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PHD-DESIGN  March 2013

PHD-DESIGN March 2013

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Subject:

Re: Illusion of Self? How is This Relevant to Design Research?

From:

Terence Love <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 11 Mar 2013 18:16:05 +0530

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (170 lines)

Hi, Ken,

Thanks for your message.

What theory foundations would you use to:
1. Describe how creativity shapes designs
2. Describe how design judgements are undertaken
3. Describe how people interact in creating designs
4. Describe how people use designs
5. Describe  how and why particular aspects of designs and brands are
attractive
6. Describe how and why srteategy works in designs for organisational
performance improvement
Etc

Assuming self is an illusion and secondary construct  does four things for
these areas of theory:

A. It enables causal theory to be made where in many of the above areas
theory is limited to associative correlation
B. It offers clear explanations of processes relating to the above that are
only currently guessed at when a sense of self is assumed
C. It gives more detailed analyses and descriptions of outcomes.
D. In a small number of cases, it indicates that current theory is false and
leads to incorrect predictions.

These seem to be a reasonable starting point for suggesting that some design
theories might have to be rewritten. Business and organisational theories
too.

The current discussion deals with some issues relating to conditioning, if
extended they also have similar  implications for various areas of design
theory - e.g  in design thinking.  

Best wishes,
Terry
===
Dr Terence Love FDRS, AMIMechE, PMACM, MISI
Director,
Love Services Pty Ltd
PO Box 226, Quinns Rocks
Western Australia 6030
[log in to unmask]
www.loveservices.com.au
===


-----Original Message-----
From: PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related
research in Design [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ken
Friedman
Sent: 11 March 2013 07:24
To: Dr Terence Love
Subject: Illusion of Self? How is This Relevant to Design Research?

Dear Terry,

Perhaps it's the Monday morning coffee talking, but I don't understand why
this topic - the illusion of self - keeps making an appearance on a list
concerned with design research and research education. The current posts
headed "Re: Illusion of self and the transformation of design research" are
even more peculiar. They are neither about the illusion of self nor about
the transformation of design research.

You state that neuroscience shows the self to be an illusion as the central
theme or side issue in several hundred notes to the list over the past few
years. While exact positions differ on the science, many of us accept some
version of this premise.

From this premise, however, you draw a conclusion with which few agree. You
repeatedly state that this fact requires us to rewrite design theory and
reform design practice. You never say how.

In his New Scientist article, Jan Westerhoff concludes that self may be an
illusion that human beings require if we are to act in the world. Westerhoff
(2013: 37) writes, ".we may have no choice but to endorse these mistaken
beliefs. Our whole way of living relies on the notion that we are
unchanging, coherent and autonomous individuals. The self is not only a
useful illusion, it may also be a necessary one."

If this is the case, there is no need to rewrite design theory or rethink
design practice. While empirical research may some day show that
neuroscientific findings on the self require us to rewrite design theory, it
won't be any time soon. No one on this list is doing research of that kind -
not even you.

Saying that the self is an illusion tells us nothing about the relevance of
that fact to design theory or practice. Even if the statement is true, it
does not lead to the conclusion that we must rewrite design theory and
reform design practice. Without an explanation, this statement is irrelevant
to the topics of this list: design research and research training.

On this list, we're free to post what we wish. All topics are permissible:
the Higgs boson, the price of housing in Marseilles, and the papal conclave
are as permissible as repeated references to the illusion of the self. Once
someone raises a topic several hundred times, though, it is fair to ask what
bearing it has on design theory, design practice, design research, or
research training.

Whatever the self may be at a deeper level of scientific analysis, nothing
suggests that we can do without it. If human beings must perceive and act
through the illusion of a self, the question must be why this requires us to
rewrite design theory and rethink design practice.

On several occasions, you've stated that this list is your major venue of
scientific and scholarly publication. You have made a scientific statement
to the list: 1) the self is an illusion, 2) THEREFORE we must rewrite design
theory, and 3) we must practice design in a manner coherent with this new
design theory.

If this list is now your major venue of scientific publication, I'd like to
see a scientific argument for this claim. What direction should design
theory take? How should design practice change?

A reasoned argument from documented evidence will allow the rest of us to
draw responsible conclusions of our own. Without this, repeated posts simply
add up to a statement of your beliefs.

Once again, I'm asking for a reply. The "illusion of self" thread is causing
the list to move further and further from design research and research
training to topics that may relate somehow to the illusion of the self.
Thecurrent drift seems to be early childhood education and the effect of
literacy. If the "illusion of self" thread is to push us this far afield,
I'd like to know just why the "illusion of self" is important to design
theory or design practice.

Could you please explain why this is relevant?

If the sense of self is an illusion, why does this require rewriting design
theory? What direction should such a theory take? Why does this require
rethinking what designers do and how they do it? How should design practice
change?

Yours,

Ken

Ken Friedman, PhD, DSc (hc), FDRS | University Distinguished Professor |
Swinburne University of Technology | Melbourne, Australia |
[log in to unmask] | Mobile +61 404 830 462 | Home Page
http://www.swinburne.edu.au/design/people/Professor-Ken-Friedman-ID22.html
Academia Page http://swinburne.academia.edu/KenFriedman About Me Page
http://about.me/ken_friedman

Guest Professor | College of Design and Innovation | Tongji University |
Shanghai, China


References

Westerhoff, Jan. 2013.
<http://www.newscientist.com/search?rbauthors=Jan+Westerhoff> "The self: The
one and only you." New Scientist. Vol. 217, Issue 2905, pp. 34-37. 23
February 2013.



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