Maarten Franssen

Maarten Franssen
Delft University of Technology | TU · Ethics/Philosophy of Technology

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54
Publications
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1,020
Citations
Citations since 2017
2 Research Items
505 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023020406080100
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100

Publications

Publications (54)
Chapter
Full-text available
Most engineering reasoning in practice is about how to achieve some predetermined end. Despite its paramount importance, this form of reasoning has hardly been investigated in the literature.a The aim of this paper is therefore to explore the question to what extent technical norms can be said to have a truth-value, and under what conditions practi...
Chapter
About 15 years ago, Peter Kroes and Anthonie Meijers published as editors a collection of papers under the title The empirical turn in the philosophy of technology (Kroes and Meijers 2000). Next to containing several examples of the kind of studies the editors had in mind, the book made an ardent plea for a reorientation of the community of philoso...
Chapter
This article takes stock of where philosophy of technology is at, and where it has been since the so-called ‘empirical turn’ announced around the millennial turn. The article both discusses recent advances and suggests concrete ways of making progress in specific topics, especially regarding the philosophical study of technical artefacts. The artic...
Book
This volume features 16 essays on the philosophy of technology that discuss its identity, its position in philosophy in general, and the role of empirical studies in philosophical analyses of engineering ethics and engineering practices. This volume is published about fifteen years after Peter Kroes and Anthonie Meijers published a collection of p...
Article
Engineering is increasingly of systems that are not only complex – in being multilayered – but also hybrid – in containing people as components. This chapter does not discuss the already well-researched safety concerns generated by this development with respect to operators, users, and bystanders but instead addresses values of relevance to the pre...
Chapter
During most of the twentieth century, philosophy of technology has been largely interested in the effects of technology on human society and culture whereas philosophy of science has focused on the content and justification of the ideas of scientists. During the past decades, a branch of philosophy of technology has developed that, similarly to the...
Chapter
Technical artefacts are subject to normative judgements, in particular evaluative judgements, as a matter of course: we speak of good saws, poor drills, and so forth. These judgements concern the instrumental value of artefacts: a saw is good as a saw, a drill is poor as a drill. In this essay I investigate whether we can also attribute non-instrum...
Chapter
This chapter introduces the reader to the main difficulties that artefacts pose for ontology. Due to the possibilities of disassembly and reassembly, it is problematic to come up with clear identity conditions for artefacts. Due to the possibility of radical reassembly of parts to create an artefact of another kind, artefact classification is probl...
Chapter
In this chapter we discuss criteria for ontologically crediting or discrediting certain kinds of things we refer to in everyday life and artefact kinds in particular. Generally used criteria for settling whether things ‘really exist’ are mind-independence and determinateness, and on these criteria artefacts are said to flounder. We show that anothe...
Chapter
Modelling is an extremely important aspect of the work of engineers. Ever since technology changed from a craft-based to a science-based practice, engineers have been engaged in modelling the artefacts they design, build and test. The modelling techniques they rely on, however, originate from the physical sciences. They work well for the technical...
Book
This book is concerned with two intimately related topics of metaphysics: the identity of entities and the foundations of classification. What it adds to previous discussions of these topics is that it addresses them with respect to human-made entities, that is, artefacts. As the chapters in the book show, questions of identity and classification r...
Chapter
One of the peculiar features of our discourse with respect to technical artefacts is its richly evaluative and normative character. We speak routinely of good alarm clocks and poor corkscrews and of functioning mobile phones and malfunctioning TV sets. Elsewhere, I have argued that the normative character of this discourse is linked to the fact tha...
Chapter
Full-text available
The latest version of the entry "Philosophy of Technology" may be cited via the earliest archive in which this version appears: Franssen, Maarten, Lokhorst, Gert-Jan and van de Poel, Ibo, "Philosophy of Technology", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall20...
Article
Integrated product design approaches presuppose knowledge sharing among cross-functional teams. In this paper, such sharing is considered for failure phenomena. It aims at finding a trans-disciplinary definition of failure that facilitates the communication of knowledge about failures between the different engineering disciplines. Four criteria are...
Book
In A Philosophy of Technology: From Technical Artefacts to Sociotechnical Systems, technology is analysed from a series of different perspectives. The analysis starts by focussing on the most tangible products of technology, called technical artefacts, and then builds step-wise towards considering those artefacts within their context of use, and ul...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper three perspectives are presented on defining the general notion of technical artifacts in formal ontologies. These perspectives share two intuitions: that technical artifacts are objects that exist by human intervention; and that technical artifacts are to be contrasted to natural entities. Yet the perspectives are different in the wa...
Chapter
The subject of this chapter is the interaction between technology and society but more particularly, between technological development and the context of such development. There are different views about the way in which technology and society influence each other, varying from the idea that technology develops independently of the social context t...
Chapter
In Chapter 1, we argued that technical artefacts such as aeroplanes, electric drills, computers and ballpoint pens differ from both physical objects and social objects in that they embrace something of both. Technical artefacts are tangible objects with physical properties, but they are also objects with a function, which they have in virtue of the...
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In this chapter, we return to engineering practice; to discover what forms of knowledge are relevant in that area. The idea underscoring much philosophical work on this subject is that technology is nothing other than applied science. We shall demonstrate that this idea is wrong: engineers do more than simply use scientific or applied scientific kn...
Chapter
In Chapter 5, we have seen that technical artefacts are often part of larger sociotechnical systems and that those systems also contribute to determining the consequences of the use of such artefacts. We ended Chapter 6 with the conclusion that technology can result in unintended consequences. These two observations lead one to wonder to what exten...
Chapter
We start in this chapter by analysing the nature of technical artefacts. What sorts of objects are they? What are the typical characteristics of technical artefacts? Given that technical artefacts play such a predominant role in our modern world, these are all important questions. The way in which people interact with one another and relate to natu...
Chapter
In the previous chapters, we discussed what technical artefacts are and how we can best understand the technical design process. We learned that technology is directed at changing the world and that engineers contribute to that by designing artefacts. The changes brought about by technology can be both for the good and for the bad. In this chapter,...
Chapter
In Chapter 1, a technical artefact was defined as a physical object designed and made by humans with a technical function and a use plan. In this chapter, we focus on the question of what technical designing actually is There is consensus amongst engineers about two main features: the core activity of technical designing is describing a physical ob...
Article
In this paper we raise the question whether technological artifacts can properly speaking be trusted or said to be trustworthy. First, we set out some prevalent accounts of trust and trustworthiness and explain how they compare with the engineer’s notion of reliability. We distinguish between pure rational-choice accounts of trust, which do not dif...
Conference Paper
In this paper we survey the engineering literature for definitions of failure with the aim of identifying a definition that can capture the concept of failure in Integrated Product Development. This approach is increasingly being adopted in contemporary engineering because, if correctly applied, it is effective in improving product competitiveness....
Article
The mere using of an object, be it a natural or an artefactual object, for a purpose is to be distinguished from the making of an artefact. The making of an artefact is the intentional modification of one or more of the properties of a natural object, resulting in the creation of an artefact. The basic defining characteristic that distinguishes art...
Article
This chapter aims to present a systematic overview of the different kinds of rationality issues that may come up with regard to engineering-design practice. Engineering design has many faces, ranging from the almost exclusively functionally oriented design of new materials and technical devices in fields like mechanical and electrical engineering,...
Chapter
References and Further Reading
Chapter
It has been argued that technical artifacts are a special category of objects that require a combination of the physical and intentional ‘descriptions of the world’. In this chapter, I question this point of view. Any object can figure in the intentional actions of some person, for example as being used for a purpose. A more interesting question is...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we show that Arrow’s well-known impossibility theorem is instrumental in bringing the ongoing discussion about verisimilitude to a more general level of abstraction. After some preparatory technical steps, we show that Arrow’s requirements for voting procedures in social choice are also natural desiderata for a general verisimilitude...
Article
Systems engineering has been plagued by the problem of how to separate a system from its environment or context, in particular from its social context. We propose to include anything in the system that is necessary for performing its intended function and that may be the object of design. For certain engineering systems, such as civil aviation syst...
Article
Part of the distinction between artefacts, objects made by humans for particular purposes, and natural objects is that artefacts are subject to normative judgements. A drill, say, can be a good drill or a poor drill, it can function well or correctly or it can malfunction. In this paper I investigate how such judgements fit into the domain of the n...
Article
The conceptualization of the notion of a system in systems engineering, as exemplified in, for instance, the engineering standard IEEE Std 1220-1998, is problematic when applied to the design of socio-technical systems. This is argued using Intelligent Transportation Systems as an example. A preliminary conceptualization of socio-technical systems...
Article
Arrow’s theorem poses limits to the translation of the different preference orders on a set of options into a single preference order. In this paper, I argue, against opinions to the contrary, that Arrow’s theorem applies fully to multi-criteria decision problems as they occur in engineering design, making solution methods to such problems subject...
Article
In this paper Kuipers' set-theoretic approach to scientific research programs as applied to design research programs is reviewed. The main criticism is that this approach, through its conception of properties as "atomic," cannot do justice to the fact that most properties that matter in design problems come in degrees. Thus the approach offers no h...
Article
In this paper we discuss how the increasing importance of socio-technical systems affects systems engineering. We start with a clarification of the notion of systems engineering by distinguishing two ways in which engineering design is involved with systems characteristics: in the object of design and in the design approach. Next we focus on system...
Conference Paper
The IEEE standard for the systems engineering process is problematic when applied to the design of (socio-technical) systems. This is argued using examples of automated vehicle systems. A conceptualization of socio-technical systems is introduced. This distinguishes technical and social elements and agents, as well as four kinds of relations. Next...
Article
Rationality has different meanings within different contexts. In engineering design, to be rational usually means to be instrumentally rational, that is, to take a measured decision aimed at the realization of a particular goal, as in attempts to optimize an objective function. But in many engineering design problems, especially those that involve...
Article
This concluding contribution to the special issue on technological regimes discusses specific strengths and weaknesses of the regime concept and their implications for further conceptual and theoretical work as well as for empirical studies employing the regime concept. Four issues are addressed: the idea that technological regimes are rule-sets, t...
Article
In the literature on technical innovation and development, various concepts have been developed to account for the often cumulative and patterned character of technical development. This special issue explores the possibilities and limitations of one such concept: the concept of technological regime. In this introduction, we introduce the concept o...
Article
This paper presents a critical analysis of the concept of a technological regime, originally introduced as an analytical instrument to explain the dynamics of technical change. Most authors agree that regimes should be seen as sets of rules. However, I argue that there is much confusion among social theorists concerning the character of these rules...
Article
Gauthier's argument for constrained maximization, presented inMorals by Agreement, is perfected by taking into account the possibility of accidental exploitation and discussing the limitations on the values of the parameters which measure the translucency of the actors. Gauthier's argument is nevertheless shown to be defective concerning the ration...
Article
Full-text available
Traditional engineering design fails to adequately incorporate into its modeling practice the hybridity and stratification of complexes that involve not only technical artif acts but also individual people playing different roles, as well as social institutions such as laws, norms, and regulations. In this paper we propose a novel way o f conceptua...

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