Students will learn:
- To familiarize themselves with and understand various philosophical perspectives and theories on the phenomenon of modern technology.
- To understand and critically assess theories of technological evolution.
- To identify and critically assess assumptions behind technological innovations.
- To understand and critically reflect on major challenges facing contemporary engineering and design.
- To acquire a perspective on the role of technology in contemporary culture.
- To develop their own positions vis-à-vis the challenges, promises, and possibilities of engineering and innovation.
- To develop a well-informed position vis-à-vis the relevance or irrelevance of philosophical perspectives on technology for engineers.
This course concerns philosophical perspectives on engineering design and the phenomenon of technology. The goal of this course is to acquire an understanding of what we are doing when pursuing engineering design. This involves historical and contemporary perspectives on technological culture; the interplay between technological and social dynamics; perspectives on the evolution of technology or technological systems; the relation between science and technology; perspectives on humanity as technological animal; the relation between ecology and technology; as well as the major challenges facing engineering today. Whereas these topics are philosophical in nature, discussion are specifically geared towards engineers, which implies that the question of whether philosophical perspectives are (ir)relevant within the domain of engineering will constantly be at the forefront.|
The course is structured in 7 sessions (2 hrs) consisting of either a lecture about the relevant theoretical perspectives or an interactive part where students apply the discussed theoretical frameworks to their own position and projects. No textbooks are necessary for this course: the relevant literature will be posted to Canvas. The final assessment will be based on a take-home exam that requires students to answer a set of open questions (relevant to the aforementioned perspectives) by using the appropriate literature to justify their own perspective(s) on engineering design. All students must submit this exam individually (via Canvas Assignments).