>From Geoff Matthews
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Cindy, Rosan et al
I haven’t come across explicit discussion of
‘design’ in works by ‘philosophers’ very
often. The most relevant for me was:
Harrison, A. (1978) Making and Thinking: A study
of intelligent activities, Harvester
Pragmatism, Phenomenology, Existentialism, Radical Humanism, to name but four
philosohpical traditions, are full of ideas that
‘apply directly to design process’, but
the job of interpretation in these circumstances
is significantly ours as design
researchers, and we have to be careful not to do
violence to the original theories in
the process. I would love to hear of other
philosophers who have engaged explicitly
with ‘design’ and ‘designing’ as a philosophical problem.
Dr Geoff Matthews
Course Leader MA Interdisciplinary Design
Lincoln School of Architecture
University of Lincoln, UK
>From Prof. Bernhard E. Buerdek
The DGTF (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Designtheorie und -forschung / German
Society for Designtheory and Research) at
www.dgtf.de has a library which might be
interesting also (but the most publications are in German).
>From the DGTF web site
Vorschlag für einen Design-Kanon: Wissenschaftstheorie (Philosophy of Science)
Bochenski, Joseph Maria: Die zeitgenössischen Denkmethoden. Bern, München
1954 (1980 8.Aufl.)
Dilthey, Wilhelm: Einleitung in die
Geisteswissenschaften (1883). Leipzig, Berlin
1922, Stuttgart 1973, 7.Aufl.
Feyerabend, Paul: Wider den Methodenzwang. Skizze einer anarchistischen
Erkenntnistheorie. Frankfurt a. M. 1976
Figal, Günter: Der Sinn des Verstehens. Beiträge
zur hermeneutischen Philosophie.
Frank, Manfred: Was ist Neostrukturalismus? Frankfurt a. M. 1984, 2.Aufl.
Gadamer, Hans-Georg: Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen
Hermeneutik. Tübingen 1960, 1975 4.Aufl.
Habermas, Jürgen: Erkenntnis und Interesse. Frankfurt a. M. 1968
Husserl, Edmund: Ideen zur reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen
Philosophie.- in: Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung
Kuhn, Thomas S.: Die Struktur wissenschaftlicher
Revolutionen. Frankfurt a. M. 1967
Kuhn, Thomas S.: Die Entstehung des Neuen. Studien zur Struktur der
Wissenschaftsgeschichte, hrsg. von Lorenz Krüger. Frankfurt a. M. 1978
Luhmann, Niklas: Soziale Systeme. Grundriß einer
allgemeinen Theorie. Frankfurt a.
Schmidt, Siegfried J. (Hrsg.): Der Diskurs des
radikalen Konstruktivismus. Frankfurt
a. M. 1987
Schmidt, Siegfried J. (Hrsg.): Kognition und
Gesellschaft. Der Diskurs des Radikalen
Konstruktivismus 2. Frankfurt a. M. 1992
Seiffert, Helmut: Einführung in die Wissenschaftstheorie. Erster Band, München
1983, 10.Aufl., Zweiter Band, München 1983, 8.Aufl., Dritter Band, München 1985
Snow, Charles Percy: The Two Cultures: and A Second Look. London 1959, dt.: Die
zwei Kulturen. Stuttgart 1967
Vorschlag für einen Design-Kanon: Designtheorie (Design Theory)
Boom, Holger van den: Betrifft: Design. Unterwegs
zur Designwissenschaft in fünf
Gedankengängen. Alfter 1994
Brandes, Uta: Design ist keine Kunst. Regensburg 1998
Bürdek, Bernhard E.: Vom Mythos des Funktionalismus, hrsg. von FSB - Franz
Schneider Brakel. Köln 1997
Burckhard, Lucius: Design ist Unsichtbar. Wien 1980
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly/Rochberg-Halton, Eugene:
Der Sinn der Dinge. Das Selbst
und die Symbole des Wohnbereichs. München / Weinheim 1989 (orig.: The
Meaning of Things. Domestic symbols and the self. Cambridge, Ma. 1981)
Eckstein, Hans: Formgebung des Nützlichen. Düsseldorf 1985
Fischer, Wend: Die verborgene Vernunft. Funktionale Gestaltung im 19.
Jahrhundert. München 1971 (hrsg. von der Neuen Sammlung)
Flusser, Vilém: Die Schrift. Göttingen 1987
Gorsen, Peter: Zur Dialektik des Funktionalismus heute. in:
Habermas, Jürgen (Hrsg.) Stichworte zur `Geistigen Situation der Zeit’, 2.Band,
Frankfurt a. M. 1979
Gros, Jochen: Dialektik der Gestaltung. Ulm 1971 (IUP Schriftenreihe)
Haug, Wolfgang Fritz: Kritik der Warenästhetik. Frankfurt a. M. 1971
Hirdina, Heinz: Gestalten für die Serie. Design in der DDR 1949-1985. Dresden
Karmasin, Helene: Produkte als Botschaften. Wien 1993
Jonas, Wolfgang: Design - System - Theorie. Überlegungen zu einem
systemtheoretischen Modell von Designtheorie. Essen 1994
Leitherer, Eugen: Industrie-Design. Entwicklung -
Produktion - Ökonomie. Stuttgart
Loos, Adolf: Ornament und Verbrechen (1908). in:
Loos, A. Sämtliche Schriften Bd.1,
hrsg. von Franz Glück. Wien, München 1962
Maser, Siegfried: Einige Bemerkungen zum Problem einer Theorie des Designs.
Baunschweig 1972 (Manuskript)
Monö, Rune: Design for Product Understanding. The Aesthetics of Design from a
Semiotic Approach. Stockholm 1997
Onck, Andries van: Design il senso delle forme die prodotti. Milano 1994
Selle, Gert: Ideologie und Utopie des Design. Zur
gesellschaftlichen Theorie der
industriellen Formgebung. Köln 1973
Steffen, Dagmar (mit Beiträgen von Bernhard E.
Bürdek, Volker Fischer und Jochen
Gros): Design als Produktsprache. Der Offenbacher
Ansatz in Theorie und Praxis<.
Frankfurt a. M. 2000
Vihma, Susann (Ed.): Semantic Visions in Design. Proceedings from the Symposium
on Design Research and Semiotics. Helsinki 1990
Vihma, Susann: Products as representations. A semiotic and aesthetic study of
design products. Helsinki 1995
>From Tiiu Poldma
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Agreed. In this vein, I found in interior design,
two possible sources of interest
include Jill Franz phenomenological study of
interior design processes and Robert
Shusterman’s book on pragmatism and the philosophical life. They are:
Franz, J. (2000) An Interpretive Contextual
Framework for research in and through
design: The development of a philosophically methodological and substantial
framework and substantially consistent framework.
In Durling, D., and Friedman, K. (
Eds). Foundations for the Future: Doctoral
Education in Design: Proceedings of the
Conference held 8-12 July in La Clusaz, France,
UK. : Staffordshire University Press.
Shusterman, R.(1997). Practicing Philosophy; Pragmatism and the Philosophical
Life. New York: Routledge.
Furthermore, my thesis does exactly as you suggest, Geoff, establishing a
philosophical discussion for design using phenomenology and pragmatism as
philosophical constructs to situate both the experience of designing and the
experience of the relationship between the client
and the designer, for interior
design, specifically, in the more spatial and
human sense. In his book, Shusterman
argues for “ ...extending the conception and practice of philosophy beyond the
borders of its professional academic establishment” ( p.xi). His ideas stem in
essence from the philosophies of Dewey and James, and he argues focusing on
three philosophers: Dewey, Wittgenstein and Foucault . I found that some of the
arguments and discussions, particularly with
regards to aesthetics and pragmatics,
resonate with my own ways of understanding design processes and trying to
establish fundamental values for how interior
design is constructed as knowledge.
But I had to do the work myself to establish the links.
University of Montreal
>From Eduardo Corte-Real
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Dear Rosan and Cindy:
Here is a quotation from C.S. Peirce’s “Fixation of Belief”:
“Lavoisier’s method was not to read and pray, but to dream that some long and
complicated chemical process would have a certain
effect, to put it into practice with
dull patience, after its inevitable failure, to
dream that with some modification it would
have another result, and to end by publishing the
last dream as a fact: his way was
to carry his mind into his laboratory, and
literally to make of his alembics and
cucurbits instruments of thought, giving a new
conception of reasoning as something
which was to be done with one’s eyes open, in
manipulating real things instead of
words and fancies.”
My favourite part is the cucurbits bit wich make me wonder about cucubists and
cucumberbits. But the most interesting part to
the cold beef that we are trying to eat
is: “manipulating real things instead of words
and fancies”. It is sadly a fact that
Peirce originated so much riddles about words and fancies. He who, above all
people (besides Arnold Schwarzenegger), was so interested in real things.
I will make same corrections on Peirce quotation:
“X’s method was not to read and pray, but to
dream that some long and complicated
design process would have a certain effect, to
put it into practice with dull patience,
after its inevitable failure, to dream that with
some modification it would have another
result, and to end by producing the last dream as
a fact: his way was to carry his
mind into his studio, and literally to make of
his pencils and cucumberbits (sorry,
didn’t resist) instruments of thought, giving a new conception of reasoning as
something which was to be done with one’s eyes
open, in manipulating real things
plus words and fancies.”
Is it or is it not a good definition for design methods?
>From John Feland
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I would recommend contacting David Cannon at the Stanford Center for Design
Research. David has been working on completing his dissertation on the
interactions between design and philosophy. He
would be able to direct you towards
some interesting vectors.
His email is [log in to unmask]
>From Kari-Hans Kommonen
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At 14:11 -0400 21.4.2004, Cindy Jackson wrote:
I seek books and articles in which philosophers
discuss issues that can be applied
to design process, along with articles and books
that discuss philosophy and design.
I also welcome comments and notes that shed light on these topics.
There is a lot of material, but since I am also
short of time right now, I just wanted to
pick two on the top of my mind that I’d like to
see on the list, just in case you do not
get them from elsewhere:
Terry Winograd and Fernando Flores, Understanding Computers and Cognition: A
New Foundation for Design Addison-Wesley, 1987
Discusses the nature of software and
philosophical foundations for understanding
the related design issues. Seminal book in the field.
Terry Winograd’s publications:
Coyne, R.D. (1995). Designing Information Technology in the Postmodern Age:
>From Method to Metaphor, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 399 pages.
I think this is a good resource. It focuses on
the design of information technology, but
is probably useful for other areas of design as well.
This is what the author himself says about it
“This book is written for the researcher,
designer, practitioner, commentator and
educator working in the area of information
technology - those concerned with the
technical, social and philosophical aspects of computers and electronic
communications. The book demonstrates the strong relationship between
postmodern thinking and all aspects of information technology.
In the book I explain the influence of the
tradition of philosophical pragmatism on the
designers of information technology, and how this
is set in opposition to the culture
of rationalism. I show the impact of critical
theory on how we understand information
technology and how this is being supplanted in some quarters by hermeneutical
understandings. I also demonstrate the challenge
of deconstruction to the rhetoric
about information technology, particularly what
it says about Marshall McLuhan’s
concepts of the global village. The book shows
how the barriers between technical
studies and philosophy are dissolving in the
light of postmodern thinking. The book
is practical, focussing substantially on the praxis of technology.
In the book I call upon a vast range of postmodern writing, including Martin
Heidegger’s ideas about technology and Being, and the debates that have stemmed
from this work, including work by Gadamer, Adorno, Marcuse, Benjamin, Derrida,
Habermas, Bernstein, Rorty, Caputo, Fish,
Foucault and Lyotard, to name but a few. I
make extensive use of contemporary work in the
philosophy of technology, and also
call upon work within information technology
fields such as artificial intelligence,
design theory and methods, formal theory, communications theory, computer-aided
design, media studies, and studies by sociologists on the impact of information
technology. The book also incorporates the studies of metaphor by Black, I.A..
Richards, Ricoeur, Lackoff, Johnson and others. The study of metaphor proves
valuable in understanding, assessing and designing information technology.
The book presents a coherent argument leading the
reader through from rationalistic
understandings of information technology with their dependence upon theory and
intentionality to a praxis orientation that
focuses on hermeneutics and metaphor. The
arguments of the book are explained with examples
of information technology from
first-hand studies of computer-aided design,
multimedia, electronic communications,
artificial intelligence and virtual reality, and
from studies of practitioners who use the
>From Per Galle
Some references on the philosophy of design
Per Galle April 2004
Dahlbom, B. and Mathiassen, L. (1993) Computers in Context. The Philosophy and
Practice of Systems Design, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell.
Galle, P. (2000) Call for papers: Special issue
on the philosophy of design. Design
Studies 21, 607-610.
Galle, P. (2002) Philosophy of design: an
editorial introduction. Design Studies 23:3,
Galle, P.(Ed.) (2002) Special Issue: Philosophy
of Design. Design Studies 23:3 [NB:
Several papers in this issue]
Hilpinen, R. (1999) Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Artifacts,
Inwagen, P.,van (1990) Material Beings, Ithacha and London: Cornell University
Press. [NB: Especially Chapter 13 on artefacts!]
Inwagen, P.,van, Hirsch, E., Horgan, T. and
Rosenberg, J.F. (1993) Book symposium
on P. van Inwagen’s “Material Beings”. Philosophy and Phenomenological
Love, T. (2000) Philosophy of design: a
meta-theoretical structure for design theory.
Design Studies 21, No 3, 293-313.
Recent issue of Design Studies: paper by Ken Friedman.
Design Philosophy Papers (web journal) www.desphilosophy.com/
The Dual Nature of Technical Artefacts (research programme)
>From Susan Stewart
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Below is the reference for an article by
design-affiliated academics rather than by a
philosopher, but it falls into your second
category of discussing philosophy and
design. It is an excellent paper.
Adrian Snodgrass and Richard Coyne, “Is designing hermeneutical?” in
Architectural Theory Review: Journal of the
Department of Architecture, Planning
and Allied Arts, The University of Sydney, Vol.2, No.1, April 1997.
>From Jared Donovan
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A related avenue I would suggest exploring is the work done philosophy of
technology. The following paper by Verbeek might
serve as a useful starting point;
Verbeek, P.-P. (2002). “Devices of Engagement: On Borgmann’s Philosophy of
Information and Technology.” Techne 6(1): 69-92.
In this paper Verbeek draws on and extends the work of Heidegger and Borgman to
develop a way of looking at how technological artefacts mediate people’s
relationship with the world. Although this
doesn’t address the philosophy of design
directly, I think there is a lot that designers
(of artefacts) can learn from this work.
I hope this is some help to you.