Philosophical Foundations of the Maker Movement

Year: 2016
Editor: Julie Linsey, Maria Yang, and Yukari Nagai
Author: Thomas Ask
ISBN: 978-1-904670-82-7


The maker movement exploits a gap in what Kuhn refers to as “normal science”. The maker movement promotes experimentation and whimsy. It equally embraces old and new materials and technology in pursuing the maker’s vision of the completed object. Making typically provides immediate visceral feedback on a design’s performance which produces tacit knowledge. This paper explores philosophical arguments deriving from Feyerabend, Grof, Kuhn, and Rorty for the maker’s approach to design.
While makers are not pursuing science, they apply science often in an unscripted, unconstrained fashion. This freedom to make mistakes and pursue apparently random approaches has the potential to avail surprising and radical results. This paper considers the notion of objectivity, limitations of science and the necessity of working outside of conventional mental models. Making is parsed into inventing, art and process. This paper focuses on the inventing aspects of making and the potential for working outside of “normal science”.

Keywords: maker, philosophy, design

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