Why Designers and Philosophers Should Meet in School
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Liesbeth Stam, Wouter Eggink
Institution: 1Industrial Design Engineering, University of Twente; 2Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Section: Design Education and Design Cultures
Many scholars who study user-technology relations have shown from different perspectives that such relations are mutually constructive: users shape technology, and technology shapes users. This awareness raises questions about the part a designer plays in the workings of society. Are designers responsible for the social role of their products? Can designers promote the well-being of users and society at large? These questions are still largely absent in design education. In this paper we argue the importance and benefit of integrating concepts from Philosophy of Technology and the related field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) in design education. We will discuss a threefold benefit of a combined approach that draws on both traditional design education (generally focused on individual users and objects) and theoretical approaches to technology (generally focused on how technology marks and transforms the way we live our lives). In the first place such an integrated approach enables a deeper insight in the social significance of design. Secondly, it allows for a better understanding of design theory and practice itself. Thirdly, it provides a basis for the development of new design perspectives that promote human well-being. To illustrate we will introduce the notion of ‘open script design’ as a new design perspective that was developed in a Capita Selecta design course based on insights from philosophy of technology and STS.