Scientific methodology in the engineering sciences

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Abstract

This chapter aims to address some salient aspects of the engineering sciences and their methodology in scientific research, cumulating in a methodology of scientific modeling in the engineering sciences. A noticeable difference between scientific research in the engineering sciences by comparison with scientific research in the basic sciences is the role and character of phenomena, which in the basic sciences serve as aids in discovering and testing theories, while the engineering sciences analyze (physical-technological) phenomena in view of technological functioning or malfunctioning. Scientific research on technological problem-solving and innovation, therefore, is better cast in terms of design-concepts that are based on functional interpretations of phenomena. This also has consequences for the ways in which (physical-technological) phenomena are investigated and on the specific character of scientific knowledge for creating or controlling them by means of physical-technological circumstances.

Scientific modeling of technological systems is central to the engineering sciences, encompassing both the modeling of physical-technological phenomena in specific physical-technological contexts as well as the modeling of technological artifacts producing specific phenomena. A methodology is proposed for how scientific models of (physical or physical-technological) phenomena are constructed, which is on par with the well-known hypothetical-deductive methodology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Engineering
EditorsDiane Michelfelder, Neelke Doorn
PublisherRoutledge Tailor & Francis Group
Chapter6
Pages80-94
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781315276502
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2020

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