Epistemology in Engineering Systems
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The engineering systems division at MIT has adopted an official vision statement -- “ESD will be a leader in understanding, modeling, predicting and affecting the structure and behavior of technologically enabled complex systems.” To fulfill this vision, I think it is worthwhile for ESD faculty to reflect on epistemology and its relationship to engineering systems. Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of knowledge, justification, evidence, and related notions. By reflecting upon epistemology, we may clarify in our own minds how we come to know something about engineering systems and thereby improve our research methods. In this white paper, I pose five questions related to epistemology and engineering systems. I also discuss possible answers, but my goal was primarily to spark discussion rather than solidify a position.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division
ESD Working Papers;ESD-WP-2003-10