Ελληνικά

Laboratory on Humanities

Course Description:

The course deals with the interface of civil engineering issues with humanities and social sciences, such as history and philosophy of technology, political influences, environmental and professional ethics, and technical communication.

  • Semester 7 , 8
  • Teaching hours 3

Course Units

# Title Description Hours
1 Co-evolution of technology, science and philosophy in world history Evolution of construction of technical works, in connection with the formulation of scientific theories, from antiquity to the present day. Relationship of engineering projects and theories with location (geographic, cultural and social characteristics). Philosophical dimension (ethics, logic, metaphysics, aesthetics) of technological and scientific actions. 2Χ3=6
2 Historical and philosophical introduction to the scientific method Ancient Greek philosophy and physics. Modern scientific revolution. Basic scientific assumptions, inference and drawing conclusions; falsifiability, deduction and induction. Probability and inductive logic, Bayesian reasoning. Making decisions on complex issues. 2Χ3=6
3 Politics and technology Evolution of the relationship between politics and technology. Globalized economic competition (how it is determined by political action to exploit resources and rationalize their management using technology, but also to seek and adopt new technologies). Relationship between politics and major infrastructure projects (how the subways, highways, major hydraulic projects, etc., are major political choices that determine development). Politics and state-of-the-art technologies (how information technology, Internet, biotechnology, etc., influence developments, while social media, manipulated or not, are more effectively involved in triggering social reflexes). 2Χ3=6
4 Natural and built environment Theories of environmental ethics. Anthropocentrism, deep ecology. The institutional relationship between environmental policy and environmental values. Urban space and technology. 2Χ3=6
5 Engineering ethics Engineering codes of conduct; guidance framework for decision-making using common ethical reasoning tests; combined technical-ethical analysis in case studies. 2Χ3=6
6 Technical writing and professional communication Organizing a technical report (Title, Contents, Tables, Figures, Summary, Conclusions), striving for clarity and simplicity, conforming to or developing a style, avoiding common mistakes. 2Χ3=6

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the course, students are able to:

  1. recognize the life cycle of projects and scientific theories that have worked for long periods of time, in order to gain experience and appreciate the impact of their work on the philosophical (moral, aesthetic) perception of citizens;
  2. recognize the contribution of the scientific method to the production of new knowledge and technology, and identify irrational beliefs even if they are established;
  3. hone in on value content and ethical theories about the natural and built environment, and the importance of environmental policies;
  4. recognize the non-technical dimensions of major infrastructure projects, identify potential political and social implications of their support, acknowledge the importance of informing the population and democratic decision-making, and assess alternatives to deal with a potential impasse.
  5. identify problematic ethical aspects of civil engineering case studies and evaluate technical decisions by applying common ethical reasoning tests;
  6. apply writing techniques that guide the reader and facilitate the comprehension of a technical document.

Teaching Methods

Teaching methods Lectures and class discussion (units 1-5). Discussion and editing of excerpts of technical texts in class (unit 6).
Teaching media Powerpoint presentations
Assignments (projects, reports) Presentation of each subject in the classroom by each group of students (units 1-5). Writing of a short text which is returned with corrections (unit 6)
Student presentations Yes

Student Assessment

  • Student presentations: 100%

Textbooks - Bibliography

  1. (unit 1) McClellan III, J.E. and Dorn, H., 2015. Science and technology in world history: Αn introduction. JHU Press.
  2. (unit 2) Gower, B., 1997. Scientific Method: A Historical and Philosophical Introduction, Psychology Press.
  3. (unit 2) Gauch, H. G., Jr., 2003. Scientific Method in Practice, Cambridge University Press.
  4. (unit 2) Weinberg, S., 2015. To Explain the World, Penguin, UK.
  5. (unit 3) Street, J., 1992. Politics and Technology, Guilford Press.
  6. (unit 4) Fox, W. ed., 2012. Ethics and the built environment, Routledge.
  7. (unit 4) Georgopoulos, A., 2002.Environmental Ethics, Gutenberg, Athens (in Greek).
  8. (unit 4) Protopapadakis, E., 2005. Ecological Ethics, Sakkoulas, Athens - Komotini (in Greek).
  9. (unit 5) Altman, I. and Chemers, M.M., 1984. Culture and environment (No. 2). CUP Archive.
  10. (unit 5) Humphreys, K.K., 1999. What every engineer should know about ethics (Vol. 35). CRC Press.
  11. (unit 6) Agioutantis, Z.G and S.P. Mertikas, 2003. A practical guide for technical writing, Ion Press (in Greek).