I would disagree with the interpretation of S. Vihma and suggest that she
reads once again the text of R. Buchanan. He suggests that students (may be
not only students?) often do research by interpreting the publications of
other people in a personal way, play with the words, and call this
"inquiry." There is a difference between a hermeneutical approach and
"everything goes." R. Buchanan obviously means that reinterpreting in an
incorrect way other people's publications is not inquiry/reseach.
At 04:01 PM 10/13/2000 +0300, Susann Vihma wrote:
>On Thu, 12 Oct 2000, Richard Buchanan wrote:
>> By the way, I think there is an important difference between "semantics"
>> and "inquiry." Semantics, in the sense I am using the term here, is a
>> set of established meanings that come from someone's work--reading
>> Vygotsky, for example. We may take up those meanings and work ahead a
>> bit along the path that they suggest. This happens often enough among
>> people--and, unfortunately, in many doctoral dissertations. Most of the
>> work lies in untangling the meaning of an author's words. This, to me,
>> is not inquiry. Inquiry is not about figuring out an author's words--an
>> important skill at the undergraduate level and at the master's level,
>> but only a small tool at the doctoral level. Inquiry is about figuring
>> out the world. I think there is a fundamental difference between a
>> semantic problem and a problem for inquiry. I suspect that many
>> doctoral students--in all fields--never reach a point where they
>> understand this difference.
>Semantics and inquiry ...
>Semantics in design (design semantics, product semantics etc.) is often
>referred to when we like to talk about and reflect upon the formation of
>meaning in design.
>As many of us have experienced at least during the last twenty years, we
>find various approaches to semantic matters, various philosophical
>approaches, if you like. Unfortunately semantics is often still viewed
>narrowly as in the text above. Semantics seems to be transferred from
>linguistics in a strange mechanistic way. I'm suggesting that semantics
>can be seen as one of the dimensions in design thinking, doing design and
>analysing design products (whatever outcome of the process can be).
>Talking about fixed or established meanings is non sense.
>Semantic inquiries into design seems to be one of the most interesting and
>central concerns in design studies.