Design-ing and Creative Philosophies









Responsibility in design: applying the philosophy of Gilbert Simondon  

Sander Mulder

Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands

Keywords: responsibility, Gilbert Simondon, design, transduction, way of reasoning


The notion of technical mentality and transductive reasoning described by the French philosopher Gilbert Simondon is applied on a concrete design case in order to investigate responsibility and design. The design case relates to the development of a portable artificial kidney. The historic invention of the artificial kidney is woven into the philosophy of Simondon in order to mobilize his work. For designers, the risk of reduction is at stake when applying the technical mentality to domains beyond the technical such as the psycho-social. This risk can be avoided by transductive reasoning, i.e. reasoning by means of analogy, but this is not sufficient as additional research is needed on responsibility and taking action. Correlating machines remains a human responsibility. Designers cannot hide behind the borders of their task or project when it comes to responsibility. Suggestions for further research are shared a.o. on aesthetics, ways of reasoning in design and design education. 

This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: Mulder, S. (2016). Responsibility in design: applying the philosophy of Gilbert Simondon. Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

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