Humanities in Engineering Education

Humanities in Engineering Education

Maria Teresa Russo (Campus Bio-Medico University, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0951-8.ch016


The difficulty in defining who the engineer is, in our times, is due to the increasing complexity of technical progress, which seems endless. The engineer’s professionalism nowadays requires not only technical skills, but also a deep sense of responsibility towards human society and the environment. It is necessary to answer more adequately to this complexity by providing the engineer a more comprehensive education. The inclusion of Humanities in the curriculum of the Engineering Faculties—specifically that of Anthropology, Ethics, Literature, and History of Technology—is indispensable for regaining the human factor in technological questions and for educating responsible and competent professionals.
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The chapter analyses the need for improving a liberal education of engineers in order to humanize technology. Technology today is no longer a possession, a set of instruments utilized by man; instead, it has become a dynamic process that has given rise to a new world vision modifying the notion that man has of himself. This evolution has also produced a change in the role and responsibilities of engineering’s activity.

The challenge of the so-called Human-Centered Technology is that of recovering categories such as human and not-human, as natural and artificial, words whose authentic senses have been blurred.

This chapter aims to investigate the following issues: 1) what are the current implications of the evolution of technology; 2) problematic aspects of the current engineering role; 3) the importance of Engineering Humanities, such as philosophy, literature and history of technology.

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