Adventure : Expedition to Pragmatism and Inventivism in the design situation

Sander Mulder, Stella Boess, Jonas Fritsch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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In this Conversation session we explored the two contrasting philosophical perspectives of Pragmatism and Inventivism. Pragmatism tends to focus on technical objects as fulfilling a purpose for mankind in a concrete situational context. In contrast, the French philosopher Gilbert Simondon introduces an Inventivist philosophical position in which technical objects a) have their own mode of being called technicity, b) are becoming more open, and c) should not be reduced to a purpose, as that hinders their co-emergence with mankind - a problematic position with regards to design. The Conversation took the form of exploring an imaginary design case revolving around using the technology of a wildlife camera to design for a dinner table setting. Two imaginary design teams were formed, each operating in a philosophical 'clearing' representing one of the perspectives. Moderators supported each team. Each team had a wildlife camera at their disposal to work with, which at the same time captured each session at selected points. Four participants joined the Conversation session, two per clearing. Halfway through the session the participants reflected intermediately and then one each swapped clearings. The last 10 minutes were spent on a joint reflection. This exploration indicates how the differences in philosophical positions play out when entering concrete design consideration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of DRS2018 Conversations
Subtitle of host publicationDesign as a catalyst for change
EditorsSharon Prendeville, Keelin Leahy, Abigail Durrant, Nora O' Murchú
Place of PublicationLimerick, Ireland
PublisherDesign Research Society
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-912294-36-7
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventDRS 2018: Design as a catalyst for change - Limerick, Ireland
Duration: 25 Jun 201828 Jun 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of DRS2018 International Conference


ConferenceDRS 2018


  • Pragmatism
  • Inventivism
  • Design Philosophy
  • Design situations


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