Plenary Session – Saturday May 20, 8:30 – 10:00 am

Thinking Like an Engineer: Twenty-Five Years Later

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the publication of Michael Davis’ seminal book on engineering ethics, Thinking Like an Engineer: Studies in the Ethics of a Profession. In this session the author and three commentators will discuss the book, its impact on engineering ethics scholarship and teaching, and how well it has held up over the past quarter century.

Author: Michael Davis (Illinois Institute of Technology)

Commentators:  Dayoung Kim (Virginia Tech), Colleen Murphy, (University of Illinois), Michael Pritchard, (Western Michigan University)

Moderator: Justin Hess (Purdue University)


Michael Davis is Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL 60616, USA. Among his recent publications are “Marketing Body Parts: Morality, Law, and Public Opinion”, in Anja Matwijkiw (ed.), Special Issue “Paving the Biolaw Path in International Criminal Law”, International Criminal Law Review 17 (2017): 1102– 1115; Engineering as a Global Profession, Rowan & Littlefield: Lanham, Maryland, 2021; Codes of Ethics and Ethical Guidelines: Emerging Technologies, Changing Fields, ed. (with Kelly Laas and Elisabeth Hildt), Springer, 2022.


Dayoung Kim is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Engineering Education (College of Engineering) at Virginia Tech. She is broadly interested in engineering practice (e.g., practices and experiences of engineers across various employment settings, including business organizations), engineering ethics (e.g., social responsibility of engineering professionals), and related policy concerns. She received her Ph.D. in Engineering Education at Purdue University (2022) and her B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering at Yonsei University (2017) and Purdue University (2021) respectively. She was the 2022 Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellow of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Colleen Murphy is the Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law, Professor of Philosophy and of Political Science, and Director of the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program in the Illinois Global Institute.  She is the author of two books and more than 70 peer-review journal articles, law review articles, and anthologized book chapters; and co-editor of three volumes on engineering ethics. Professor Murphy is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, Journal of Moral Philosophy, and Science and Engineering Ethics, and serves on the Editorial Boards of Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Law and Philosophy, Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure, and the Palgrave Handbooks in the Philosophy of Law Book Series.


Michael S. Pritchard is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and former Co-director of the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society at Western Michigan University.  BA, Alma College; PhD, University of Wisconsin.  Former director of NSF projects on engineering ethics, ethics in pre-college science teaching, and research ethics.  Former co-editor of Teaching Ethics.  Among his recent publications are: Professional Integrity (2007) (Kansas); Engineering Ethics: with C.E. Harris, Michael Rabins, Ray James, Elaine Englehardt (Cengage: 1995, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2013, and 2019); Ethics Across the Curriculum, co-ed. with Elaine Englehardt (Springer: 2018); Everyday Greed: Assessment and Appraisal, with Elaine Englehardt  (Springer: 2021); Importance of Sentiment in Promoting Reasonableness in Children, (Anthem, 2022).


Justin L Hess is an assistant professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. His vision is to inspire change in engineering culture to become more socially responsive, environmentally friendly, and inclusive, thereby providing opportunities for all current and prospective engineers to reach their maximum potential. Dr. Hess’s research focuses on empathic and ethical formation in engineering education. He received his PhD from Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education, as well as a Master of Science and Bachelor of Science from Purdue University’s School of Civil Engineering. He is the editorial board chair for the Online Ethics Center, deputy director for research for the National Institute of Engineering Ethics, and past-division chair for the ASEE Liberal Education/Engineering and Society division.

Justin Hess Photo