Design research programs

Abstract
In this paper Kuipers' set-theoretic approach to scientific research programs as applied to design research programs is reviewed. The main criticism is that this approach, through its conception of properties as "atomic," cannot do justice to the fact that most properties that matter in design problems come in degrees. Thus the approach offers no help with a main difficulty in design problems: that of evaluating different design concepts or prototypes when multiple features or properties, each of which giving rise to a comparative ordering of the concepts or prototypes, have to be taken into account. This problem is argued to be isomorphic to the well-known problem of social choice and therefore, in view of Arrow's theorem, a "deep" problem.
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