1 Purdue University (UNITED STATES)
2 Dublin Institute of Technology (IRELAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 4894-4902
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
Engineers and engineering technologists can certainly define technological problems, and then follow-through to design and implement solutions. Furthermore, engineering and engineering technology educators on both sides of the Atlantic have demonstrated that they can design and implement effective outcomes-based baccalaureate programs to prepare such professionals. Despite these successes, however, there is concern about whether our baccalaureate programs and processes are too technocratic in focus. This concern is fueled by real world observations of engineering failures, by well publicized ethical shortfalls, and by the relatively low participation rates of engineers and engineering technologists in society’s leadership roles.

Over the existence of human kind, philosophy has clearly enabled people to evolve a larger, more comprehensive welt-anschaung as well as encouraging reflective consideration of the appropriateness of their actions. Both of these characteristics are usually high among the aspirations the public, as well as our engineering societies, have for engineers and engineering technologists.

Given this context, the authors raise the question: How might engineering and engineering technology education benefit from philosophy? Clearly epistemology, logic and axiology have much to contribute, while perhaps arguably, metaphysics’ focus on the nature of reality may have less of an obvious impact. The authors therefore propose to highlight specific program implications of philosophy in response to targeting questions such as:

• How do engineers and engineering technologists in training/education come to know?
• How do engineers and engineering technologists in training/education organize their knowledge?

• What is the nature of ethics in engineering and engineering technology?
• What are the requirements for ethical behavior in engineering and engineering technology?

• How does the evolution of logical thinking progress in engineering and engineering technology education?
• What are the philosophical prerequisites for effective inductive and deductive reasoning in engineering and engineering technology education?

In addition to suggesting some provocative possibilities for the redesign of engineering and engineering education programs and courses based on possibilities raised in response to the above questions, the authors will link these ideas to the processes of metacognition and knowledge management that are of critical importance to tomorrow’s successful engineering and engineering technologists.
philosophy, engineering education, engineering technology education, technology.