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Philosophy & Technology

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 685–726 | Cite as

Taking Stock of Engineering Epistemology: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

  • Vivek Kant
  • Eric KerrEmail author
Research Article

Abstract

How engineers know, and act on that knowledge, has a profound impact on society. Consequently, the analysis of engineering knowledge is one of the central challenges for the philosophy of engineering. In this article, we present a thematic multidisciplinary conceptual survey of engineering epistemology and identify key areas of research that are still to be comprehensively investigated. Themes are organized based on a survey of engineering epistemology including research from history, sociology, philosophy, design theory, and engineering itself. Five major interrelated themes are identified: the relationship between scientific and engineering knowledge, engineering knowledge as a distinct field of study, the social epistemology of engineering, the relationship between engineering knowledge and its products, and the cognitive aspects of engineering knowledge. We discuss areas of potential future research that are underdeveloped or “undone.”

Keywords

Philosophy of engineering Epistemology Design Engineering knowledge Engineering methods Technological artifacts 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Vivek Kant would like to thank his teacher and mentor Scott Campbell for his encouragements towards adressing the science-engineering relationship.

Funding Information

Eric Kerr’s work on the project benefited from the financial support of a Singapore Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 2 grant entitled “Governing Compound Disasters in Urbanising Asia” (MOE2014-T2-1-017).

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Industrial Design Centre (IDC School of Design)Indian Institute of TechnologyMumbaiIndia
  2. 2.Asia Research Institute, AS8, 10 Kent Ridge CrescentNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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