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Conceptualizing Integration As Transformation And Point Of View

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



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Page Numbers

4.142.1 - 4.142.7

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Melvin Cherno

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Kathryn A. Neeley

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1361

Conceptualizing Integration as Transformation and Point of View

Kathryn Neeley, Melvin Cherno University of Virginia

I. Introduction We have designed this paper as an essay in intellectual genealogy. That is, it traces the ancestry of our own thinking about integration. We have selected five authors and intellectual traditions that we have found particularly useful as sources of models and terminology for thinking through the concept of integrating the humanities and social sciences into engineering education.

There are two common threads running through these authors and traditions. First, they conceptualize integration as transformation, in the sense that the process changes the components out of which a new, integrated whole is created. Second, they emphasize the importance of point of view, which recognizes that individuals, groups, and bodies of knowledge typically do not stand in fixed relation to each other, but rather have different relationships depending on the purpose for which they are brought together. None of the authors or traditions provides a solution; all of them provide suggestive ways of grappling with the central challenge of integrated thinking: conceptualizing the complex relationships between parts and wholes.

We believe that the foundation of integration is thinking in terms of engineering practice rather than particular disciplines or curricula. As our examples will demonstrate, there is a long history of thinking about the various forms of knowledge that are essential for successful engineering practice. Although there are many authors and intellectual traditions available, we focus in this paper on two historical examples and three contemporary ones. The two historical examples are the Roman architect Marcus Pollio Vitruvius 1 (1st century B.C.) and the medieval concept of the arts and sciences. The three contemporary examples include Robert Pirsig 2, philosopher and author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974); Günter Ropohl 3 , a German engineering educator; and Arnold Pacey 4, historian of technology and author of The Culture of Technology (1983).

For the two historical examples, the integration of various forms of knowledge is a fact. For the other three, the lack of integration is a problem to be overcome. The remainder of this paper outlines the features of each author or tradition that have been most important for our thinking and indicates how they help define the concept of integration.

II.Vitruvius: Locating and Complementing Expert Knowledge

Marcus Pollio Vitruvius was the author of the Ten Books on Architecture 1 , the only treatise on architecture and engineering to survive from classical times. To understand Vitruvius, it is

Cherno, M., & Neeley, K. A. (1999, June), Conceptualizing Integration As Transformation And Point Of View Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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