Ethical imagination and design

Lloyd, Peter (2009). Ethical imagination and design. Design Studies, 30(2) pp. 154–168.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.destud.2008.12.004

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.destud.2008.12.004

Abstract

Using transcripts of both architectural and engineering design meetings this chapter shows how the fields of ethics and design inter-relate, especially in the area of creative imagination. The chapter first draws on the concept of a ‘virtual building’ to show how essential aspects of designerly thinking can apply to ethics. It then goes on to show how, in the process of designing, designers engage explicitly and implicitly with ethical issues. The chapter discusses four extended examples from two design processes – one involving the design of a crematorium the other involving the design of a digital pen – 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 the philosopher Mark Johnson.

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