Wicked problems in design and ethics

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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 between wicked problems in design and those dilemmas that are of central concern in normative ethical theory. Understanding design and ethics in mutual terms, ethical questions in design need not be understood in terms of external limitations or trade offs between competing priorities. Moreover, the way designers cope with the ethical challenges presented by wicked problems may inform how we approach complex ethical challenges in other contexts, including some of those that arise within ethical discourse itself.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSystemic design: theory, methods, and practice
EditorsPeter Jones, Kyoichi Kijima
Place of PublicationTokyo, Japan
ISBN (Electronic)9784431556398
ISBN (Print)9784431556381
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameTranslational Systems Sciences


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