Philosophy, Engineering, and Western culture

  • Steven L. Goldman
Part of the Philosophy and Technology book series (PHTE, volume 7)


Engineering has long been treated with condescension in Western culture and this continues today even among those intellectuals who have discovered the cultural significance of science and, very recently, of technology. In a complementary essay to this one, I describe technology as a social process to which engineering contributes, but which is driven by institution-specific executive decisions that apply technical knowledge selectively to the accomplishment of managerial agendas.1 The practice of engineering, I argue there, is captive to social determinants of this process such that the definition of engineering problems, the determination of the means to be used in solving them, and the identification of what will count as solutions, all derive from the institutional context of engineering’s practice, not from the knowledge engineers possess, and certainly not from Nature.


Scientific Knowledge Scientific Theory Physical Science Western Culture Engineering Education 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven L. Goldman
    • 1
  1. 1.Lehigh UniversityUSA

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