For a little over a year now I’ve been thinking on industrial philosophy. In that year, what I’ve come up with is: I have yet to really define it. The idea came to me after seeing lean industry methods in practice. I found it incredibly interesting that it was such an easy system to deploy and to train engineers on, yet in the department solely dedicated to process engineering, no one seemed to have the underlying root cause of what it was about. Everyone was extremely good at implementation, but the why is not required because the method is so good. Hence, the idea of industrial philosophy. Why is it some methods of efficiency work? Why do we constantly strive to make industry (and I would lump every endeavor of work into industry at this point) more productive? What purpose does the productivity serve? Important to philosophy, what is the nature of knowledge of industrial practices? Can we ever know that something is as efficient as possible? Is there a definition of perfectly efficient? How do some people get it and some don’t? What factors go into that equation? This and so many more questions are being asked by me, but so far the most important I’m running into is: what is the definition of industrial philosophy?

Industrial philosophy could be defined as the way human and machine work together to achieve productivity. It could also be defined as the shared knowledge and learning that goes into the building of knowledge by human and machine, which I’m somewhat leaning toward.

Perhaps, as with so many things in my thoughts, once I get many pages written out, I can come back and finally have a definition. For now, I’m going to be exploring the knowledge we build upon for making processes more efficient and productive.

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