The philosophy of engineering is an emerging discipline that considers what engineering is, what engineers do, and how their work affects society, and thus includes aspects of ethics and aesthetics, as well as the ontology, epistemology, etc. that might be studied in, for example, the philosophy of science.
Engineering is the application of knowledge in the form of science, mathematics, and empirical evidence, to the innovation, design, construction, operation and maintenance of structures, machines, materials, software, devices, systems, processes, and organizations. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of applied mathematics, applied science, and types of application. See glossary of engineering.
A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Societies are characterized by patterns of relationships between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent of members. In the social sciences, a larger society often exhibits stratification or dominance patterns in subgroups.
Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns matters of value, and thus comprises the branch of philosophy called axiology.
Engineering is the profession aimed at modifying the natural environment, through the design, manufacture and maintenance of artifacts and technological systems. It might then be contrasted with science, the aim of which is to understand nature. Engineering at its core is about causing change, and therefore management of change is central to engineering practice. The philosophy of engineering is then the consideration of philosophical issues as they apply to engineering. Such issues might include the objectivity of experiments, the ethics of engineering activity in the workplace and in society, the aesthetics of engineered artifacts, etc.
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally, meaning in this case not artificial. The term is most often applied to the Earth or some parts of Earth. This environment encompasses the interaction of all living species, climate, weather and natural resources that affect human survival and economic activity. The concept of the natural environment can be distinguished as components:
Design can have different connotations in different fields of application, but there are two basic meanings of design: as a verb and as a noun.
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.
While engineering seems historically to have meant devising, the distinction between art, craft and technology isn't clearcut. The Latin root ars, the Germanic root kraft and the Greek root techne all originally meant the skill or ability to produce something, as opposed to, say, athletic ability. The something might be tangible, like a sculpture or a building, or less tangible, like a work of literature. Nowadays, art is commonly applied to the visual, performing or literary fields, especially the so-called fine arts ('the art of writing'), craft usually applies to the manual skill involved in the manufacture of an object, whether embroidery or aircraft ('the craft of typesetting') and technology tends to mean the products and processes currently used in an industry ('the technology of printing'). In contrast, engineering is the activity of effecting change through the design and manufacture of artifacts ('the engineering of print technology').
Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.
The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family spoken natively by a population of about 515 million people mainly in Europe, North America, Oceania, and Southern Africa.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
What distinguishes engineering design from artistic design is the requirement for the engineer to make quantitative predictions of the behavior and effect of the artifact prior to its manufacture. Such predictions may be more or less accurate but usually includes the effects on individuals and/or society. In this sense, engineering can be considered a social as well a technological discipline and judged not just by whether its artifacts work, in a narrow sense, but also by how they influence and serve social values. What engineers do is subject to moral evaluation.
A moral is a message that is conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a story or event. The moral may be left to the hearer, reader, or viewer to determine for themselves, or may be explicitly encapsulated in a maxim. A moral is a lesson in a story or in real life.
Socio-technical systems, such as transport, utilities and their related infrastructures comprise human elements as well as artifacts. Traditional mathematical and physical modeling techniques may not take adequate account of the effects of engineering on people, and culture.The Civil Engineering discipline makes elaborate attempts to ensure that a structure meets its specifications and other requirements prior to its actual construction. The methods employed are well known as Analysis and Design. Systems Modelling and Description makes an effort to extract the generic unstated principles behind the engineering approach.
Transport or transportation is the movement of humans, animals and goods from one location to another. In other words the action of transport is defined as a particular movement of an organism or thing from a point A to the Point B. Modes of transport include air, land, water, cable, pipeline and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles and operations. Transport is important because it enables trade between people, which is essential for the development of civilizations.
Humans are the only extant members of the subtribe Hominina. Together with chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, they are part of the family Hominidae. A terrestrial animal, humans are characterized by their erect posture and bipedal locomotion; high manual dexterity and heavy tool use compared to other animals; open-ended and complex language use compared to other animal communications; larger, more complex brains than other animals; and highly advanced and organized societies.
A mathematical model is a description of a system using mathematical concepts and language. The process of developing a mathematical model is termed mathematical modeling. Mathematical models are used in the natural sciences and engineering disciplines, as well as in the social sciences.
The traditional engineering disciplines seem discrete but the engineering of artifacts has implications that extend beyond such disciplines into areas that might include psychology, finance and sociology. The design of any artifact will then take account of the conditions under which it will be manufactured, the conditions under which it will be used, and the conditions under which it will be disposed. Engineers can consider such "life cycle" issues without losing the precision and rigor necessary to design functional systems.
Psychology is the science of behavior and mind. Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scope. Psychologists seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, and all the variety of phenomena linked to those emergent properties. As a social science it aims to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases.
Finance is a field that is concerned with the allocation (investment) of assets and liabilities over space and time, often under conditions of risk or uncertainty. Finance can also be defined as the art of money management. Participants in the market aim to price assets based on their risk level, fundamental value, and their expected rate of return. Finance can be split into three sub-categories: public finance, corporate finance and personal finance.
Sociology is the scientific study of society, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture of everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about social order, acceptance, and change or social evolution. While some sociologists conduct research that may be applied directly to social policy and welfare, others focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes. Subject matter ranges from the micro-sociology level of individual agency and interaction to the macro level of systems and the social structure.
Mechanical engineering is the discipline that applies engineering, physics, engineering mathematics, and materials science principles to design, analyze, manufacture, and maintain mechanical systems. It is one of the oldest and broadest of the engineering disciplines.
Mechatronics, which is also called mechatronic engineering, is a multidisciplinary branch of engineering that focuses on the engineering of both electrical and mechanical systems, and also includes a combination of robotics, electronics, computer, telecommunications, systems, control, and product engineering. As technology advances over time, various subfields of engineering have succeeded in both adapting and multiplying. The intention of mechatronics is to produce a design solution that unifies each of these various subfields. Originally, the field of mechatronics was intended to be nothing more than a combination of mechanics and electronics, hence the name being a portmanteau of mechanics and electronics; however, as the complexity of technical systems continued to evolve, the definition had been broadened to include more technical areas.
Michael Davis is an American philosopher specializing in professional ethics. He is Professor of Philosophy at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and Senior Fellow at its Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions.
Ethics in technology is a sub-field of ethics addressing the ethical questions specific to the Technology Age. Some prominent works of philosopher Hans Jonas are devoted to ethics of technology. The subject has also been explored, following the work of Mario Bunge, under the term technoethics.
Henry Petroski is an American engineer specializing in failure analysis. A professor both of civil engineering and history at Duke University, he is also a prolific author. Petroski has written over a dozen books – beginning with To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design (1985) and including a number of titles detailing the industrial design history of common, everyday objects, such as pencils, paper clips, and silverware. His first book was made into the film When Engineering Fails.. He is a frequent lecturer and a columnist for the magazines American Scientist and Prism.
Fire protection engineering is the application of science and engineering principles to protect people, property, and their environments from the harmful and destructive effects of fire and smoke. It encompasses engineering which focuses on fire detection, suppression and mitigation and fire safety engineering which focuses on human behavior and maintaining a tenable environment for evacuation from a fire. In the United States 'fire protection engineering' is often used to include 'fire safety engineering'.
The NED University of Engineering and Technology, is a premier public university located in the urban area of Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. It is one of the oldest and most renowned institution of higher learning in Pakistan.
Earth systems engineering and management (ESEM) is a discipline used to analyze, design, engineer and manage complex environmental systems. It entails a wide range of subject areas including anthropology, engineering, environmental science, ethics and philosophy. At its core, ESEM looks to "rationally design and manage coupled human-natural systems in a highly integrated and ethical fashion" ESEM is a newly emerging area of study that has taken root at the University of Virginia, Cornell and other universities throughout the United States. Founders of Earth Systems Engineering & Management are Braden Allenby and Michael Gorman. In the UK, the Centre for Earth Systems Engineering Research (CESER) at Newcastle University has a large ESEM programme, led by Professor Richard Dawson.
The philosophy of technology is a sub-field of philosophy that studies the nature of technology and its social effects.
Engineering ethics is the field of system of moral principles that apply to the practice of engineering. The field examines and sets the obligations by engineers to society, to their clients, and to the profession. As a scholarly discipline, it is closely related to subjects such as the philosophy of science, the philosophy of engineering, and the ethics of technology.
Packaging engineering, also package engineering, packaging technology and packaging science, is a broad topic ranging from design conceptualization to product placement. All steps along the manufacturing process, and more, must be taken into account in the design of the package for any given product. Package engineering is an interdisciplinary field integrating science, engineering, technology and management to protect and identify products for distribution, storage, sale, and use. It encompasses the process of design, evaluation, and production of packages. It is a system integral to the value chain that impacts product quality, user satisfaction, distribution efficiencies, and safety. includes industry-specific aspects of industrial engineering, marketing, materials science, industrial design and logistics. Packaging engineers must interact with research and development, manufacturing, marketing, graphic design, regulatory, purchasing, planning and so on. The package must sell and protect the product, while maintaining an efficient, cost-effective process cycle.
Carl Mitcham is a philosopher of technology. Mitcham is a Professor of Liberal Arts and International Studies at the Colorado School of Mines and a professor at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee.
In philosophy, sociology, and the arts, the word "biofact" is a neologism coined from the combination of the words bios and artifact and denotes a being that is both an artifact and living being or both natural and artificial. This being has been created by purposive human action but exists by processes of growth. There are sources who cite some creations of genetic engineering as examples of biofacts.
Günter Ropohl was a German philosopher of technology.
Engineering studies is an interdisciplinary branch of social sciences and humanities devoted to the study of engineers and their activities, often considered a part of science and technology studies (STS), and intersecting with and drawing from engineering education research. Studying engineers refers among other to the history and the sociology of their profession, its institutionalization and organization, the social composition and structure of the population of engineers, their training, their trajectory, etc. A subfield is for instance Women in engineering. Studying engineering refers to the study of engineering activities and practices, their knowledge and ontologies, their role into the society, their engagement.
Samuel C. Florman is an American civil engineer, general contractor and author. He is best known for his writings and speeches about engineering, technology and the general culture. The most widely distributed of his seven books is "'The Existential Pleasures of Engineering'", published in 1976, second edition in 1994. According to one authority, 'It has become an often-referred-to modern classic.' His most recently published book is Good Guys, Wiseguys and Putting Up Buildings: A Life in Construction, published in 2012. Florman is Chairman of Kreisler Borg Florman General Construction Company, Scarsdale, New York. In 1995 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering “For literary contributions furthering engineering professionalism, ethics and liberal engineering education."
Sytse Strijbos is a Dutch academic, former lecturer of Philosophy of technology at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and at Potchefstroom University in South Africa, and chairman of the International Institute for Development and Ethics IIDE, known for his work on systems science.