By , March 2, 2008 2:52 pm

Final program is posted here.
Extended abstracts
are posted here.

Invited Speakers

Louis L. Bucciarelli (MIT), author of Designing Engineers and Engineering Philosophy.

Title: Ethics and Engineering Education
Abstract: ABET recommends the study of ethics so that students acquire “an understanding of professional and ethical
responsibility”. For the most part, teaching of the subject relies upon the use of scenarios – both hypothetical and “real”- and open discussion framed by the codes. These scenarios and this framing strike me as seriously deficient – lacking in their attention to the complexities of context, almost solely focused on individual agency, while reflecting too narrow and simplistic a view of the responsibilities of the practicing engineer. A critique of several exemplary scenarios, and consideration of the demands placed upon today’s professional, prompt reflection on the need for, not just a more expansive reading of the codes of ethics re what it might mean to be “responsible”, but a substantial reform of undergraduate engineering education across the board.

Jun Fudano (Kanazawa Institute of Technology), Director of the Applied Ethics Center for Engineering and Science (AECES).

Title: Japanese Engineers Meet Western Ethics: The Introduction of Engineering Ethics Into Japan and Beyond
Abstract: Engineering ethics, especially its American version, has been introduced to the Japanese engineering community in the last decade of the 20th century. The historical process of the introduction of engineering ethics in Japan will be discussed in the first part of the presentation. In the second part, the research project entitled “the Formation of the Ethics Crossroads and the Construction of Science and Engineering Ethics,” which has been supported by the Japanese Science and Technology Agency, and its results will be described to show how engineering ethics can be developed in the Japanese context with a global perspective.

Alastair Gunn (University of Waikato), co-author of Engineering, Ethics, and the Environment.

Title: Integrity and the Ethical Responsibility of Engineers
Abstract: Everyone agrees that the responsibility of engineers includes a commitment to technical excellence and fidelity to client and employer. There is also increasing acceptance that engineers also have social and environmental responsibilities. I argue that these responsibilities extend beyond the engineer’s own work; that an engineer has broad responsibilities to expose and report all instances of risks to public safety and the environment I defend this position by appealing to the much-used but little–analyzed concept of integrity.

Natasha McCarthy (Royal Academy of Engineering), Policy Advisor, Engineering Policy (with discussion by Peter Kroes, TUDelft, co-author of Between Science and Technology and Technological Developement and Science in the Industrial Age).

Title: A world of things, not facts
Abstract: When one mentions philosophy of engineering, people often point out that Wittgenstein was an engineer – in order, perhaps, to quell their initial skepticism about the viability of the subject. Although Wittgenstein’s engineering background may have had no direct influence on his philosophy, a comparison between a philosophy of engineering and Wittgenstein’s later philosophical views can demonstrate the validity and value of the philosophy of engineering. In his later years, Wittgenstein turned to the world, to the context of real human interactions, in order to better understand mind and language and to shed light on previously intractable philosophical problems. If philosophers of science and epistemologists are willing to look at how knowledge is exercised in the world, through the application of knowledge to practical problems, they too will get a better understanding of their subject and will get new insight into problems they have wrestled with for centuries.

Hans Radder (Vrije University in Amsterdam).

Title: Are Technologies Inherently Normative?
Abstract: Answering the question posed in my title requires, first of all, a plausible account of the notions of ‘technology’ and ‘normativity’. For this purpose, a (type of) technology is characterized as a (type of) artefactual, functional system with a certain degree of stability and reproducibility, and the question of how we may successfully realize such technologies is discussed. Next, a norm is taken to be a socially embedded directive about what people should do or believe, and several important aspects of norms and the role they play in actual practices are explained.

The second step is an examination of the normativity of technology in the case of Langdon Winner’s account of the political nature of artefacts and in my own analysis of the material/social control needed to realize stable and reproducible technologies. The merits and problems of these approaches are assessed and their implications for the main question of this paper discussed. I conclude that the answer is ‘yes’, technologies are inherently normative, and I explain what this means and why it is the case.

Walter Vincenti (Stanford University), author of What Engineers Know and How They Know it.

Title: It Isn’t Rocket Science!”: Changing the Public Perception of Engineering
An Interactive Conversation with Walter Vincenti via Live Video Conference (Palo Alto <–> Delft).

One Response to “Program-2007”

  1. iFoundry says:

    […] extended abstract of a paper presented at the 2007 Workshop on Philosophy & Engineering by iFoundry co-director David E. Goldberg is available in the PhilSci archive […]

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