I've typically found Derek's post useful, but this time his long post left me somewhat confused, and I wonder if he might agree with what I have to say here. Although Derek is fully entitled to say that drawing is not research, or is not design research, I feel that the discussion of whether it is or is not, is, itself, a kind of research, or indeed design research, since it enquires into the nature of what design research is or is not, and hence seems to fit quite nicely into the goals of such a list. Because, even if one's thesis is that drawing is research, it remains true that a thesis on drawing being research is a product of research. Or, even if one wrongly (not to say taht it is wrong, but just for argument's sake) thinks that drawing is (design) research, and argues for it, it is still an inquiry into the nature on design, and hence a research into designing. In this case, therefore, those who think design is research and who are willing to articulate this thesis in words rather than draw that claim, should very much be welcome for this list. Since Derek mentions Aristotle, I am reminded that Aristotle distinguished craft from speculation, and said that one is not the same as the other, whereas Heidegger thinks techne is a kind of unfolding of meanings, which seems to me like enquiry - but notice now, whether you side the Philosopher or Mr H, on paper, you are doing research, because you are writing about it. So the point is, if you think design is research, well, then you are in the right place, because even if you are deeply mistaken, you can be sure that your defense of an erroneous idea (again, I'm not saying it is, but this is just for argu's sake) is what design research is all about - the inquiry into the nature of research. The other point I was worried about was when Derek claims that political science, anthropology and communication are established disciplines, when these like sociology are quite recent positivist developments, all respectable, but not really traditional, established disciplines - for these one thinks of philosophy, theology, history, classics, etc. Hence philosophical banter which he disparages fits rather more nicely with what he commends to us.
Finally, I might briefly mention that Terry's claim that the self is an epiphenomenon seems to be at dissonance (to borrow an idea from Michael Rea) with the whole project of design research or design theorizing. One thinks of writing out a theory of design or doing research on design in order to inform others about how to better design, or repeat good axioms or rules of design. That must be why we have design research, or at least why design research is important. But if the self, the locus of intelligent judgment and willing is nothing other than an illusion, that the body and the brain does what it does because it had chocolotes rather than strawberries for breakfast, then the project of design theorizing and research is a sham, a hogwash, and vanity. I'm not saying that Terry's claims is wrong, but rather that his idea forces design theory and design research, and design researchers to pay a high price insofar as their field is concerned. Terry is absolutely right when he says that if the self is an epiphenomenon design research has to be totally re-written: it will have to write itself out of relevance, and importance, and out of universities.
I might be wrong, and I am willing to be corrected
National Institute of Education (Singapore) http://www.nie.edu.sg
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