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Furthering Continental Philosophers in the Engineering Domain

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

The Philosophy of Engineering and Technological Literacy

Tagged Division

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

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Paper Authors


George D. Ricco Gonzaga University

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George D. Ricco is the KEEN Program Coordinator at Gonzaga University in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He completed his doctorate in engineering education from Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education. Previously, he received an M.S. in earth and planetary sciences studying geospatial imaging, and an M.S. in physics studying high-pressure, high-temperature FT-IR spectroscopy in heavy water, both from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He holds a B.S.E. in engineering physics with a concentration in electrical engineering from Case Western Reserve University. His academic interests include longitudinal analysis, visualization, semantics, team formation, gender issues, existential phenomenology, and lagomorph physiology.

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With the recent deluge of attempts at forming a more coherent and aligned philosophy of engineering education, a demand for an application of traditional continental methods still remains. Even the definition of the field itself is available for scrutiny, and within that framework, a number of interesting paradigms can be challenged. This paper intends to expand upon previous attempts at integrating Heidegger’s, Husserl’s, and Jaspers’ works on epistemologies, and forward them in a more integrated way accessible to both the philosopher of technology and the engineering educator interested in a more grounded application of philosophical constructs. We start with previous work addressing Heidegger’s constructs of false thinking and Bodenständigkeit or autochthony – sometimes called groundedness. This work and its related thoughtlessness in continental philosophy has rarely been applied to engineering and even less frequently (if at all) been applied within the modern engineering education framework. While this may be a novel treatment, it does not go far enough in addressing Heidegger’s critics and contemporaries – something we will attempt through using a lens borrowed from Jaspers’ work – that of his interpretation of existence and meaning. In order to further ground this philosophical treatment, we will bring into play key arguments of Husserl’s metaphysics, which contain constructs still relevant to a modern engineering philosophy. Finally, we hope to integrate the three in a manner relevant to colleagues within engineering education and beyond.

Ricco, G. D. (2016, June), Furthering Continental Philosophers in the Engineering Domain Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26991

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