The MIT Benjamin Franklin Project

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
– Benjamin Franklin

The MIT Benjamin Franklin Project is a new educational initiative with the aim of training engineers more broadly, the measure being the education of Benjamin Franklin. The Project offers students an opportunity to consider thoughtfully and in a sustained manner how engineering is part of the human good. The approach is a careful consideration of the ethical, philosophical, political, and historical, all within the context of engineering. The goal is to understand engineering as it fits into the whole.

Also see >>  E3 Engineering, Ethics, and Entrepreneurship Program

Recent Events:

The Mastery of Nature:
Promises and Problems

May 12 – May 13, 2016
“For nature is not conquered, if not by obeying.”
For nature is not conquered, if not by obeying.

Our Students

goldmanskylarAs an engineering student, many of my classes are about the hunt for the explicit right answer or seeking an optimized process, so it was refreshing to experience learning that was in that grey area where we could draw our own conclusions. Further, because we had to explore the thinkers on our own, this course pushed me to consider my own ethical framework and values more thoroughly, something that is important for any student but especially for engineering students who don’t get this opportunity through their other coursework.” –  Skylar Goldman, MIT, Chemical Engineering

Cody M. DiazThe Ethics for Engineers course taught me how to tackle the difficult moral questions one cannot answer with engineering calculations. Thanks for a great semester.“ – Cody M. Diaz, MIT, Chemical Engineering
Minsoo-Khang-01Ethics for Engineers was the first classes I took that challenged me to think beyond the technical applications and implications of engineering. Through heated discussions, the class as a whole brainstormed how engineers can think and act ethically at all times, especially when the line between utility and morality is blurred. I’m confident the takeaways I learned from this class will continue to help me as I finish my Course 10 classes and embark into industry.” – Minsoo Khang, MIT, Chemical Engineering
james mawdsleyAfter taking 10.01, I am more aware of subtleties in everyday experience that reflect the ethical foundations of our society. The class led me to better appreciate the purpose of engineering and its guidelines.” – James P. Mawdsley, MIT, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Cara“Engineering Ethics is a fantastic and thorough survey of different ethical approaches to problems, and the implications that ethical thinking has for a variety of engineering disciplines. This course provides a solid foundation for any student seeking to learn more about the context of their studies, engage in broad problems that affect all of humanity, or even simply to assist in making decisions related to future work. I loved reading and discussing the assigned pieces, and I found all of the instructors to be engaging, approachable, and really knowledgeable about the subject.” – Cara H. Lai, MIT, Mechanical Engineering
areenbahourEthics for Engineers approaches ethics with great breadth and depth. Not only does it evoke valuable discussions on ethical dilemmas based on case studies, but it also enables us to create a bridge between philosophies and politics from a few centuries ago to our modern time. The readings include the very principles our societies are built on, and our discussions evaluated these principles critically linking ethical regimes to politics, economics and nature. The class definitely helped me construct, or rather reconstruct, my perspective on how societies operate.” – Areen Bahour, MIT, Chemical Engineering