Design Epistemology









I know this one, but the answer is complex... 

simon downs

Loughborough University

Keywords: Design, Epistemology, Complexity, Systems


There is a seductive logic in Abelson's 1979 paper Differences between belief and knowledge systems. This seduction comes in the form of an implicit promise that the formulation of a working epistemological address to the problems raised in the paper will give us a toolset that will blow away the fog of belief from the human landscape. This paper proposes that the very dynamism that makes the human landscape a swamp of wicked problems makes Abelson's conjecture – however true they may be on a meta scale – an unproductive addition to the designers toolbox. It proposes that middle-range theories offer productive addresses to the complex systems and wicked problems that define our world.

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Cite this paper: Downs, S. (2016). I know this one, but the answer is complex... Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

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