manpower as the exposed will be weak to work. Resources will be used in the treatment of loved ones and this will lead to straining of the available resources.

Stakeholders in asbestos industry function to control the effect of the compound in the environment. They function in the provision of safety control measures and the enforcement of the national strategic plan of the country. The asbestos safety and eradication council functions to ensure that there is no health related hazard that will affect persons while in their occupational areas (Sato, 2010). The research advisory committee functions to prove the existing effect of asbestos in the environment. They ascertain that the said issues are related to asbestos. International partners function by offering insight on the dangers that face humans when exposed to asbestos (Miyamoto, 2011).

Moral values that are involved include: being caring- This entails that the engineers ought to be ethical in their work so as to avoid harming others while performing their functions. Taking personal responsibility as an epistemic value, persons that produce materials that contain the asbestos ought to be held accountable for their actions (Mumford, 1981). Appealing- this value incorporates the aesthetic value that should accompany a product by being efficient causing no harm to people. The values discussed above are related. Taking personal responsibility is an instrumental value as it incorporates the human values such as empathy, respect and being honest truthful and trustworthy. Appealing is an intrinsic value as it does not incorporate other values. Epistemic value is instrumental as it incorporates other factors that are derived from literature. There is no value conflict between the epistemic, aesthetic and ethical values that govern the usage of asbestos (Blackwell, 2000). In other countries, the ban of asbestos has not been effected. This can lead to contamination of other regions in case one gets to move from one region carrying the asbestos. This will lead to development of illnesses in the countries that have banned its usage.

Options available.

Ensure that the asbestos containing materials (ACM) have been identified and a management action is stipulated according to the environmental regulations. Work that is likely to interfere with the underlying structure containing asbestos should be stopped immediately until adequate preventive measures are employed to prevent the employees from being exposed to asbestos (Oliver, 2015). Evaluate and monitor to determine any deformity that could have occurred on the asbestos and employ a corrective measure to control the effects of the exposed asbestos. Come up with policies that will regulate the handling of asbestos containing materials in the work place. Undertake risk assessment on the asbestos containing materials so that mitigation measures can be employed in case of a hazard. Acquire a semi-permanent plan that will cater for the directions that will be followed in the handling of the asbestos materials and employ control measures that will monitor the management action plan in the mitigation strategies against the asbestos.


Ethical evaluation.

Each individual is tasked to ensure that the environmental they are in is well taken care so as to control the effects of asbestos if they are available. This entails proper identification of items containing asbestos and laying of a proper framework to manage it. This aims at protecting the health of other employees and the general public. Work that is likely to interfere with the fabric of the asbestos has to be carried out with much care (Phil, 2010). Work permits must be specific in case the employees will be exposed to asbestos, determining individuals who will monitor the work, identifying the methods that will be used in handling the ACM and ensuring that individuals occupying places that contain asbestos are well trained in the maintenance. Control measures should come in handy in handling asbestos effect in the environment.

Utilitarianism is described as illustrating happiness and consequentialism. This theory depicts that factors that can lead to happiness are good. Things that contribute to happiness have utility. Factors that differentiate good and evil are based on the happiness of a person and the happiness of the community. Consequentialism is described as the judgement that an individual faces due to his or her actions that led to happiness. Happiness and freedom become limited if they affect the happiness and freedom of other people and the community (Hao, 1997). The principle of utility from Bentham’s view entails: the total happiness of individuals in a society defines the good, good in the society is achieved by upholding morality, if a principal that is moral is able to achieve the good for the society, then it is perfect and adherence to the moral principles by determining the pleasures and the pains, then the good of the society is achieved.   

Kantianism theory is based on how right or wrong is an action that was done by an individual compared to how right or wrong were the consequences of the action that had been undertaken. The Kantianism theory is an illustration of the deontological moral theory. Its first conceptualization states that "Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law [of nature]." Contractualism theory is described that an action is wrong if the process that was used to undertake the action does not conform to principles that govern the behavior that is not morally right. Contractualism is based on the reasoning of an individual and the factors that led the person to do a particular act (Peter, 2005). Contractualism accounts for the standards that morality sets in the society and factors that determine the rightness and wrongness.

Virtue ethics stresses on the need of an individual to poses a character that is morally acceptable as compared to a virtue that is attributed to one performing his or her duties so as to enhance positive consequences (Peter, 2005). This theory emphasizes on nurturing good traits from an early stage. Care ethics involves people upholding good relationships between the care givers and receivers so as to maintain the world for all. Assessment is important so as to determine if the environment is exposed to the asbestos containing materials. This will lead to development of policies to manage the presence of asbestos so as to prevent its effects on humans.


The theories agree on intuition and common sense as they are guided by principles that bring out the good for the individuals and the society. The theories agree on the available options for action. One is responsible for the consequences that befall him or her for the actions that they undertook. The principles guide that the actions should bring happiness both to the individual and the community and if it interferes with the happiness of an individual or a community, then the action was inappropriate. If an individual decides to contaminate the environment by improperly handling asbestos, the individual ought to be responsible for the consequences that befall him or her. Ethical conflicts can be resolved by ensuring that the common principles ensure that actions undertaken bring happiness to both the individual and the society. Ethical theories only differ on the point of view of actions but they all are guided by the common good of the community. The appropriate cause of action is to ensure that individuals are held accountable for their actions. This is because engineers ought to conduct a preliminary analysis to determine the effect of their actions on the environment and failure to do so, results to consequences.



Blackwell, Laforllette. (2000). The Blackwell guide to ethical theory. Edited by Hugh. Oxford University Press.

Bucciarelli, L. (2003). Engineering philosophy (1st ed.). Delft: DUP Satellite.

Castleman, B. (2005). Asbestos (1st ed.). New York: Aspen. Resolutions of political philosophy

Cherry, K. (1998). Asbestos (1st ed.). Boca Raton: CRC Press. European Journal on social philosophy.

Hao Wang,(1997). A Logical Journey: From Godel to philosophy. https://books.googlecom/books?isbn=026261251

Miyamoto, K., Morinaga, K., & Mori, H. (2011). Asbestos Disaster (1st ed.). Tokyo: Springer Japan.

Mumford, E. (1981). Values, Technology and Work (1st ed.). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.

Sato Hajime, (2010). Management of Health risks and Politics of Health Risk Management- Asbestos and BSE.

Scheberle, D. (2004). Federalism and Environmental policy: Trust and Politics of Asbestos (1st ed.). London.

Oliver Mack, Anshuman Khare, Andres Kramer, (2015). Managing in VUCA world. International Health and Safety.

Peter Achinstein (2005). Scientific evidence: Philosophical Theories and Application. The Law in Philosophical perspective.

Phil Hughes, Ed Ferrett, (2010). Introduction to international health and safety at work. Second edition: Springer Netherlands

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