Revolt of Engineers in the 21st Century: Conflict Field of Technological Innovation

E. E. Chebotareva


The article discusses the conflict between engineers as the professional community and their employer (state or capital owner), which starts its history from the beginning of the 20th century. The author deals with the concepts of engineering philosophy and attempts to define the modern concept of “engineer” with a purpose to understand the new role of the engineer in modern society. The article demonstrates the problem to define the concept of engineering and its connection with the concept of power, which inevitably leads engineers to competing relations with their employers. The article also examines the modern context of engineering, in its connection with science and capital, explores the tendency to merge the concepts of capitalist, employer and engineer. In addition, the author shows the contradictions of relations between engineers and society, expressed in the decisions of scientific policy, in particular, in the concept of “responsible innovations”. Strengthening the role of the professional community of engineers is shown in the context of a comparison of the conflict between engineers and capital owners and bureaucracy in the early 20th century (Author uses works of T. Veblen and E. Layton), and in the beginning of the 21st century (works of modern Western and domestic authors). The article touched upon the topic of influence on the society of modern blockchain technologies.


philosophy of engineering; engineer; innovation; conflict

Full Text:

 Subscribers Only


Никитаев В.В. От философии техники — к философии инженерии // Вопросы философии. 2013. № 3. С. 68–79 [Nikitaev, V.V. From the philosophy of technology - to the philosophy of engineering, in Voprosy filosofii [Questions of philosophy], 2013, No. 3: 68–79]. URL: (In Russ.)

Веблен Т. Инженеры и ценовая система. Издательский Дом ВШЭ, 2018.

Veblen, T. Engineers and pricing system, HSE Publish. House, 2018. (In Russ.)

Layton, E. The Revolt of the Engineers: Social Responsibility and the American Engineering Profession, Johns Hopkins University Press, February 1, 1986.

Layton, Е. Veblen and the Engineers, in American Quarterly, Spring, 1962, Vol. 14, No. 1: 64–72.

Митчем К. Что такое философия техники? Часть III. Проблема ответственности и техника. Глава 13. Инженеры, профессиональная ответственность и этика. Аспект Пресс, 1995 [Mitcham, K. What is the philosophy of technology? Part III. The problem of responsibility and technology. Chapter 13. Engineers, professional responsibility and ethics, Aspect Press, 1995]. URL: (In Russ.)

Kline, R. R., Layton, E. T. From Progressivism to Engineering Studies: Edwin T. Layton's “The Revolt of the Engineers”, in Technology and Culture, 2008, Vol. 49, No. 4: 1018–1024.

Davis, M. Distinguishing Architects from Engineers: A Pilot Study in Differences Between Engineers and Other Technologists, in Poel, I., Goldberg, D. (eds) Philosophy and Engineering: Philosophy of Engineering and Technology, Springer, Dordrecht, 2009, Vol 2.

Davis, M. Is there a Profession of Engineering?, in Science and Engineering Ethics, 1997, No. 3(4): 407–428.

Didier, C. Professional Ethics Without a Profession: A French View on Engineering Ethics, in Poel, I., Goldberg, D. (eds), Philosophy and Engineering: Philosophy of Engineering and Technology, Springer, Dordrecht, 2009, Vol 2.

Davis, М. Three myths about codes of engineering ethics, in IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, Fall, 2001, Vol. 20, Issue 3.

Markey-Towler, В. Anarchy, Blockchain and Utopia: A theory of political-socioeconomic systems organized using Blockchain, in The JBBA, 2018, Vol. 1, Issue 1.

Blockchain, H.К. The Greater Good, and Human and Civil Rights, in Metaphilosophy, 2017, No. 48(5): 654–665.

Гришечкина Н.В., Тихонова С.В. Производство знания в цифровую эпоху // Революция и эволюция: модели развития в науке, культуре, социуме: сборник науч. статей / под общ. ред. И.Т. Касавина, А.М. Фейгельмана. Н. Новгород: Изд-во Нижегородского госуниверситета им. Н.И. Лобачевского, 2017.

Grishechkina, N.V., Tikhonova, S.V. Production of knowledge in the digital age, in Kasavina, I.T., Feigelman, A.M. (eds.) Revolution and Evolution: models of development in science, culture, Society: a collection of scientific articles, Nizhny Novgorod University Publish., N. Novgorod, 2017. (In Russ.)

Johnson, D. Rethinking the Social Responsibilities of Engineers as a Form of Accountability, in Philosophy and Engineering, November 2017.

Guston, D. H., Fisher, E., Grunwald, A., Owen, R., Swierstra, T.E., van der Burg, S. Responsible innovation: motivations for a new journal, in Journal of Responsible Innovation, 2014, Vol. 1, No. 1: 1–8.



  • There are currently no refbacks.