By Michael Davis
Michael Davis, a number one determine within the examine ethics, bargains right here either a compelling exploration of engineering ethics and a philosophical research of engineering as a career. After placing engineering in ancient point of view, Davis turns to the Challenger house trip catastrophe to contemplate the complicated courting among engineering beliefs and modern engineering perform. right here, Davis examines how social association and technical requisites outline how engineers should still (and most likely do) imagine. Later chapters try out his research of engineering judgement and autonomy empirically, attractive various social technological know-how study together with a examine of ways engineers and bosses interact in ten assorted businesses.
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Extra info for Thinking Like an Engineer: Studies in the Ethics of a Profession (Practical and Professional Ethics Series)
The second imperative on Ferguson's list is a preference for labor-saving devices. Engineers will, Ferguson thinks, design to save labor even when labor is cheap and the end result will be higher production costs and more unemployment. Page 13 The engineer's preference for labor saving is understandable as a product of engineering's military origin. Since engineering began, the primary labor pool of most armies has been their own soldiers. Because no general wants his soldiers doing construction when they could be fighting, military engineers have always had an incentive to look for means of saving labor even though the labor saved was, in one sense, cheap (indeed, free).
These imperatives are, according to Ferguson, instincts engineers bring to their work. Although engineers can resist them, just as I can resist drinking water even if I am thirsty, they are, in effect, the engineer's default setting, what engineers will do unless they consciously try to do something else. Ferguson intended this list to be a criticism of the way engineers work. It is, I think, both less and more than that. The list is less than a criticism because the first four imperatives seem, on reflection, at least as much virtues as vices.
I hope those I forgot will forgive the forgetting. I owe special thanks to two colleagues: to Vivian Weil, for helping me, more than a decade ago, to see that engineers might be at least as philosophically interesting as lawyers, and to Robert Ladenson, for convincing me to join a small band of philosophers following their calling among the engineers at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). Though I accepted the invitation more because I trusted him than because I believed what he said, I now doubt that any other course of action could have had as good an outcome.