Integrating Philosophy into the Education of Engineers: Some results from the UK<br />Andrew Fox. <br />Marine Science and...
Aim of presentation<br />To inform the current debate on philosophy in engineering in two ways:<br />By presenting results...
Structure of presentation<br />Discussion forum hosted by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), UK<br />Workshop hoste...
ICE Discussion forum<br />Engineering and Philosophy<br />October 2005-Sept 2006<br />373 postings <br />61 members<br />4...
Delegates were asked to engage with a number of questions grouped around three themes:<br />Defining the concept of a PoE<...
Theme 1 – Defining a PoE<br />Q.1 - What are the fundamental concepts in engineering that need to be defined in order to u...
Consider engineering’s commitment to the real world – pragmatism, utility, practical know-how
Understand the role of technology in engineering – modelling, experimentation, testing
Understand the links between science and engineering – the application of science, not precise, how is engineering different
Understand the network of interdisciplinary concepts that make up engineering – has this led to a crisis of identity?
Understand the nature of professionalism – rigour, process, practicality, ethics, responsibility
Understand what defines success in engineering - function, form, elegance, ingenuity, creativity </li></li></ul><li>Theme ...
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Integrating Philosophy into the Education of Engineers: Some results from the UK

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Integrating Philosophy into the Education of Engineers: Some results from the UK

  1. 1. Integrating Philosophy into the Education of Engineers: Some results from the UK<br />Andrew Fox. <br />Marine Science and Engineering, <br />University of Plymouth, <br />Devon, <br />UK<br />
  2. 2. Aim of presentation<br />To inform the current debate on philosophy in engineering in two ways:<br />By presenting results from a study, conducted in 2005-6, that was designed to explore the philosophical issues that were occupying the minds of engineers at that time in the UK. <br />To assess what progress has been achieved towards the implementation of ideas emanating from the study.<br />
  3. 3. Structure of presentation<br />Discussion forum hosted by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), UK<br />Workshop hosted by the Higher Education Academy (HEA), Engineering Subject Centre, UK<br />Conclusions<br />
  4. 4. ICE Discussion forum<br />Engineering and Philosophy<br />October 2005-Sept 2006<br />373 postings <br />61 members<br />40 regular contributors<br />27 topics<br />14 postings per topic (ave)<br />Main philosophical issues:<br />What is an engineer?<br />How important is ethics in engineering?<br />What do engineers do?<br />What is philosophy?<br />How important are art and science in engineering?<br />
  5. 5. Delegates were asked to engage with a number of questions grouped around three themes:<br />Defining the concept of a PoE<br />Building a PoE into the educational programme of engineers<br />Moving a PoE forward<br />Note: PoE – Philosophy of Engineering<br />
  6. 6. Theme 1 – Defining a PoE<br />Q.1 - What are the fundamental concepts in engineering that need to be defined in order to underpin a philosophy of engineering?<br /><ul><li>Understand the historical developments that have led to the current concept of what constitutes engineering – what is engineering? Consider if being too philosophical may be detrimental to being a good engineer?
  7. 7. Consider engineering’s commitment to the real world – pragmatism, utility, practical know-how
  8. 8. Understand the role of technology in engineering – modelling, experimentation, testing
  9. 9. Understand the links between science and engineering – the application of science, not precise, how is engineering different
  10. 10. Understand the network of interdisciplinary concepts that make up engineering – has this led to a crisis of identity?
  11. 11. Understand the nature of professionalism – rigour, process, practicality, ethics, responsibility
  12. 12. Understand what defines success in engineering - function, form, elegance, ingenuity, creativity </li></li></ul><li>Theme 1 – Defining a PoE<br />
  13. 13. Theme 2 – Building a PoE into the educational programme<br />Q. How can the principles of a philosophy of engineering be built into the education, training and continued professional development of engineers and philosophers?<br />In terms of content:<br /><ul><li>Introduce topics on the philosophy of science, metaphysics and ethics
  14. 14. Encourage the questioning of assumptions, critical thinking, argument, decision making and moral judgements
  15. 15. Include ideas about aesthetics, form, function, value, social responsibility, classification of objects and modelling</li></ul>In terms of implementation:<br /><ul><li>Can this fit into the curriculum - needs the support of the professional bodies, reflect on how much of an engineer’s technical education is actually used, how will it affect accreditation, what balance needs to be achieved, is a longer degree programme needed, should the PoE be a core subject
  16. 16. Can it be taught – staff with credibility in both disciplines are needed, cognate disciplinary material does exist, issues and case studies help,
  17. 17. Lessons can be learned from the USA and Australia where they have made progress in this direction already</li></li></ul><li>Theme 3 – The future<br />Q. How should the development of a philosophy of engineering be moved forward?<br /><ul><li>Encourage special editions of journals with a focus on the philosophy of engineering
  18. 18. Continue discussions along the lines of the ICE e-forum discussion
  19. 19. Build a database or centre where interested individuals can gain access to information and discussions
  20. 20. Contact philosophy departments and encourage more philosophers to engage with the debate
  21. 21. Organise more face to face meetings with a focus on issues relevant to a philosophy of engineering
  22. 22. Encourage institutional support for the idea
  23. 23. Organise a conference themed around the subject of a philosophy of engineering</li></li></ul><li>Structure of presentation<br />Discussion forum hosted the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)<br />Workshop hosted by the Higher Education Academy (HEA), Engineering Subject Centre<br />Conclusions<br />
  24. 24. Conclusions<br />
  25. 25. One final thought<br />Cogito ergo sum! Facio ergo ingeniare?<br />

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