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Engineering Good: How Engineering Metaphors Help us to Understand the Moral Life and Change Society

Author: Coeckelbergh, Mark

Source: Science and Engineering Ethics, Volume 16, Number 2, June 2010 , pp. 371-385(15)

Publisher: Springer

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Abstract:

Engineering can learn from ethics, but ethics can also learn from engineering. In this paper, I discuss what engineering metaphors can teach us about practical philosophy. Using metaphors such as calculation, performance, and open source, I articulate two opposing views of morality and politics: one that relies on images related to engineering as science and one that draws on images of engineering practice. I argue that the latter view and its metaphors provide a more adequate way to understand and guide the moral life. Responding to two problems of alienation and taking into account developments such as Fab Lab I then further explore the implications of this view for engineering and society.

Keywords: Alienation; Engineering; Fab Lab; Metaphor; Morality; Open source; Politics

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11948-009-9163-0

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE, Enschede, The Netherlands, Email: m.coeckelbergh@utwente.nl

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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