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Is There More to Engineering that Applied Science?

Downey, Martin LU (2012) FLMU06 20121
Division of Fire Safety Engineering
Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety
Abstract
This thesis examines the idea that engineering is an applied science, and what it means for the practice of engineering, particularly in the context of complex socio-technical systems. It traces the social history of engineering as a profession in the Anglo-Saxon context and the development of a ‘scientific ideology’ in engineering education which replaced the practice based learning of the shop-taught engineers. The success in the application of reductionist approaches to engineering analysis of complicated designs has reinforced the belief that engineering science provides an understanding of the world as it is. In the context of complex systems, this over-confidence in the epistemology of engineering science poses a risk in itself.... (More)
This thesis examines the idea that engineering is an applied science, and what it means for the practice of engineering, particularly in the context of complex socio-technical systems. It traces the social history of engineering as a profession in the Anglo-Saxon context and the development of a ‘scientific ideology’ in engineering education which replaced the practice based learning of the shop-taught engineers. The success in the application of reductionist approaches to engineering analysis of complicated designs has reinforced the belief that engineering science provides an understanding of the world as it is. In the context of complex systems, this over-confidence in the epistemology of engineering science poses a risk in itself. Paradoxically, acknowledging the uncertainty, subjectivity and methodological imperfection in our approach to assessing the risks inherent in technology may provide most benefit. (Less)
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author
Downey, Martin LU
supervisor
organization
course
FLMU06 20121
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
organisation, risk, reductionism, heuristic, applied science, epistemology, engineering, practice, analogue, history, human factors, FLMU06
language
English
id
2968043
date added to LUP
2012-08-06 11:33:06
date last changed
2014-03-10 10:40:42
@misc{2968043,
  abstract     = {This thesis examines the idea that engineering is an applied science, and what it means for the practice of engineering, particularly in the context of complex socio-technical systems. It traces the social history of engineering as a profession in the Anglo-Saxon context and the development of a ‘scientific ideology’ in engineering education which replaced the practice based learning of the shop-taught engineers. The success in the application of reductionist approaches to engineering analysis of complicated designs has reinforced the belief that engineering science provides an understanding of the world as it is. In the context of complex systems, this over-confidence in the epistemology of engineering science poses a risk in itself. Paradoxically, acknowledging the uncertainty, subjectivity and methodological imperfection in our approach to assessing the risks inherent in technology may provide most benefit.},
  author       = {Downey, Martin},
  keyword      = {organisation,risk,reductionism,heuristic,applied science,epistemology,engineering,practice,analogue,history,human factors,FLMU06},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Is There More to Engineering that Applied Science?},
  year         = {2012},
}