The Philosophy of Safety Engineering

In 2017 I visited the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as a visiting researcher on the Software Assurance and Formal Methods programme. The purpose of the visit was to explore the potential overlaps between work conducted in epistemology and metaphysics (especially causation) in philosophy, and the issues that arise in Safety Engineering - the domain of those who investigate accidents (looking back) and, through development of regulation and testing procedures, try and minimise the risk of them in the future (looking forward). I was generously hosted by C. Michael Holloway.

The visit demonstrated that there is clear overlap, and thus significant potential for collaborative work in this area. We have since strengthened this collaboration through a joint-PhD project and continue to seek further opportunities.

Published work:

McCardel, F., Holloway, C. M., Wasson, K., McDonnell, N. , Graydon, M., Pena, A. and Lehman, S. (2023) Towards a Coherent View of Evidence in Safety Assurance. Technical Report. NASA, Hampton, VA.