i don't think you need to apologize for asking a question that goes out of
hand -- in your opinion. it is the nature of good questions that their
answers are unexpected and lead to new questions.
i would say you are very right in talking about what designers need to know
to be able to do what they do. i prefer the verb knowing to knowledge as
the latter has the connotation of abstract certainty whereas the former has
to do with a knowing that is embodied in practice -- which is not to say
that we couldn't talk of it. but you are correct that this knowing is
different from the knowledge that science provides.
your observation that knowing a process that changes reality is also
changing in the process of altering that reality (i.e. designing) is very
profound too and should not be dismissed too lightly.
i have to go somewhere and need to apologize for ending abruptly here but i
hope that the thread will go through other conversations.
At 07:44 AM 9/29/00 -0400, Rosan Chow wrote:
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1; x-mac-type="54455854";
>X-MIME-Autoconverted: from 8bit to quoted-printable by
>mailout1.mailbase.ac.uk id NAA05795
>Hi Tim, Håkan, Bryn, Chris, Terrence, and Dick
>Thank you very much for your comments and questions; without them my
>be slow. Having said that, I feel that there are some misunderstandings
>I wrote due to my inadequacy in articulating my thoughts, I am sure.
>I read about what I wrote a few times to see how it could have caused these
>misunderstandings. I realize that I need to make it clear that when I wrote
>"another way of obtaining knowledge", I didn't mean it exclusively but rather
>I don't think the 'what if ' question is unique to design and I don't
>think I have
>said that either. When I said 'what if' is the favorite question for
>didn't mean that is the only question that can only be asked by designers.
>I apologize for the sloppy reference that I made to Bruce Archer's idea of
>with the big D as a generic and domain independent way of knowing. (see Design
>Studies 1979 Vol 1 (1): 17-20) By citing him, I thought I covered the ground
>without needing to go further to explain that this way of knowing exists in
>scientific inquiry, management, arts, etc, etc. My fault. But as I said, I
>sure the 'no name' knowledge is this either.
>When I wrote that "I have this strange notion that this 'no name'
>knowledge is not
>to be known but to be designed. I know that it sounds crazy for
>'know'ledge is to
>be known, but ... has it to be?", I was not advocating that design can't be
>understood by other ways of knowing, I was just thinking if there is an
>alternative way to seeing knowledge.
>The what, how and why of design can be known and take the form of
>design, history of design, sociology of design, pyschology of design, design
>studies, design science, design technology, there is no doubt that they
>add to our understanding of design. But what about Design of Design?
>A little context may help to further explain myself (or may not): I have an
>interest in social problems and I always want to find out what I as a
>make a contribution to reduce some of these problems. I have a particular
>that I am dealing with which is about condom use promotion among adolescents.
>Since I was involved in this problem, I have been constantly asking myself
>can make sure my inquiry into the problem is distinct from how social
>are investigating it and how design research can complement social scientific
>research to reduce a social problem. And how in the end, I can make an
>contribution to knowledge.
>So I have been searching for deficiencies in the social research done in this
>area, from philosophical underpinnings, research methods, to actual
>and evaluation. I have been critical, as needed for research; but I think this
>style got carried over and muddled the tone of my last posting and made it
>across as being full of design or myself.
>In the process of analyzing my research problem, I had this diagram
>parallel channels of inquiry to address the problem of condom use, one is the
>scientific one and the other is the design way. And of course, I have not
>conceptualized fully what this design way is or can be. The pairs are
>Scientific research-Design research, and Scientific knowledge - Design
>I was trying to identify how design knowledge can be distinctive from
>knowledge and I realized by making that distinction, I was already
>to what this knowledge may be.
>I was staring at the diagram when a bunch of questions came to my mind:
>1 What exactly is design knowledge?
>2 If the nature of design is change, then how can design knowledge be grasped?
>3 Does design knowledge exist in design-in-action?
>4 Does design knowledge have a form? Can it?
>5 Can we really know design if design is in the space of 'can be'?
>6 How can we define the nature of design knowledge if 'it' doesn't exist yet?
>7 By defining what design knowledge is, do we limit what it can be?
>8 What kind of design knowledge will we have if we follow the traditional
>I have exhausted myself and I am not sure if I am making better sense,
>maybe it is
>nonsense after all. But they are real and sincere thoughts, your time and
>are greatly appreciated.