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Philosophy and Engineering

Exploring Boundaries, Expanding Connections

  • Challenges conventional assumptions as to what constitutes a "good engineer"

  • Points to a new perspective on what it means to do philosophy of engineering in a context of bridge-building between philosophers and engineers

  • Contains contributions by both leading scholars and emerging voices in the field, as well as chapters co-authored by philosophers and engineers

Part of the book series: Philosophy of Engineering and Technology (POET, volume 26)

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  • ISBN: 978-3-319-45193-0
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Softcover Book USD 119.99
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Table of contents (19 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-viii
  2. Philosophy and Engineering: An Unconventional Work in Progress

    • Diane P. Michelfelder, Byron Newberry, Qin Zhu
    Pages 1-12
  3. Pragmatism and Engineering

    • William M. Bulleit
    Pages 13-22
  4. Squaring Philosophy of Engineering Through Personal Epistemologies Research

    • Kacey Beddoes, Devlin Montfort, Shane Brown
    Pages 23-41
  5. Evidence in Engineering

    • Eric Kerr
    Pages 43-59
  6. On Ideals for Engineering in Democratic Societies

    • Zachary Pirtle, Zoe Szajnfarber
    Pages 99-112
  7. Engineers and the Evolution of Society

    • Erik W. Aslaksen
    Pages 113-124
  8. Empathic Perspective-Taking and Ethical Decision-Making in Engineering Ethics Education

    • Justin L. Hess, Jonathan Beever, Johannes Strobel, Andrew O. Brightman
    Pages 163-179
  9. In Praise of Emotion in Engineering

    • Michael Davis
    Pages 181-194
  10. 3D Printing and Anticipatory Business Ethics

    • Richard L. Wilson
    Pages 195-209

About this book

This volume, the result of an ongoing bridge building effort among engineers and humanists, addresses a variety of philosophical, ethical, and policy issues emanating from engineering and technology.  Interwoven through its chapters are two themes, often held in tension with one another: “Exploring Boundaries” and “Expanding Connections.”  “Expanding Connections” highlights contributions that look to philosophy for insight into some of the challenges engineers face in working with policy makers, lay designers, and other members of the public. It also speaks to reflections included in this volume on the connections between fact and value, reason and emotion, engineering practice and the social good, and, of course, between engineering and philosophy. “Exploring Boundaries” highlights contributions that focus on some type of demarcation. Public policy sets a boundary between what is regulated from what is not, academic disciplines delimit themselves by their subjects and methods of inquiry, and professions approach problems with unique goals and by using concepts and language in particular ways that create potential obstacles to collaboration with other fields. These and other forms of boundary setting are also addressed in this volume.

Contributors explore these two themes in a variety of specific contexts, including engineering epistemology, engineers’ social responsibilities, engineering and public policy-making, engineering innovation, and the affective dimensions of engineering work. The book also includes analyses of social and ethical issues with emerging technologies such as 3-D printing and its use in medical applications, as well as social robots. Initial versions of the invited papers included in this book were first presented at the 2014 meeting of the Forum on Philosophy, Engineering, and Technology (fPET), held at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. The volume furthers fPET’s intent of extending and developing the philosophy of engineering as an academic field, and encouraging conversation, promoting a sense of shared enterprise, and building community among philosophers and engineers across a diversity of cultural backgrounds and approaches to inquiry.


  • engineering education
  • engineering ethics
  • epistemology of engineering
  • innovation and design
  • philosophy of engineering
  • safety and risk in engineering

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Philosophy, Macalester College, Saint Paul, USA

    Diane P. Michelfelder

  • Department of Mechanical Engineering, Baylor University, Waco, USA

    Byron Newberry

  • Division of Liberal Arts and International Studies, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, USA

    Qin Zhu

About the editors

Diane P. Michelfelder is Professor of Philosophy at Macalester College, USA. Her primary areas of research inquiry are the philosophy of technology and the philosophy of engineering. She has been actively involved in the creation and development of fPET: the Forum on Philosophy, Engineering, and Technology, and has served as the president of the Society for Philosophy and Technology. Currently, she is co-editor-in-chief of that society’s journal, Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology. Her work has been published in this journal as well as in Science and Engineering Ethics, AI & Society, Philosophy and Technology, Engineering Studies, and Ethics and Information Technology, among others. Along with philosopher Natasha McCarthy and engineer David E. Goldberg, she is editor of Philosophy and Engineering: Reflections on Practice, Principles, and Process (Springer 2013).

Byron Newberry has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Alabama, along with an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering and a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics, both from Iowa State University. He is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Baylor University and has been designated a Baylor Fellow for teaching. His teaching areas include engineering design, engineering mechanics, engineering ethics, and sustainable engineering. His current research interests include engineering design, engineering ethics, and the philosophy of engineering and technology. He has worked as an aircraft structural engineering consultant, is an Executive Board member of the National Institute for Engineering Ethics, serves on the Steering Committee for the Forum on Philosophy, Engineering, and Technology (fPET), and serves as an Editor of the SpringerPhilosophy of Engineering and Technology book series.

Qin Zhu is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Ethics Across Campus Program and the Division of Liberal Arts and International Studies at Colorado School of Mines, where he is also helping with managing the Daniels Fund Faculty Fellows Program that provides scholarly and grant support for faculty to explore ways to integrate ethics into their applied science and engineering curricula. He has broad teaching and research interests in the ethical, historical-cultural, and policy perspectives of engineering practice and education. His research has drawn on theories, methods, and practices from a wide range of fields including philosophy of technology, engineering ethics, engineering education, and Confucian ethics. His work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as Engineering Studies, History of Education, and Technology in Society.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Philosophy and Engineering

  • Book Subtitle: Exploring Boundaries, Expanding Connections

  • Editors: Diane P. Michelfelder, Byron Newberry, Qin Zhu

  • Series Title: Philosophy of Engineering and Technology

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Religion and Philosophy, Philosophy and Religion (R0)

  • Copyright Information: Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-319-45191-6

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-319-83234-0

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-319-45193-0

  • Series ISSN: 1879-7202

  • Series E-ISSN: 1879-7210

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: VIII, 270

  • Number of Illustrations: 11 b/w illustrations, 10 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Philosophy of Technology, Science Education, Engineering Design

Buying options

eBook USD 89.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-45193-0
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)