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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/32240
- Design: a harnessing of unintelligible causes
Dickinson, Michael R.
- An extensive body of writing, complete with variations and controversies, embraces the study of unintelligible causes in relation to design. The philosophies of Paley, Darwin, Sartre, Alexander and Simon, amongst other thinkers, are brought to this argument. The term 'unintelligible' has been used in preference to 'unknown' or 'undiscovered' in this paper because these terms imply the potential to be found. This is not to state that design cannot be mapped, that patterns cannot be identified or that logical, intelligible systems cannot be created. However, it is stating that the intelligible – that which can be understood – is not necessarily directed by intelligence and therefore direction by unintelligible causes cannot be discounted. An intelligent design theory must be capable of harnessing both intelligible and unintelligible causes. This paper will start with Hodge's argument that evolution occurs by causes or means which are unintelligible. The idea of the purpose and use of maps will then be considered with a view to exploring the changed map of understanding inherent in Darwin's theory of evolution. The implications of the word 'design' will be discussed in relation to the positions of several scientists of the Victorian era. From this historical perspective, the paper will return to the map analogy, introducing the concept of design as an overlay to the map of nature/science. The work of Sartre will be considered, particularly his belief that "…the fundamental project of human reality is to say that man is the being whose project is to become God" (Sartre, 1953, p66), which exemplifies both his understanding of the uniqueness of our human desire to be all-knowing and his concept of 'nothingness'. This paper concludes that design as a discipline can look for a position on an existing map or seek a form of representation that works in conjunction with existing maps. Whether we desire an omniscient all-knowing control, as opposed to harnessing the unintelligible causes of an evolving future, is the question resulting from the argument of this paper.
- 6th International Conference of the European Academy of Design (EAD 06). Design Systems Evolution: EAD 06 (Bremen, Germany 29-31 March, 2005)
- HFK Germany
intelligible and unintelligible
- Resource Type
- conference paper
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