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PHD-DESIGN  August 2009

PHD-DESIGN August 2009

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Subject:

Re: Clarifying an epistemological and ontological confusion

From:

Terence Love <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Terence Love <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 15 Aug 2009 19:48:13 +0800

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Hi Johann,
How are you going?
The Chinese room experiment can be seen in the opposite role as  is one of
the pointers to why 'design thinking' is becoming less useful and out of
date.
It distinguishes between humans and machines on the basis of 'mind'. I.e.
whether the machine has a mind. In this sense if thinking is exclusive to
mind and mind cannot occur in computers then designing cannot be done with
computers. As you suggest, the epistemological foundations of 'design
thinking' contain a similar assumption.
I suggest that much of the current understanding about humans gives us
different understanding of ourselves. That what is now challenged is whether
humans have a 'mind'.  Clearly, 'mind' does not exist as a  biological
organ. 'Mind', similar to 'consciousness' appears to be an illusion or
rather an incidental imaginary artifact of the way humans function. This is
somewhat challenging personally as we have all been strongly indoctrinated
to believe that we do have a mind. Alternatively, the idea of 'mind' can be
viewed  as a convenient and illusory human-made conceptual construct that
acts as an ideological placeholder rather than being in any sense real. In
either case, if humans don't actually have a real 'mind', it is difficult to
use it as a distinguishing factor between humans and machines.
Perhaps less challenging is the question of whether design activity is done
using the 'mind'. My feeling is many who would still hold to the idea of a
'mind' would see design activity as being undertaken at least partly outside
mind, e.g. through doing, making, communicating, sketching, through
emotions... 
Whatever, in the above and from other sources, there are plenty of
substantial challenges to the idea of 'design thinking' as being a sound
epistemological  foundation for understanding design activity. It was in
this  sense, I suggested the idea of 'design thinking' is becoming less
useful and towards the end of its life in theory terms.

Best wishes,
Terry
____________________

Dr. Terence Love, FDRS, AMIMechE, PMACM

Director Design-focused Research Group, Design Out Crime Research Group
Researcher, Digital Ecosystems and Business Intelligence Institute
Associate,  Planning and Transport Research Centre
Curtin University, PO Box U1987, Perth, Western Australia 6845
Mob: 0434 975 848, Fax +61(0)8 9305 7629, [log in to unmask]
Visiting Professor, Member of Scientific Council
UNIDCOM/ IADE, Lisbon, Portugal
Honorary Fellow, Institute of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development
Management School, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
____________________


Johann wrote:
'Design Thinking' has not outlived its usefulness, and neither has
design thinking been outsourced to machines, since the statement 
"the idea of limiting the idea of design activity to 'design is a
thought process' is looking a bit simplistic" is simply not true.
The problem of the Chinese Room has not been solved yet, and before that
time, design as a human thought process will remain the only criterion
we can safely follow. 

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