Plato, the designers and engineers

Monk, John (2001). Plato, the designers and engineers. In: International Summer Academy on Technological Studies, Jul 2001, Deutschlandsberg, Austria.


The products or services that designers and engineers influence as part of their professional work represent their views. People can elect to adopt their service or product and thus identify themselves with particular designers or engineers provided there is a choice.
Designers can be adventurous but to be successful must identify themselves with the constituency in which they hope that their product will become the popular choice. They must also, if they wish to be assimilated into a democratic movement, be willing to paint a picture of the identity that they are striving for. In doing so they will become representatives of their designs and be helping to socialise the non-humans that they value. To participate in democracy, designers and engineers will have to take lessons from Plato's Gorgias and tell their stories in the most compelling way they can. They must design their products, too, so that they can stand as eloquent representatives.

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