How Should We Foster Professional Integrity of Engineers in Japan?: A Pride-Based Approach

Tetsuji Iseda

In this paper, I discuss a predicament that engineering ethics education in Japan faces now, and proposes a solution to it. The predicament is on the problem of professional motivation, that is, the problem how to motivate engineering students to maintain professional integrity. Special professional responsibilities of engineers are often explained either as an implicit social contract between the profession and the society (the "social contract" view), or as requirements as member of the profession (the "membership requirement" view). However, there are empirical data that suggest that such views will not do in Japan, and this is the predicament. In this country, the profession of engineering did not exist ten years ago and still quite underdeveloped. Engineers in this country do not have privilege, high income, nor high social status. Under such a condition, neither the social contract view nor the membership requirement view is convincing. As an alternative approach that might work in Japan, I propose a pride-based view. The notion of pride has been analyzed in virtue ethics literature, but the full potential of this notion has not been explored. Unlike other kinds of pride, professional pride can benefit the general public directly by motivate engineers to do good work even without social rewards, since being proud of themselves is already a reward. My proposal is to foster a particular kind of professional pride associated with the importance of professional service in the society, as the motivational basis for professional integrity. There is suggestive evidence that this model works.