Engineering and Critical Communication: The Relevance of Philosophy to Engineering

TitleEngineering and Critical Communication: The Relevance of Philosophy to Engineering
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1983
AuthorsGottlieb, RS
JournalTechnology and Society Magazine, IEEE
Date Published1983
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number0278-0097
Keywordscomputer , ethics , Government , knowledge , PUBLIC
AbstractThis essay will argue for the specific relevance of the study of philosophy to the practice of engineering. As an activity, engineering requires a community of discourse in which critical communication can occur. By critical communication, I mean the process of rationally challenging and evaluating claims to truth of particular statements and theories; claims of sincerity by speakers; and justifications of the socially sanctioned power of persons who claim technical expertise in engineering. Part of the study of ethics and political philosophy is the description of the social and personal conditions which make possible the freedom essential to critical thinking. These conditions include both personal values and social norms, and center around the concepts of personal autonomy, communal responsibility and political freedom. This essay will conclude with a brief account of how these concepts, essential to the practice of engineering, can be communicated through the study of ethics and political philosophy.