Needful things
Posted by aogMonday, 03 October 2005 at 16:15 TrackBack Ping URL

Via Joanne Jacobs is this article about “humanitarian engineering”. As best as I can tell, the cirriculum is just engineering except there’s more emphasis on how it helps people rather than pure problem solving. Whatever.

I was struck by this quote, however:

At first, some faculty members complained that the new minor implied that the rest of engineering wasn’t humanitarian. Munoz said that while most engineers are working to “improve man’s situation on the planet,” not all engineering is humanitarian.

“What about weaponry?” he said. “It may be necessary, but it’s not humanitarian. It’s caused us to ask some interesting questions.” [emphasis added]

How can something be “necessary” for humans while the provision of it isn’t humanitarian? Isn’t providing that which is needful for humans the very definition of humanitarian?

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