Religious Studies Faculty Publications

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Source

Engineering Education and Practice: Embracing a Catholic Vision


Knowledge of our roots can sometimes help us figure out how we ought to proceed. Many claim that engineering began in ancient antiquity with the Egyptian pyramids, Archimedes' inventions, or the Roman aqueducts. Others give contemporary engineering a more recent history, tracing its origins to the Industrial Revolution or the Enlightenment. Yet what is often overlooked is the fact that contemporary engineering owes part of its identity to medieval monasticism.

The advantage of remembering this history is the bearing it has on the questions "What is engineering for?" and "How ought engineering be practiced?"

Michael Davis makes the claim that, in Western thought, engineering has always played second fiddle to science because we in the West have been bewitched by the myth that engineering is nothing but applied science. But engineering is not merely applied science. Engineering has its own distinctive identity.

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Published Version


Chapter 2 is included in the repository for download with the permission of the publisher. The full citation:

Engineering Education and Practice: Embracing a Catholic Vision. James L. Heft, S.M., and Kevin Hallinan, eds. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press (2012).

Permission documentation is on file.


University of Notre Dame Press

Place of Publication

Notre Dame, IN