Ethical imagination and design

Lloyd, Peter (2007). Ethical imagination and design. In: Design Thinking Research Symposium 7: Design Meeting Protocols, 9-21 Sep 2007, London, UK.



Using the DTRS7 data of both Architectural and Engineering design meetings this presentation shows how the fields of ethics and design inter-relate, especially in the area of creative imagination. The paper first draws on Medway’s (2003) concept of ‘the virtual building’ to show how, in the data, essential aspects of designerly thinking can apply to ethics. It then goes on to show how, in the process of designing, designers engage implicitly with ethical issues. The paper discusses four extended examples from the data before suggesting that by addressing ethical subjects without framing them in explicitly ethical ways, the design process allows us to ‘imaginatively trace out the implications of our metaphors, prototypes and narratives’ a key element of ethical decision-making according to Johnson (1993).

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