MUSTS Colloquium: Sjoerd Zwart (TU Delft) – A Manifest for the Emancipation of Engineering and Technology

Wednesday October 4th, 15:30-17:00

This event will take place on-campus

If you would like to attend as non-MUSTS member, please register by sending an email to: j{dot}bruyninckx{at}maastrichtuniversity{dot}nl



This paper starts with my methodological involvement in academic engineering projects over the last two decades, which led me to distinguish seven types of technoscience projects. Besides being successful in teaching, this 7-type analysis is also a fruitful and fine-grained tool for technoscience research in general. I will illustrate this with interpretations of the work of Carnot, Froude, and Turing. My recent classification of laboratory experiments in Design Studies validates the 7-type analysis because it is a successful triangulation. By introducing subproject mean-end hierarchies (to increase coherence in large projects), I will explain how scientific products and activities can be fruitfully distinguished from engineering ones. This results in the observation that science is ultimately a one-correct-answer, and engineering is a multiple-possible-answers endeavor. As a normative corollary, I break a lance for the emancipation of engineering. We must recognize that the still prevalent ‘engineering = applied science’ perspective distorts reality and does engineers injustice. Therefore, we must free engineers from the yoke of being the slaves of the ‘pure’ sciences, recognize the unique type of their efforts, and value them for their own sake.

(This paper uses perspectivism incorporating Weberian ideal types).