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Silk flowers are just as artificial as plastic ones: value engineering in the university context

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This paper moves beyond the competence focus of mainstream value engineering training (e.g. Miles 1989, Techniques of Value Engineering and Value Analysis; Kaufman 1990, Value Engineering for the Practitioner), such books achieve their training goal well but lack the pedagogic aim we argue in this paper. This paper achieves our aim by describing the philosophical linkage between value engineering, function analysis and innovation and the economic imperative businesses bring to modes of engineering consideration. This philosophical underpinning uses Heidegger's attack on Descartes' 'I think therefore I am' and the assumptions such logic brings to the central question of an individual existence among the existences of everything else. Rather than singularly focusing on 'what' or 'that', Heidegger calls upon us to consider 'how and why' as a product of ontological functioning. However, we do not seek to replace Cartesian rationalism with Heidegger's phenomenological methods, as the latter does have several aspects we disagree with. We argue for their mutual inclusion, something Heidegger would argue against, to enable systematic modes of considering 'know-that' and 'know-how' in an informed and objective approach to managing innovation and engineering epistemology. Value engineering is offered as a means to enhance the way we teach our students how to innovate and make them aware of the dangers of thinking man-made or artificial-technology is superior to an all-embracing natural or ontological-technology.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Technology Oxford Brookes University Oxford OX3 0BP UK 2: School of Design Engineering and Computing Bournemouth University Bournemouth BH12 5BB UK

Publication date: 2004-09-01

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