Rowman and Littlefield International

Steps toward a Philosophy of Engineering

Historico-Philosophical and Critical Essays

By Carl Mitcham

This book takes steps to develop a philosophy of engineering not to promote an ideology for engineering but to stimulate critical reflection among engineers and non-engineers alike about our engineering lifeworld.

Hardback ISBN: 9781786611260 Release date: Nov 2019
£80.00 €112.00 $120.00
Paperback ISBN: 9781786611277 Release date: Nov 2019
£23.95 €33.95 $34.95
Ebook ISBN: 9781786611284 Release date: Nov 2019
£22.95 €32.95 $33.00

Pages: 352


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The rise of classic Euro-American philosophy of technology in the 1950s originally emphasized the importance of technologies as material entities and their mediating influence within human experience. Recent decades, however, have witnessed a subtle shift toward reflection on the activity from which these distinctly modern artifacts emerge and through which they are engaged and managed, that is, on engineering. What is engineering? What is the meaning of engineering? How is engineering related to other aspects of human existence? Such basic questions readily engage all major branches of philosophy --- ontology, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics --- although not always to the same degree. The historico-philosophical and critical reflections collected here record a series of halting steps to think through engineering and the engineered way of life that we all increasingly live in what has been called the Anthropocene. The aim is not to promote an ideology for engineering but to stimulate deeper reflection among engineers and non-engineers alike about some basic challenges of our engineered and engineering lifeworld.

Preface & Acknowledgments / Introduction: Engineering as a Philosophical Issue / Part I: Philosophy of Engineering in General / 1. Science, Technology, Engineering, and the Military / 2. Ethics into Design / 3. The Importance of Philosophy to Engineering / 4. From Dasein to Design:The Problematics of Turning Making into Thinking / 5. Professional Idealism among Scientists and Engineers: A Neglected Tradition in STS Studies / 6. Can Engineering Be Philosophical? / 7. Convivial Software:An End-User Perspective on Free and Open Source Software / 8. Comparing Approaches to the Philosophy of Engineering / Part II Ethics, Engineering and Design / 9. A Spectrum of Ideals in Engineering Ethics, Simplified / 10. The Concept of Sustainability:Origins and Ambivalences / 11. Engineering Ethics Education in the American Context:Retrospect and Prospect / 12. Notes on Engineering Ethics in Global Perspective / 13. Humanitarian Engineering / 14. The Philosophical Inadequacy of Engineering / 15. The True Grand Challenge for Engineering: Self-Knowledge / 16. From Engineering Ethics to Politics / Part III: Toward a Political Philosophy of Engineering / 17. Engineering Policy: Exploratory Reflections / 18. Energy Constraints / 19. Can Philosophy Be Engineering? / 20. In Conclusions / Appendix: On Engineering Use and Convenience / References / Index

Carl Mitcham is International Distinguished Professor of Philosophy of Technology at Renmin (People’s) University of China and Professor Emeritus of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at the Colorado School of Mines. His publications include Thinking through Technology (1994), and Ethics and Science: An Introduction (2012, with Adam Briggle).

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