• Radical Constructivism and the Decolonisation of Epistemology
    Constructivist Foundations 13 (3): 326-327. 2018.
    Open peer commentary on the article “Heterarchical Reflexive Conversational Teaching and Learning as a Vehicle for Ethical Engineering Curriculum Design” by Philip Baron. Upshot: Baron locates the decolonisation of the curriculum within the classroom, repurposing radically constructivist approaches to teaching and learning and giving them a sense of social and political urgency. The inclusion of students’ worldviews in the curriculum is best thought of as the beginning of a process rather than a…Read more
  • Why Design Cybernetics?
    In Thomas Fischer & Christiane M. Herr (eds.), Design Cybernetics: Navigating the New, Springer Verlag. 2019.
    In this chapter I review the intimate relationship between cybernetics and design, drawing on the work of Ranulph GlanvilleGlanville, Ranulph and Gordon PaskPask, Gordon. The significance of each of these fields for the other follows from the mutualismMutualism between them, such that cybernetics can be understood in terms of design as well as vice versa. The full value of this can be seen in the assistance they offer each other in building support from within. Design may serve as an example for…Read more
  •  17
    Wicked problems in design and ethics
    In Peter Jones & Kyoichi Kijima (eds.), Systemic Design: Theory, Methods, and Practice, Springer Japan. 2018.
    While the relationship between ethics and design is usually thought of in terms of the application of the former to the latter, it is not as if ethics is a settled body of theory that can authoritatively guide design practice. Depending which theories or ideas we refer to we receive different guidance as to what to do. Indeed, design may have as much to contribute to ethical theory as vice versa. This essay builds connections between design and ethics, looking to the similarities of structure be…Read more
  •  11
    In this paper I speak directly to the subject matter of this conference: to its theme of flourishing, and to the subject areas of systems thinking and design that this conference series as a whole seeks to bring together. The conference theme of flourishing is a direct reference to ethics, and in particular the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle. There has been a revival of interest in this in recent decades under the heading of virtue ethics. Aristotle defined the good as that at which all things …Read more
  •  25
    In designing architecture we put forward ways in which to live, enabling particularpatterns of living while limiting other possibilities. In this sense architecture has anormative function and can be compared to the way that ethical theories and moralcodes purport to guide us on how to live. Given this, I suggest that ethical reflectionabout how we design—and in particular about how we constitute the relationshipbetween designers and those they design for—can be used to help formulate ethicalque…Read more
  •  33
    This paper explores a potential relation between architecture and ethics intrinsic to design processes when understood in terms of dialogue or conversation. We draw on separate but related research interests: one focused on the design process, especially the significance of drawing, and the other on the ethics of designing for the public realm, with reference to Bakhtinian dialogism. Our investigation concentrates on two aspects of the design process both of which can be thought of in terms of c…Read more
  •  41
    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore ways in which cybernetics leads to distinctive ways of acting. Design/methodology/approach – Paralleling von Foerster’s argument that it makes more sense to speak of the cybernetics of epistemology than the epistemology of cybernetics, the author argues that cybernetics is not one form of practice amongst others but an account of what it is to practice, understood as where we relate how we act to how we understand so that each informs the other. …Read more
  •  10
    The relationship between ethics and design is most usually thought of in terms of applied ethics. There are, however, difficulties with this: for instance, conventional ethical stances such as deontology or consequentialism depend on procedures that are inapplicable in the sorts of complex situations which designers commonly face. In any case, it is not as if ethics is a settled body of theory that can act as an authority with which to guide practice. Depending on which theories we refer to, we …Read more
  •  14
    Author’s Response: Beyond Application
    Constructivist Foundations 11 (3): 591-597. 2016.
    Upshot: I reinforce the idea of broad connections between cybernetics, design and science that become apparent when the messy processes implicit in each are reflected on more explicitly. In so doing, I treat design not as a field in which cybernetic ideas are to be applied, but one in which they are reflected on and pursued.
  •  14
    Design Research as a Variety of Second-Order Cybernetic Practice
    Constructivist Foundations 11 (3): 572-579. 2016.
    Context: The relationship between design and science has shifted over recent decades. One bridge between the two is cybernetics, which offers perspectives on both in terms of their practice. From around 1980 onwards, drawing on ideas from cybernetics, Glanville has suggested that rather than apply science to design, it makes more sense to understand science as a form of design activity, reversing the more usual hierarchy between the two. I return to review this argument here, in the context of r…Read more
  •  11
    A Theatre for Exploring the Cybernetic
    Constructivist Foundations 11 (3): 619-620. 2016.
    Open peer commentary on the article ““Black Box” Theatre: Second-Order Cybernetics and Naturalism in Rehearsal and Performance” by Tom Scholte. Upshot: The parallels that Scholte has drawn between cybernetics and theatre open up a new avenue for exploring cybernetic ideas. This complements the way that cybernetics has invoked design as a way of questioning the relationship between cybernetics and action.
  •  87
    Context: The design of academic conferences, in which settings ideas are shared and created, is, we suggest, of more than passing interest in constructivism, where epistemology is considered in terms of knowing rather than knowledge. Problem: The passivity and predominantly one-way structure of the typical paper presentation format of academic conferences has a number of serious limitations from a constructivist perspective. These limits are both practical and epistemological. While alternative …Read more
  •  22
    Composing conferences
    with Michael Hohl
    Constructivist Foundations 11 (1). 2015.
    The design of academic conferences, in which settings ideas are shared and created, is, we suggest, of more than passing interest in constructivism, where epistemology is considered in terms of knowing rather than knowledge. The passivity and predominantly one-way structure of the typical paper presentation format of academic conferences has a number of serious limitations from a constructivist perspective, which are both practical and epistemological. While alternative formats abound, there is …Read more
  •  90
    One of the major themes of Ranulph Glanville's work has been the intimate connection between cybernetics and design, the two principle disciplines that he has worked in and contributed to. In this paper I review the significance of the analogy that he proposes between the two and its connection to his concerns with, firstly, the cybernetic practice of cybernetics and, secondly, the relation between cybernetics and ethics. I propose that by putting the cybernetics-design analogy together with the…Read more
  •  18
    Open peer commentary on the article “Radical Constructivist Structural Design Education for Large Cohorts of Chinese Learners” by Christiane M. Herr. Upshot: Herr’s radically constructivist approach to the technological aspects of architectural education also invites a critical review of the constructivist credentials of the conversational model of design studio teaching that she takes as a point of departure