At 09:39 AM 10/15/2000 +0100, Chris RUST(SCS) wrote:
>I would be interested to hear the views of Lubomir, and others, on whether
>requirements to fly that distance under human power always existed, and were
>therefore a proper subject for scientific research (in Lubomir's terms), or
>whether it required the act of synthesis by the designers, testers and an
>athletic, heroic aeronaut first. With hindsight we can say that the
>requirements were always true but they were certainly not accessible to
>other than the designers.
Requirements belong to the categories of goals and objectives, and are not
subjected to the truth test. They are formulated by humans. How, it is
another question. In architectural programming, I assert that requirements
should be developed on the bases of applied (programming) research, but
many people formulate them on the basis of everyday experience or mere
wishes. All ways are legitimate, but I believe research provides better
chances for developing design requirements that will lead to a product that
will satisfy better current human needs.
> Were the designers engaged in a scientific venture and did their creation
>represent a contribution to knowledge?
>Anybody out there want to take a potshot with their crossbow?
I would like first to mention that the Albatross case imlicitly envisages
mechanical design, which is fine, but in some way the situation is more
clear and evident in comparissonn with industrial/product/artistic design.
Second, the answer of this question depends on the definition of knowledge.
Do we consider as "knowldge" the products of religious and mythological
thinkig? Yet, according to phylosophy of knowldge, these systems produce
their own knowlege. Religion produces knowledge about God. Myth-makers
produce knowldge about the world and the relationships in it.
I assume we are talking here about science and research and this provides
the context for interpretation of the term knowlege.
The designers in this case were engaged in a design venture. Their creation
lead to a situation that if studied/researched will present us with an
arena for obtaining new knowldge. We can appreoach this arena with our
everyday logic and methods, or with scientific (I don't mean positivist!)
methodology. The second option will provide more trustworthy knowledge. I
would say that we will have scientific (not just positivist) knowledge if
we work with scientific methodology.
The role of the designers in this case is the same as the role of designers
of experimental aparatuses. The designers of experimental aparatuses do not
produce any knowledge by the act of design. They design devices (mechanical
instruments) that are used in reseach.
The real situations are often contaminated by many agents. In many
situations designers act as investigators and produce some kind of
knowledge (which could be pre-scientific or scientific), but this process
is a pre-scientific, non-professional. If the investigation is carried out
according to the norms and standards of a particular scientific paradigm,
than the knowledge produced will be much more trustworthy and the process
can be conceptualized as research. It is a matter of threshhold. Everybody
knows that Research with capital R is a sophisticated, elaborated and
professionalized version of everyday investigative actions.
>If so, could that contribution have been made without the act of designing?
Yes! If we buy the aparatuses the designers of the aparatuses is absolutely
invisible. Nobody will credit him/her for the research outcomes. Have heard
about a designer of physics aparatuses who had become a Nobel laureate? (I
exclude the cases when the physicists themselves had designed their
Let's look again at experimental research and differentiate between the act
of designing aparatuses and the act of conducting the research itself. Just
stir off contaminating circumsances, e.g. researchers who design and
manufacture their own aparatuses and designers of mechanical devices who
engage in observations how the devices perform. In the ideal case, there
will be a team that will design the flying machine, and there will be
another team that will study the performance and the problems. The study of
this performance requires special procedures that designers may not be
trained to do or may not wish to do. This is reseach as opposed to design.
PS It is difficult to talk about design and research without the concept of
technical disciplines. This concept will provide an analytical ground that
will allow us to see the relationships in a different way. The
conceptualizations and the conclusions will be both easier and somewhat
different. Know I am trying to say something with a language that is not
productive for that purpose.