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Engineering, economics, Heidegger … and Mariotti: a note

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The paper examines matters arising from the recent Mariotti’s article. It argues that the social epistemological practices of engineering and economics are different, in ways that must creation tensions as and when they try to work together. However, the details of these differences, and aspects of economics, combine to suggest that Mariotti’s article can be read as suggesting what will be needed for economists’ epistemic power to be deployed into new areas, to address crises facing ‘the planet’, and how engineering can accompany them as they do this.

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  1. I cite the 1977 English translation by William Lovitt, the original was first published in German in 1954, according to the Preface.

  2. There are immediate problems of translation here, as the German word he is using—wesen—has possible translations, according to my dictionary, in various contexts, of nature, character, creature, soul, essence (“In philosophy”, my dictionary says), and fuss.

  3. Personal communication, young PhD student, whose topic was the modelling of such issues.

  4. I recall, as an undergraduate, being told by a Rolls-Royce apprentice and fellow student that the company designed their expensive cars with simultaneous equation systems that went to the 3rd degree, as it gave a better ride (spring displacement, rate of change of displacement, and rate of change of that rate of change). I have no idea whether this is true or not.


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Fforde, A. Engineering, economics, Heidegger … and Mariotti: a note. J. Ind. Bus. Econ. 48, 589–600 (2021).

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