Zachary Pirtle, fPET 2018 Conference Co-Chair


Zachary Pirtle has been engaged with the fPET community since its inception at the 2007 Workshop on Philosophy of Engineering at TU-Delft. His contributions have ranged from developing a framework for assessing independence among multiple models to help mitigate uncertainty (Pirtle et al, in press, Pirtle et al 2010), exploring the difference between scientific and engineering models (Pirtle 2010) as well as studying  the relationship between law- and non-law-based epistemologies and perceived views on engineering and innovation policy (Pirtle 2013). Separately, he has also researched what role of democratically determined values should have in engineering, including efforts to use public input in engineering decisions (Pirtle and Szajnfarber 2017, Pirtle and Tomblin 2017, Bertrand et al 2017). 

Pirtle earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, B.A. in Philosophy, and M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, all from Arizona State University. While at ASU he did research with the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes. He is currently finishing his PhD in Systems Engineering at George Washington University, which includes a collaboration with the philosopher of science Jay Odenbaugh. Previously, he studied in Mexico as a Fulbright Scholar (2008); and served as a Mirzayan Fellow at the National Academy of Engineering (2009).

Separate from his academic research, Pirtle is a program integration engineer at NASA headquarters, which he joined in 2010 as a civil servant. His work supports integration for the Space Launch System, Orion spacecraft and associated ground systems. Pirtle's claims and involvement with fPET2018 are made in his personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views of NASA or the United States Government. He can be reached via the fPET email 

Papers about engineering and/or epistemology:

Pirtle, Z and Hamilton, A.L., Odenbaugh, J., Szajnfarber, Z. Accepted. "Engineering Model Independence: A Pluralist Strategy to Encourage Independence Among Models." Techné: research in philosophy and technology

Pirtle, Z., Meyer, R. and Hamilton, A., 2010. "What does it mean when climate models agree? A case for assessing independence among general circulation models." Environmental science & policy, 13(5), pp.351-361.

Pirtle, Z., 2010. "How the models of engineering tell the truth" in: Ibo van de Poel and David Goldberg (eds) Philosophy of engineering: an Emerging Agenda. Springer Netherlands. pp. 95-108. DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-2804-4_9

Pirtle, Z., 2013. "Engineering Innovation: Energy, Policy, and the Role of Engineering". In: Michelfelder D., McCarthy N., Goldberg D. (eds) Philosophy and Engineering: Reflections on Practice, Principles and Process. Philosophy of Engineering and Technology, vol 15. Springer, Dordrechtt. (pp. 377-390).

Pirtle, Z. and Odenbaugh, J., Szajnfarber, Z. In press. "'The One, the Few or the Many?': Using Independence as a Strategy in Engineering Development and Modeling." In: Albrecht Fritzsche and Sascha Oks (eds) The Future of Engineering: Philosophical Foundations, Ethical Problems and Application Cases. Springer Press

Selected papers about engineering and democracy: 

Bertrand, P. and Pirtle, Z., D. Tomblin. 2017 "Participatory Technology Assessment for Mars
Mission Planning: Public Values and Rationales" Space Policy.

Tomblin, David and Zachary Pirtle, et al. 2017, "Integrating Public Deliberation into Engineering Systems: Participatory Technology Assessment of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission." Astropolitics. 15:2. Pp. 141-166

Pirtle, Zachary and Zoe Szajnfarber. 2017. “On Ideals for Engineering in Democratic
Societies.” In: Michelfelder, D., B. Newberry, Q. Zhu (eds). Philosophy and Engineering,
vol 26. Springer Philosophy of Engineering and Technology series. P. 99-112

Pirtle, Z and D. Tomblin. 2017. "Well-Ordered Engineering? Participatory Technology Assessment at NASA." in: Joe Pitt and Ashley Shew (eds), Spaces for the Future: a Companion to the Philosophy of Technology. Routledge University Press