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date: 27 November 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter seeks to advance our understanding of engineering knowledge. The authors distinguish existing views of engineering knowledge as subordinating, contrasting, or assimilating it to (natural-)scientific knowledge. After identifying shortcomings and useful elements of each view, the authors offer ingredients for an alternative analysis, focusing on knowledge produced in the design of high-tech systems. This analysis builds on elements of existing views of engineering knowledge, as well as recent work in the philosophy of science. The authors argue that such design involves sets of epistemic activities, resulting in a variety of rules, where both activities and rules are governed by a distinctive set of epistemic and non-epistemic values. To illustrate this analysis, the authors use the development of the nuclear-fusion test reactor ITER as a running example.

Keywords: engineering knowledge, epistemic activities, fusion engineering, design rules, technoscience, applied science, non-epistemic values, prescriptive knowledge, tacit knowledge

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