In Diane Michelfelder, Natasha McCarthy & David Goldberg (eds.), Philosophy and Engineering: Reflections on Practice, Principles and Process. Dordrecht, Netherlands: pp. 103-111 (2013)

Science is widely perceived as an especially systematic approach to knowing; engineering could be conceived as an especially systematic approach to willing. The transcendental precepts of Bernard Lonergan may be adapted to provide the backdrop for this assessment, which is manifest when the scientific and engineering methods are compared. In science, although the will is implicitly involved, the intellect is primary, because the goal is ideal—additional “objective” knowledge. In engineering, although the intellect is implicitly involved, the will is primary, because the goal is pragmatic—some “subjective” outcome, which is often selected by a manager or client, rather than the engineer. Furthermore, engineering problems are rarely well-defined; uncertainties and resource constraints dictate that they be conceptualized and solved heuristically. As a result, different engineers will follow different design procedures and develop different models, none of which is uniquely “correct.” Because tradeoffs are always necessary, engineering decision-making—and human behavior in general—is more intentional than rational. Recognizing this can help today’s society to overcome its traditional bias in favor of knowing over willing and to engage engineers more explicitly in addressing the many challenges that it faces, technological and otherwise.
Keywords heuristics  intentionality  models  social captivity  tradeoffs
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,700
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Changing the Paradigm for Engineering Ethics.Jon Alan Schmidt - 2014 - Science and Engineering Ethics 20 (4):985-1010.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Self-Reflection for Activist Engineering.Darshan M. A. Karwat - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (3):1329-1352.
A Systematic Approach to Engineering Ethics Education.Jessica Li & Shengli Fu - 2012 - Science and Engineering Ethics 18 (2):339-349.
The Place of Engineering and the Engineering of Place.Gene Moriarty - 2000 - Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 5 (2):83-96.
The Importance of Philosophy to Engineering.Carl Mitcham - 1998 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 17 (3):27-47.
The End-Use Problem in Engineering Ethics.C. Thomas Rogers - 1980 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:464 - 480.
Engineering with Uncertainty: Monitoring Air Bag Performance.Jameson M. Wetmore - 2008 - Science and Engineering Ethics 14 (2):201-218.
The Role of Non-Epistemic Values in Engineering Models.Sven Diekmann & Martin Peterson - 2013 - Science and Engineering Ethics 19 (1):207-218.


Added to PP index

Total views
5 ( #1,151,215 of 2,432,317 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #466,190 of 2,432,317 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes