Design research has been positioned as an important methodological contribution of the learning sciences. Despite the publication of a handbook on the subject, the practice of design research in education remains an eclectic collection of specific approaches implemented by different researchers and research groups. In this paper, I examine the learning sciences as a design science to identify its fundamental goals, methods, affiliations, and assumptions. I argue that inherent tensions arise when attempting to practice design research (...) as an analytic science. Drawing inspiration and insight from Chinese philosophy and the practice of Chinese medicine, I propose that the learning sciences may better attain its claims to science through greater reliance on inductive synthesis rather than linear causal analysis. In so doing, I reposition the endeavor of science making within the metaphysics of process philosophy instead of classical Western philosophy. I suggest that theory building will be strengthened empirically and pragmatically by more careful observation and systematic generalization of the stability patterns of design related phenomena. It also needs to be more situated in its orientation. (shrink)
This paper suggests that design ethics can be enriched by considering ethics beyond the traditional approaches of deontology, teleology, and virtue ethics. Design practice and design ethics literature tend to frame ethics in design according to these approaches. The paper argues that a fundamental and concrete ethical understanding of design ethics can also be found in Sartrean Existentialism, a philosophy centered on the individual and his/her absolute freedom. Through the analysis of four core concepts (...) of Sartrean Existentialism that define a specific ethics, the paper illustrates why such philosophical approach is relevant to design ethics. The paper also shows how Sartrean Existentialism and its ethics apply to critical issues of professional practice in design such as professional engagement and design decision-making. The paper finally argues that Sartre’s philosophy and ethics is a perspective that offers the designer in design practice a solid ground to engage his/her ethical dilemma. (shrink)
This sparkling collection of essays both defines and reassesses the concept of Utility. Using it as a touchstone for the consideration of the place of ethics in the recent history of design, the collection offers a way into the issues which concern design decision-makers today. It offers previously unpublished research into diverse topics such as the investigation into the hitherto undiscovered designs for a utility vehicle, and it reveals a fresh perspective on the philosophy behind the concept (...) of Utility as a design theory. (shrink)
Ethical decision making involves complex emotional, cognitive, social, and philosophical challenges. Even if someone wants to be ethical, he or she may not have clearly articulated what that means, or know how to go about making a decision consistent with his or her values. Information technology may be able to help. A decision support system could offer individuals and groups some guidance, assisting them in making a decision that reflects their underlying values. The first step towards a design science (...) of ethical decision support is to develop a theoretical base on which first-generation systems can be built. This paper brings together work in cognitive, social and moral psychology, information systems, and philosophy relevant to ethical decision making. Attributes of a system that would support ethical decision making are described. (shrink)
A commentary on a current paper by Aaron Sloman (“An alternative to working on machine consciousness"). Sloman argues that in order to make progress in AI, consciousness (and related unclear folk mental concepts), "should be replaced by more precise and varied architecture-based concepts better suited to specify what needs to be explained by scientific theories". This original vision of philosophical inquiry as mapping out 'design-spaces' for a contested concept seeks to achieve a holistic, synthetic understanding of what possibilities such (...) spaces embody. It therefore does not reduce to either "relations of ideas" or "matters of fact" in Hume's famous dichotomy. It is also interestingly opposite to a current vogue for 'experimental philosophy'. (shrink)
I teach Philosophy of Science at a four-year state university located in the southeastern United States with a strong college of education. This means that the Philosophy of Science class I teach attracts large numbers of students who will later become science teachers in Georgia junior high and high schools—the same schools that recently began including evolution "warning" stickers in science textbooks. I am also a faculty member in a department combining Religious Studies and Philosophy. This means (...)Philosophy of Science is often expected to provide dialogue, debate, and bridge-building on the issues of creationism and evolution. I am expected to provide a welcoming atmosphere to all the religious perspectives that the students bring to class, but at the same time I feel responsible for giving them a serious respect for evolution. This tension between religious tolerance and secular science education has had important consequences in American schools, most notably with the issue of Intelligent Design Theory (ID) in the classroom. (shrink)
The Aesthetics of Design offers the first full treatment of design in the field of philosophical aesthetics, challenging the discipline to broaden its scope to include the quotidian objects and experiences of our everyday lives and concerns ...
Unlike natural agents, artificial agents are, to varying extent, designed according to sets of principles or assumptions. We argue that the designers philosophical position on truth, belief and knowledge has far reaching implications for the design and performance of the resulting agents. Of the many sources of design information and background we believe philosophical theories are under-rated as valuable influences on the design process. To explore this idea we have implemented some computer-based agents with their control algorithms (...) inspired by two strongly contrasting philosophical positions. A series of experiments on these agents shows that, despite having common tasks and goals, the behaviour of the agents is markedly different and this can be attributed to their individual approaches to belief and knowledge. We discuss these findings and their support for the view that epistemological theories have a particular relevance for artificial agent design. (shrink)
Introduction -- The fundamentals and their role in design -- Underneath it all -- Tiling the plane without gap or overlap -- Symmetry, patterns and fractals -- The stepping stone of Fibonacci and the harmony of a line divided -- Polyhedra, spheres and domes -- Structures and form in three dimensions -- Variations on a theme: modularity, closest packing and partitioning -- Structural analysis in the decorative arts, design and architecture -- A designer's framework.
Unlike natural agents, artificial agents are, to varying extent, designed according to sets of principles or assumptions. We argue that the designer’s philosophical position on truth, belief and knowledge has far reaching implications for the design and performance of the resulting agents. Of the many sources of design information and background we believe philosophical theories are under-rated as valuable influences on the design process. To explore this idea we have implemented some computer-based agents with their control algorithms (...) inspired by two strongly contrasting philosophical positions. A series of experiments on these agents shows that, despite having common tasks and goals, the behaviour of the agents is markedly different and this can be attributed to their individual approaches to belief and knowledge. We discuss these findings and their support for the view that epistemological theories have a particular relevance for artificial agent design. (shrink)
Could a person ever transcend what it is like to be in the world as a human being? Could we ever know what it is like to be other creatures? Questions about the overcoming of a human perspective are not uncommon in the history of philosophy. In the last century, those very interrogatives were notably raised by American philosopher Thomas Nagel in the context of philosophy of mind. In his 1974 essay What is it Like to Be a (...) Bat?, Nagel offered reflections on human subjectivity and its constraints. Nagel’s insights were elaborated before the social diffusion of computers and could not anticipate the cultural impact of technological artefacts capable of materializing interactive simulated worlds as well as disclosing virtual alternatives to the “self.” In this sense, this article proposes an understanding of computers as epistemological and ontological instruments. The embracing of a phenomenological standpoint entails that philosophical issues are engaged and understood from a fundamentally practical perspective. In terms of philosophical praxis, or “applied philosophy,” I explored the relationship between human phenomenologies and digital mediation through the design and the development of experimental video games. For instance, I have conceptualized the first-person action-adventure video game Haerfest (Technically Finished 2009) as a digital re-formulation of the questions posed in Nagel’s famous essay. Experiencing a bat’s perceptual equipment in Haerfest practically corroborates Nagel’s conclusions: there is no way for humans to map, reproduce, or even experience the consciousness of an actual bat. Although unverifiable in its correspondence to that of bats, Haerfest still grants access to experiences and perceptions that, albeit still inescapably within the boundaries of human kinds of phenomenologies, were inaccessible to humans prior to the advent of computers. Phenomenological alterations and virtual experiences disclosed by interactive digital media cannot take place without a shift in human kinds of ontologies, a shift which this study recognizes as the fundamental ground for the development of a new humanism (I deem it necessary to specify that I am not utilizing the term “humanism” in its common connotation, that is to say the one that emerged from the encounter between the Roman civilization and the late Hellenistic culture. According to this conventional acceptation, humanism indicates the realization of the human essence through “scholarship and training in good conduct” (Heidegger 1998, p. 244). However, Heidegger observed that this understanding of humanism does not truly cater to the original essence of human beings, but rather “is determined with regard to an already established interpretation of nature, history, world, and […] beings as a whole.” (Heidegger 1998, p. 245) The German thinker found this way of embracing humanism reductive: a by-product of Western metaphysics. As Heidegger himself specified in his 1949 essay Letter on Humanism, his opposition to the traditional acceptation of the term humanism does not advocate for the “inhuman” or a return to the “barbaric” but stems instead from the belief that the humanism can only be properly understood and restored in culture as more original way of meditating and caring for humanity and understanding its relationship with Being.). Additionally, this study explicitly proposes and exemplifies the use of interactive digital technology as a medium for testing, developing and disseminating philosophical notions, problems and hypotheses in ways which are alternative to the traditional textual one. Presented as virtual experiences, philosophical concepts can be accessed without the filter of subjective imagination. In a persistent, interactive, simulated environment, I claim that the crafting and the mediation of thought takes a novel, projective (In Martin Heidegger’s 1927 Being and Time, the term “projectivity” indicates the way a Being opens to the world in terms of its possibilities of being (Heidegger 1962, pp. 184–185, BT 145). Inspired by Heidegger’s and Vilem Flusser’s work in the field of philosophy of technology as well as Helmuth Plessner’s anthropological position presented in his 1928 book Die Stufen des Organischen und der Mensch. Einleitung in die philosophische Anthropologie, this study understands the concept of projectivity as the innate openness of human beings to construct themselves and their world by means of technical artefacts. In this sense, this study proposes a fundamental understanding of technology as the materialization of mankind’s tendency to overcome its physical, perceptual and communicative limitations.) dimension which I propose to call “augmented ontology.”. (shrink)
Science and philosophy have a very long history, dating back at least to the 16th and 17th centuries, when the first scientist-philosophers, such as Bacon, Galilei, and Newton, were beginning the process of turning natural philosophy into science. Contemporary relationships between the two fields are still to some extent marked by the distrust that maintains the divide between the so-called “two cultures.” An increasing number of philosophers, however, are making conceptual contributions to sciences ranging from quantum mechanics to (...) evolutionary biology, and a few scientists are conducting research relevant to classically philosophical fields of inquiry, such as consciousness and moral decision-making. This article will introduce readers to the borderlands between science and philosophy, beginning with a brief description of what philosophy of science is about, and including a discussion of how the two disciplines can fruitfully interact not only at the level of scholarship, but also when it comes to controversies surrounding public understanding of science. (shrink)
This paper addresses the intellectual motivation of some of those involved in the intelligent design movement. It identifies their concerns with the critique of the claim that Darwinism offers an adequate explanation of prima facie teleological features in biology, a critique of naturalism, and the concern on the part of some of these authors including Dembski, with the revival of 'Old Princeton' apologetics. It is argued that their work is interesting and is in principle intellectually legitimate. It is also (...) suggested, however, that it needs to be appraised qua 'research programme' (after the fashion of the early work of Lakatos), and that, seen in that light, what needs to be accomplished might seem daunting. (shrink)
The so-called evolution wars (Futuyma 1995; Pigliucci 2002) between the scientific understanding of the history of life on earth and various religiously inspired forms of cre- ationism are more than ever at the forefront of the broader ‘‘science wars,’’ themselves a part of the even more encom- passing ‘‘cultural wars.’’ With all these conflicts going on, and at a time when a potentially historical case on the teach- ing of Intelligent Design (ID) in public schools is being de- bated (...) in Pennsylvania, it may be useful to consider a number of books that have come out recently to help scientists and the public at large to understand what all the fuss is about. (shrink)
Philosophy lacks criteria to evaluate its philosophical theories. To fill this gap, this essay introduces nine criteria to compare worldviews, classified in three broad categories: objective criteria (objective consistency, scientificity, scope), subjective criteria (subjective consistency, personal utility, emotionality), and intersubjective criteria (intersubjective consistency, collective utility, narrativity). The essay first defines what a worldview is and exposes the heuristic used in the quest for criteria. After describing each criterion individually, it shows what happens when each of them is violated. From (...) the criteria, it derives assessment tests to compare and improve different worldviews. These include the is-ought, ought-act, and is-act first-order tests; the critical and dialectical second-order tests; the mixed-questions and first-second-order third-order tests; and the we-I, we-it, and it-I tests. The essay then applies these criteria and tests to a concrete example, comparing the Flying Spaghetti Monster deity with Intelligent Design. For another application, it draws more general fruitful suggestions for the dialogue between science and religion. (shrink)
A school that adopts a curriculum, that aims for a holistic understanding of technology, does so because it produces a better educated person than a curriculum which does not. How do we know when we are teaching technology holistically and why must we do so? Increasingly, more is asked of technology educators to be holistic in the understanding conveyed to learners of technology itself in order to make better informed technical and design decisions in a wider range of applied (...) settings. The ability of the learner to naturally consider social and environmental factors, for example, when seeking solutions is seen by some State education systems in Australia as fundamental to a genuine education in technology (New South Wales Board of Studies, 2000 & 2002). In philosophy, the holist position asserts that to understand the particular one must understand its relation to the whole and that only through reflection of one's sensation based applications can genuine knowledge be critically affirmed (Matthews, 1980, p.87 & p.93). The combined apparently independent paths of the State and the Holist positions set a compelling scene not only for the socio-economic necessity for holistic technology education in the curriculum but also for Technology's status as a key curriculum agent in the knowledge formation process of educated individuals. -/- This paper asserts that the general elements of Applied Setting (including Time), Human (as Agent), Tool and Environment are well placed to be the necessary basics to any holistic human technological activity. How and why these elements work together, their schema, will be referred to in this paper as the 'Basic Principles'. The paper presents the thesis that Technology cannot be reduced to less than these general elements and as such, Technology is their product. We therefore may need to understand and teach these elements and their relations to each other explicitly, in ways that reveal the utility of such understanding when making technical choices and design decisions for all the genres of technology and at all their scales of application and discovery. The case is made for technology to not merely be a 'know how' learning experience, but necessarily also a holistic 'know why' learning experience essential for developing and transferring technological knowledge. (shrink)
There are many ways of understanding the nature of philosophical questions. One may consider their morphology, semantics, relevance, or scope. This article introduces a different approach, based on the kind of informational resources required to answer them. The result is a definition of philosophical questions as questions whose answers are in principle open to informed, rational, and honest disagreement, ultimate but not absolute, closed under further questioning, possibly constrained by empirical and logico-mathematical resources, but requiring noetic resources to be answered. (...) The article concludes with a discussion of some of the consequences of this definition for a conception of philosophy as the study (or “science”) of open questions, which uses conceptual design to analyse and answer them. (shrink)
This article explores tacit knowledge of lived experience and how this form of knowledge relates to design research. It investigates how interior designers interpret user lived experiences when creating designed environments. The article argues that user experience is the basis of a form of knowledge that is useful for designers. The theoretical framework proposed in the article examines the nature of user experience and how it can be utilized in the design process. The study of lived experiences is (...) contextualized within aesthetic, subjective, and functional aspects of the interior design process, which requires users to express their meanings and needs. A case study is described to illustrate the various stages of this process. (shrink)
History and philosophy complement and overlap each other in subject matter, but the two disciplines exhibit conflict over methodology. Since Hempel's challenge to historians that they should adopt the covering law model of explanation, the methodological conflict has revolved around the respective roles of the general and the particular in each discipline. In recent years, the revival of narrativism in history, coupled with the trend in philosophy of science to rely upon case studies, joins the methodological conflict anew. (...) So long as contemporary philosophy of science relies upon history's methodology to construct its case studies, it subjects itself to a paradoxical situation: the better the history, the worse the philosophy. An example of the methodological conflict is presented in the case of Antoine Lavoisier. This example also serves our ultimateconclusion, which is that distinctively philosophical methods of case-study design promise enhanced prescriptive powers for philosophy of science. (shrink)
Should Probabilistic Design Replace Safety Factors? Content Type Journal Article Pages 151-168 DOI 10.1007/s13347-010-0003-6 Authors Neelke Doorn, Department of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, PO Box 5015, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands Sven Ove Hansson, Department of Philosophy and the History of Technology, Royal Institute of Technology, Teknikringen 78 B, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden Journal Philosophy & Technology Online ISSN 2210-5441 Print ISSN 2210-5433 Journal Volume Volume 24 Journal Issue Volume 24, Number 2.
Agricultural technologies are non-neutral and ethical challenges are posed by these technologies themselves. The technologies we use or endorse are embedded with values and norms and reflect the shape of our moral character. They can literally make us better or worse consumers and/or people. Looking back, when the world’s developed nations welcomed and steadily embraced industrialization as the dominant paradigm for agriculture a half century or so ago, they inadvertently championed a philosophy of technology that promotes an insular human-centricism, (...) despite its laudable intent to ensure food security and advance human flourishing. The dominant philosophy of technology has also seeded particular ethical consequences that plague the well-being of human beings, the planet, and farmed animals. After revisiting some fundamental questions regarding the complex ways in which technology as agent shapes our lives and choices and relegates food and farmed constituents into technological artifacts or commodities, I argue that we should accord an environmental virtue ethic of care—understood as caretaking—a central place in developing a more conscientious philosophy of technology that aims at sustainability, fairness, and humaneness in animal agriculture. While technology shapes society, it also is socially shaped and an environmental virtue ethic of care (EVEC) as an alternative designphilosophy has the tools to help us take a much overdue inventory of ourselves and our relationships with the nonhuman world. It can help us to expose the ways in which technology hinders critical reflection of its capacity to alter communities and values, to come to terms with why we may be, in general, disengaged from critical ethical analysis of contemporary agriculture and to consider the moral shape and trajectory and the sustainability of our food production systems going into the future. I end by outlining particular virtues associated with the ethic of care discussed here and consider some likely implications for consumers and industry technocrats as they relate to farming animals. (shrink)
This paper explores how the designed world could be better supportive of better communal ways of relating. In pursuit of this end, I put the philosophy of technology dealing with the role that technologies play in shaping, directing, mediating, and legislating human action in better communication with a diverse literature concerning community. I argue that community ought to viewed as composed of three interrelated dimensions: experience, structure, and practice. Specifically, it is a psychological sense evoked via a particular arrangement (...) of ties and constellation of social practices guided, at its best, by phronetic reasoning. It is a mode of social being that I set in opposition to networked individualism. I examine the existent and potential communitarian ergonomics of the design of contemporary urban spaces and network devices. However, I conclude that artifacts remain only one part of the picture. A communally ergonomic mode of being requires not only compatible artifacts and built spaces but also an institutional context supportive of community as an economic and political entity. (shrink)
The two principal models of design in methodological circles in architecture—analysis/synthesis and conjecture/analysis—have their roots in philosophy of science, in different conceptions of scientific method. This paper explores the philosophical origins of these models and the reasons for rejecting analysis/synthesis in favour of conjecture/analysis, the latter being derived from Karl Popper’s view of scientific method. I discuss a fundamental problem with Popper’s view, however, and indicate a framework for conjecture/analysis to avoid this problem.
The German discussion about experience-guided work has led to the question of how work experience can be regarded within the process of designing technical artifacts. This paper offers a solution for the area of skilled maintenance work. Some considerations about the nature of experience and about the problems skilled workers have in aquiring work competences within computer aided production environments are introduced in order to illustrate the designphilosophy: A decision-support-system is described which stimulates workplace learning by enabling (...) previous and present users of the system, including maintenance staff and shop floor workers, to exchange and build on experience. (shrink)