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

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Abstract
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
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