Program-2008

By , July 31, 2009 1:41 pm

Downloaded detailed program as pdf file here
Download abstracts book as pdf file here

WPE-2008 INVITED KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Jerry Ravetz (Consultant & James Martin Institute, Oxford University), author of Scientific Knowledge and Its Social Problems and A No-Nonsense Guide to Science.

Title: Maintenance as Morality
Abstract:
Maintenance is a low-status activity, done by technical rather than professional staff, employing a different sort of knowledge, and not usually enjoying the attention of philosophers. Yet maintenance is a key indicator of the morality that defines a socio-technical system. Because it is easily deferred and neglected, it will be the first budget item to go; and then when the effects of poor maintenance appear, it is too late. When maintenance is downgraded, could we say that the socio-technical system gets the failures it deserves? Under what circumstances does maintenance receive proper respect?

Billy V. Koen (University of Texas at Austin), author of Discussion of the Method: Conducting the Engineer’s Approach to Problem Solving.

Title: Toward a Philosophy of Engineering: An Engineer’s Perspective
Abstract:
If there is to be a Philosophy of Engineering, at the very least there must be an understanding of what the human activity we call engineering is. It is hard to see how a philosophy of anything could be developed when there is little understanding of what that anything is. Part I reprises an increasingly popular definition of engineering: “The engineering method (often called design) is the use of heuristics to cause the best change in an uncertain situation within the available resources.” Since this conference concerns engineerin gethics as one branch of a Philosophy of Engineering, it also shows how ethics enters engineering practice theoretically and how this differs from the classical view of Plato. Likewise, an effort to establish a Philosophy of Engineering must be based on an understanding of what the human activity we call philosophy is. How can an individual philosophize without knowing what to philosophize means? As a direct consequence of Part I and a series of demonstrations of Godels proof, the EPR experiment, multiple logic systems, and so forth, a new definition of philosophy that is consistent with engineering emerges as “Philosophy is the study of the heuristic by heuristics. Part II examines this view of philosophy as it applies to a Philosophy ofEngineering.

Carl A. Mitcham (Colorado School of Mines), author of Thinking through Technology: The Path between Engineering and Technology.

Title: The Philosophical Weakness of Engineering as a Profession
Abstract: One can distinguish between two kinds of professions. Strong professions, such as medicine and law, rest on the formulations of ideal goals that are also well embedded in the professional curriculum and practice. Weak professions, such as military and business, either lack such ideal goals or only weakly include the relevant specialized knowledge in a professional curriculum and practice. The (somewhat intentionally provocative) argument here will be that engineering had more in common with weak than with strong professions.

Ethics: Deborah G. Johnson (University of Virginia), author of Computer Ethics and Ethical Issues in Engineering.

Title: An STS-Informed Account of Engineering Ethics
Abstract:
In the last several decades the field of Science and Technology Studies has flourished and developed a rich set of concepts and theories for understanding the relationships among science, technology, and society. Building on an earlier paper on the topic, this presentation will press further in drawing out the implications of STS accounts for our understanding of the social responsibilities and accountability of engineers.

WPE-2008 TUTORIALS MONDAY

  • Ethics: Aarne Vesilind (Bucknell U.), Peace Engineering
  • Philosophy: Peter Kroes & Maarten Frannsen (TUDelft), Sociotechnical Systems
  • Reflections: Mark Somerville (Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering) and Sarah Bell (University College London), Revisiting Engineering Education

TUESDAY

  • Philosophy: Peter Simons (Leeds), Metaphysics in Engineering
  • Reflections: Igor Aleksander (Imperial College London), Engineering Conscious Systems
  • Ethics: Karen Tonso (Wayne State U.), Focusing on Gender in (and of) Engineering, not on Women: The Heretical Perspective

Provisional Program

2008 Workshop on Philosophy and Engineering (WPE-2008), The Royal Academy of Engineering

4 Keynote speakers, 6 tutorials, 45 contributed papers
Lunches, Receptions, and Coffee Breaks, included for registrants

Monday, 10 November 2008
09.00 – 09.30 Registration
09.30 – 09.45 Welcome and introduction of day’s theme(s)
09.45 – 10.45 Billy V. Koen: Toward a Philosophy of Engineering: An Engineer’s Perspective
10.45 – 11.15 Coffee break
11.15 – 12.45 Parallel session – submitted papers
12.45 – 14.00 Lunch
14.00 – 15.30 Tutorials:

Ethics: Aarne Vesilind ����� Peace EngineeringPhilosophy: Peter Kroes and Maarten Frannsen – Sociotechnical SystemsReflections: Revisiting Engineering Education – Sherra Kerns and Sarah Bell

15.30 – 16.00 Break
16.00-17.30 Jerry Ravetz: Maintenance as morality
17.30 – 19.30 Reception at the Royal Society

Tuesday, 11 November 2008
09.00 – 09.30 Coffee and tea
09.30 – 09.45 Welcome and introduction of day’s theme(s)
09.45 – 10.45 Deborah Johnson: An STS-Informed Account of Engineering Ethics
10.45 – 11.15 Coffee break
11.15 – 12.45 Parallel session
12.45 – 14.00 Lunch
14.00 – 15.30 Tutorials

Ethics: Karen Tonso: Focusing on Gender in (and of) Engineering, not on Women: The Heretical Perspective
Philosophy: Peter Simons – Metaphysics in Engineering
Reflections: Igor Aleksander – Engineering Conscious Systems

15.30 – 16.00 Break
16.00 – 17.30 Parallel Session – submitted papers
17.30 ����� 19.30 Poster Session with wine and canapés (sponsored by the British Academy)

Wednesday, 12 November 2008
09.00- 09.30 Tea and coffee
09.30 – 09.45 Welcome and introduction of day’s theme(s)
09.45 – 10.45 Carl Mitcham: The Philosophical Weakness of Engineering as a Profession
10.45 – 11.15 Coffee Break
11.15 – 12:45 Parallel session – submitted papers
12.45 – 14.00 Lunch
14.00 – 15.30 Parallel Session – submitted papers
15.30 – 16.30 Wrap-up session
16.30 Closing drinks

See the WPE-2007 program here

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