Friday, November 03, 2017

New book project "Nature of design rationality"

I have since my early days of being a Ph.D. student been intrigued by the question of what it means to be rational and to act rationally. This interest manifested itself in my Ph.D. dissertation that translated to English had the title "The Hidden Rationality of Design Work".

Reading about rationality has since then been a lifelong side project, almost like a hobby. I have not done so much writing on the topic but I have read. Recently I have started a book project around designing and rationality (maybe with a title similar to my dissertation, however with different content).

The main idea of this project is that the designing, as a major human approach for change, still struggles with a "hidden rationality". Even though today the praise of designing is stronger than ever before, it is far from clear what is the distinguishing features of the approach compared to other approaches. What is the rationality underlying designing that makes it into a unique approach and makes it possible to achieve outcomes that seems difficult when using other approaches?

There are a lot of superficial ideas about designing presented today as a design approach. In many cases, designing is not seen as anything more than some steps or phases and the use of some simple techniques. It is obvious that we would not define science in the same sense. So what if we treated designing as an approach that has to be understood and explained at the same depth as we do with science. This is what I think is needed and where my interest in rationality can help, I hope. I understand that this is ambitious and maybe overwhelmingly difficult but it is very exciting and maybe I will be able to develop the book project to at least relate to some of these big issues.

[For a long time I have been inspired by the book "The Nature of Rationality" by Robert Nozick. It is a wonderful book that develops a fundamental understanding of rationality and also opens up for a form of rationality that seems to resonate with design.]

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