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The Philosophy of Design


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Table of Contents



1 What is Design?

1.1 Defining 'Design'

1.2 Ontological Issues

1.3 Activity, Profession and Practice

1.4 The Rise of the Designer

2 The Design Process

2.1 The Challenges of Design

2.2 A Crisis of Confidence

2.3 The Epistemological Problem

2.4 Are Design Problems Ill-Defined?

2.5 Some Responses

2.6 Prestructures and Principles

3 Modernism

3.1 The Origins of Modernism

3.2 Reinterpretations and Linkages

3.3 The Failure of Modernism

4 Expression

4.1 The Meanings of Design

4.2 Expression and Eros

4.3 The Better Realization Argument

4.4 Illusion and Reality

4.5 An Objection

5 The Concept of Function

5.1 The Indeterminacy of Function

5.2 Intentionalist Theories of Artefact Function

5.3 Evolutionary Theories of Artefact Function

5.4 Objections to the Evolutionary Theory

5.5 Novelty, Design and the Epistemolocial Problem

6 Function, Form and Aesthetics

6.1 Can Form Follow Function?

6.2 Squaring Function and Aesthetic Value

6.3 Dependent Beauty

6.4 Functional Beauty

6.5 Good Taste in Design

6.6 Bad Taste

7 Ethics

7.1 Applied Ethics and Design

7.2 Consumerism, Needs and Wants

7.3 Is Need an Empty Concept?

7.4 Does Design Alter the Moral Landscape?

7.5 The Designer Stands Alone?

Epilogue: The Meaning of Modernism

Suggestions for Further Reading



About the Author

Glenn Parsons is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Ryerson University


"With The Philosophy of Design, Glenn Parsons constructs an elegant bridge between two major islands in the archipelago of human thought: philosophy and design. Bringing existing work Atogether into a systematic treatmentA, Parsons cogently presents the philosophy of design as a load-bearing structure. Through original philosophical explorations of design, including a bold rethinking of design history, he also demonstrates its capacity for carrying traffic."
Per Galle, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design "This very readable and illuminating book is a must-have for designers and the students of design."
Oxford Journal

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