The pace of technological change in the modern world requires corresponding progress in our ability to make sense of new developments, ideas, and solutions and a commitment to ensuring that they serve the ultimate purpose of individual and collective flourishing.

Long-term success in any professional discipline depends on our ability to formulate problems and generate solutions in a way that acknowledges the complexity of the world we live in. Appreciating this complexity is impossible without being willing to question one’s beliefs, remaining open to alternative points of view, and having at least a basic level of proficiency in critical thinking. The work that we do in Philosophy, Management and Technology enables professionals across a range of disciplines to become better thinkers, more effective practitioners, and more responsible citizens.

Philosophy for Practical Professions: Interview Series

What is the benefit of philosophy for practical disciplines? How does one make philosophy practical? And how do people and societies benefit from it? In this interview series, Professor Andrey Pavlov and Dr Toby Thompson speak with educators, practitioners and thought leaders around the world who have spearheaded the work at the intersection of philosophy and practical disciplines.

What is Education and Why Do We Need It?

Guest: Professor Paul Standish, UCL, UK

What makes education transformative? How does it lead to a good life? In this interview, we speak with Professor Paul Standish (UCL) about the most important questions at the intersection of philosophy and education. We probe into some unconventional ideas - why catering to a learner's wants can actually hamper their education, the role of education in unveiling life's meaning, and the transformative power of engaging with the world. In this conversation, we challenge the narrow focus of standard educational courses, explore the “subversive streak” often present in good teachers and students, and consider why education can sometimes be seen as personal growth therapy..

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What Philosophy Brings to the Engineering Profession

Guest: Dr Guru Madhavan, National Academy of Engineering, USA

What’s at the heart of the engineering profession? What unique powers does the profession have and how can they be harnessed? How do the role, purpose and identity of engineers evolve through millennia? And, most importantly, how does philosophy help us address these questions? Here we have a conversation with Dr Guru Madhavan about the nature of the engineering profession and the value of philosophy for advancing it. In this truly fascinating interview, we cover a huge variety of topics, including the historical evolution of engineers’ identity; the relationship between engineering, economics, and philosophy; the often forgotten value of maintenance and the essential role of “grind challenges”, the current programmes at the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, as well as the design of the traffic management system in the city of Stockholm, the collective organizing behind the construction of the Great Living Chola Temples, and much more.

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Advancing Engineering Practice through Philosophy

Guest: Dr David Goldberg, University of Illinois and ThreeJoy Associates, USA

How can philosophy transform the practice of engineering? What valuable insights can engineers gain from the ideas and methods of philosophy? In this interview, we focus on the value of philosophy for modern engineering practice. We discuss the professional tensions that effective engineers need to master, explore the necessary transformations in education to empower engineers, and unravel the latest advancements in the global discourse on the philosophy of engineering and technology.

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The Joy of Thinking: A Conversation with a Corporate Philosopher

Guest: Luc de Brabandere, Boston Consulting Group, Belgium

What is the role of philosophy in the corporate world? What business problems can philosophy help to address and how does it do that? In this interview, we talk about the power of philosophy to bring rigour where there are no numbers, to supercharge creativity, and to drive strategic renewal. We examine how using philosophy to clarify corporate language can unlock hidden energy within organizations, how thought experiments help leaders consider strategic options, and why one should never strive to think differently – just think more.

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Philosophy of Engineering and The Engineering Way of Thinking

Guest: Professor William M. Bulleit, Michigan Technological University, USA

What are the fundamental principles at the heart of engineering? Does the engineering way of thinking extend to social and economic systems? How does it address the challenges posed by complexity and complex adaptive systems? What are the philosophical foundations of the engineering profession and how should they be taught? In this interview, we discuss the nature and attributes of the engineering way of thinking, including the relationship between design, heuristics, and artifacts; consider the role of complexity, ignorance, imagination, and failure in engineering practice; examine the role and limits of Pragmatist philosophy in engineering; and think about how engineering is – and should be – taught.

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Dangerous Questions: Digital Ethics and Philosophy in Business

Guest: Frank Buytendijk, Gartner, The Netherlands

What is digital ethics? Can machines have agency and assume responsibility? What does philosophy have to contribute to the field of information technology and why is it relevant to leaders and business executives? In this interview, we cover a huge variety of topics, including digital ethics, the importance of ethical and philosophical questions in engineering and technology, the questions posed by the rise of artificial intelligence, and the place of philosophy and ethics in business and business education.

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Executive MBA, Philosophy and Complexity

Guest: Dr Kosheek Sewchurran, University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, South Africa

What does an FT 100 Executive MBA programme based on philosophy and complexity theory look like? How does philosophical inquiry drive personal transformation and career growth for postgraduate executives? In this interview, we explore how philosophical reasoning can support personal and professional growth, discuss the role and place of philosophy in the modern Business School, and consider the true meaning of education, especially in professional Schools.

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Philosophy for the Everyday Life

Guest: Professor Lou Marinoff, City College of New York & American Philosophical Practitioners Association, USA

How can philosophy help to resolve our everyday challenges? How does one engage in philosophical practice and benefit from philosophical counselling? And most importantly, what is the value of philosophy for the everyday life? In this interview, we explore what makes philosophy practical and how one can benefit from it in a recognizable and tangible way – for example, making an ethical decision or choosing between career options. We also discuss the value of maintaining a diverse range of interests in one’s personal and professional life.

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Doing Philosophy: How hard can it be?

Guest: Emma Swinn MBE, The Philosophy Foundation, UK.

When are you ready to engage in philosophical thinking? Can philosophy be taught to children? What is the benefit of teaching philosophy in schools? And what would that look like? This interview explores the fundamental value of philosophy for human lives and, by implication, for well-functioning societies. It also illustrates the difference between studying philosophy and “doing philosophy”, showing that everyone is just a step away from engaging in the latter and experiencing its benefits.

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Moral reasoning in leadership development and business education

Guest: Professor Joseph L. Badaracco, Harvard Business School, USA

This interview explores the groundbreaking course “The Moral Leader” taught on the Harvard MBA exclusively through the works of philosophy and serious literature, discusses the importance of making time for reflection in our everyday lives, and asks how training in moral reasoning can benefit one’s professional practice.

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Philosophy of Executive Education

In this interview, Professor Andrey Pavlov and Dr Toby Thompson discuss the philosophy of executive education and Dr Thompson's book 'Heidegger and Executive Education'. Among the questions they ask in this interview are: What are the assumptions underlying the expectations placed on business executives? What are the personal and professional consequences of leaving these assumptions unchallenged? And what are the fundamental roles and responsibilities of executive educators?