Both engineering and human living take place in a messy world, one full of unknowns and contingencies. Due to this natural chaos, books about engineering design cannot have "ideal solutions" printed in the back in the same way that mathematics textbooks can. Engineers cope with real-world contingency through "design reasoning". Design reasoning does not produce a single, ideally correct answer to a given problem but rather generates a wide variety of rival solutions that vie against each other for their relative level of "satisfactoriness". A reasoning process analogous to design is needed in ethics. Since the realm of interpersonal relations is itself a fluid and highly contingent real-world affair, design reasoning offers the promise of a useful paradigm for ethical reasoning.

In By Design, Brad J. Kallenberg undertakes two tasks. First, he employs design reasoning to illustrate how technological artefacts can be assessed for their inherent moral properties. Second, he uses the design paradigm as a means for bringing engineering ethics into conversation with Christian theology in order to show how each can be for the other a catalyst for the revolutionary task of living by design.

Borrowing ideas from aeronautical-engineer-turned-philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, and dedicating a chapter to Hugh of St. Victor who was the first to show that engineering, by its very nature, makes positive contributions to the redemptive plans of God, By Design has a huge amount to offer all those involved in Engineering, theology or simply the ethics of living a moral life, Christian or otherwise.

About the Author: Brad J. Kallenberg is Associate Professor of Theology at the University of Dayton, Ohio.

Comment & Share

BWW Reviews: STARFISH, Patty Dann's Excellent New Novel by Greenpoint PressBWW Reviews: STARFISH, Patty Dann's Excellent New Novel by Greenpoint Press

Subscribe for News & Specials