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InternationalJournalofPhilosophyStudy(IJPS)Volume32015www.seipub.

org/ijps
doi:10.14355/ijps.2015.03.004

EnhancedCausationforDesign
MatthiasRAUTERBERG1,LoeFEIJS2
IndustrialDesign,EindhovenUniversityofTechnology(TU/e),PObox513,5600MBEindhoven,TheNetherlands
g.w.m.rauterberg@tue.nl,2l.m.g.feijs@tue.nl

Abstract
Thispaperpresentsaphilosophicaloverviewforthefieldofdesigningeneral,andinteractiondesigninparticular.Basedon
theselectedbutimportantandinfluentialphilosophicaltheories,weargueforahermeneuticpositiongroundedinphenome
nology.ThepopularviewofCartesianismiscriticizedduetoitslimitations,andthefourcausesofAristotleareintroducedto
overcomethoselimitationsregardingtheacademicdemandsofdesign.Phenomenologyispresentedasanalternativeposition.
Thrownnessintothisworld(beingintheworld)isthebasicassumptionon,whichany(interaction)designstartsfromafirst
personviewtochangeourenvironmentinaconsciousandresponsiblemanner.
Keywords
AristotelianCauses;CartesianAnxiety;InteractionDesign;Phenomenology;Technology,ThrownNess

Introduction
Foraverylongperiod,AristotlesPhysics(Aristotle,2008(first350BC))wasthefoundationtostudynaturalsci
ences.Aristotlebeganwithananalysisofchange,whichintroducesustothecentralconceptsofmatterandform.
Nexthemovedontoanaccountofexplanationinthesciencesandadefenseofteleologicalexplanation.Afterthis
he turned to detailed and important notions of continuity, infinity, place, time, and void. He ended with a pro
found argument to show that the changes we experienced in the world demanded as their cause of a single un
changingcauseofallchange,namelyGodasadivineconcept(thecausewithoutacause).
Thedominantparadigminmodernscienceislogicalpositivism(oralsoknownasmodernempiricism),andtheim
plications of this philosophy for research methodology have been already intensively discussed (see (C. J.
Thompson, Locander, & Pollio, 1989) (Bauer, 1987)). Logical positivism seeks to determine the truth of claims or
statements.Ithasalreadynoticedthatabroadersetofassumptionsunderliestheuseofpositivistmethods.These
metaassumptionscanbeunderstoodinthemoreglobalphilosophicalpositionasCartesianismorrationalism.We
donotreferordiscusstheChinesephilosophicalassumptions(Wang&Nakatsu,2014).Someofthemostfunda
mentalideasinCartesianismmainlyfocusedontheseparationbetweenmindandbody(Crane&Patterson,2012);it
isalsoassumedthatrealitymustbededucedandthendescribedinmathematicalterms(Rauterberg,2008).Theun
derstandingofCartesianismdeterminesthewayinwhichscienceissupposedtobeexecutedtoday(Reiser,1936)
butalsohastofaceitslimitations(Sheldrake,2012).GoingbacktoAristotleandpassingbythelongphilosophical
history,wecandescribeandhopetoexplainthemaindeficienciesofourmodernviewonscienceandthepossible
options to overcome these recognizedlimitations by incorporating designas a holistic approach towards nature.
Althoughhumansachievedinmodernandhighlyindustrializedcountriesthesituationthatwearesurroundedby
designartifacts,andnatureassuchhardlyexistanymore(VanMensvoort,2011),itstillmakessensetoassumethat
natureassuchexists.Ifitcomestodesignasanacademicfield,wehavetoexplainhowdesignworksandwhat
kind of reasoning is adequate (Dorst, 2011). But as long as we try to answer those questions in the constrained
frameworkofCartesianismandrationalism,wewillnotbesuccessful.Thereforewebelievewehavetoenlargeour
conceptofcausationbygoingbacktowhatwealreadyhadalongtimeagobutforgot.
The Cartesian Anxiety
Kant (1855) required that we should frame the epistemological problem inan entirelydifferent way. The crucial
questionisnothowwecanbringourselvestounderstandtheworld,buthowtheworldcomestobeunderstoodby
us.Thisisaveryinterestingperspective,becauseKantoperatedontheassumptionthatweashumansarecapable
ofthis;buthowcanwebeassuredofthis?Kantdescribedtwoconcepts:(1)analyticapriorijudgmentsincludeall
merely logical truths and straightforward matters of definition; they are necessarily true; (2) synthetic a priori

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judgmentsarethecrucialcases,sinceonlytheycouldprovidenewinformationthatisnecessarilytrue.Analytical
judgmentscanonlybeprovidedinaformalsystemandcouldbeseenasakindoftautologies(i.e.wecannotget
moreoutofouraxiomsystemthanweputinfrombeginon;althoughwenormallydonotfullyunderstandup
frontwhatweputin;thisholdsalsoformostbyhumansdesignedartifactsinabroadsense).Ontheotherhand,
syntheticjudgmentscreatesomethingoutofnothing,andthisisstilldifficulttounderstand(Copan&Craig,2004).
Thelackofanundisputedfoundationofourbeing(i.e.sciencelostitscausewithoutcause,andtriedtorecoverby
comingupwiththebigbangasstartingpointforouruniverse(Linde,Linde,&Mezhlumian,1994))iscalledby
BernsteintheCartesianAnxiety(Bernstein,1983).EventhoughthisanxietybeganlongbeforeDescartescogitoer
gosum,hearguesthatthegrandEither/Orismostclearlysetforth:
Eitherthereissomesupportforourbeing,afixedfoundationforourknowledge,orwecannotescapetheforcesofdarkness
thatenvelopuswithmadness,withintellectualandmoralchaos((Bernstein,1983),p.18).
BernsteinsbooksubstantiateshowwemusteliminatethisCartesianAnxietywithoutfallingbackintoreligiousbe
liefsindivineconcepts(likeAristotle).Tofaceuptothisdichotomyistoexposeitandargueagainstitsplausibility
orappealasafocusofourlives(Gnther,1954).Thismovementbeyondmustfollowthepathofpostempiricist
philosophyofscience,ofphilosophicalhermeneutics,ofpraxis,andendwiththeinjunctionthatwemustseizethe
dialogicalcharacterofourhumanexistence((Bernstein,1983),p.xv).Toexposeandovercometheanxietyisa
practicaltaskofconversationandcommunicationoroftheneedtocultivatedialogicalcommunities((Bernstein,
1983)p.xv).ThisisatasktowhichBernsteinhasmadeamajorcontribution.Weshouldacknowledgeandaccept
ourthrownnessintothisworldandtrytounderstand,acceptandlivewith(Winograd&Flores,1986).
The Four Aristotelian Types of Causation
TheAristotlesfourcausesareclosertobeingbecausessincetheyareusuallythoughtofasthereasonsorexplana
tions for things(Hocutt,1974). The presented example of thefour causes iswhat is needed for the building ofa
house.Ahouseisbuiltbythecraftsmen,fromtherawmaterials,intotheformshownonblueprints,forthehome
ownertolivein(seeFigure1).Thisexampleisconcernedwiththemakingofsomething.Finalandformalcauses
havebeenabandonedsincethebeginningofthescientificrevolution.SirFrancisBaconclaimed(Bacon,2000(first
1620)) that the only scientific reasons for things were the material and efficient causes. For materialism it was
coinedasmatterinmotion.Aristotlethoughtthatmattercouldexistinspace,andmotionintime.Butwhatshallwe
dowithformorfinality?WewilldiscusseachAristotelianbecauseseparatelywhichisascloseaspossibletoits
originalmeaning.Attheendofeach,weprovidealsoourinterpretation,whichcanbefedintothephilosophical
foundationforinteractiondesign.

FIG.1:THEFOURARISTOTELIANCAUSES:EFFICIENT,MATERIAL,FINAL,ANDFORMALCAUSE(ADAPTEDFROM(THEKUBRICK
THEME,2010))ANDTHEFUNDAMENTALSPLITINPHYSICSANDMETAPHYSICSBYSIRFRANCISBACON(2000(FIRST1620)).

TheEfficientCause
Anefficientcauseisthefundamentalmechanismthatcauseschangesandmotion(i.e.tostartorstop,accelerateor
slowdown,createordestroy,etc.)ofobjects(thatbywhichsomethingismade).Anefficientcauseistheagent
that initiates a change or brings a thing into being. Mostly, this is simply the force that brings something about
(Wikipedia,2014).

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Theefficientcauseistheforce,mechanismoragentimmediatelyresponsibleforbringingthisformandthatmatter
togetherinthecreationofathing.Thus,theefficientcauseofaproductservicesystem(PSS)wouldincludethede
signer,engineer,andotherworkerswhousedspecificmaterialstobuildthePSSinaccordancewiththeblueprint
foritsconstruction.ClearlythePSSwouldnotbewhatitiswithouttheworkerscontributions(Kemerling,1997).
Our interpretation: The most appealing interpretation in this whole quartet of causes is the mainly accepted
causeeffectinterpretationinitsbroadsense.Acausecanbeanythingwhichinfluencesthebeingofanotherthing;
thelastoneiscalledeffect.Aprincipiantorprincipleisthatfromwhichabeingoriginatesorproceedsinanyway.
AccordingtoCoppens(Coppens,1891b)itmayproceedfromit:A)Logically,astheconclusiondoesfromtheprem
isesinreasoning.B)Physically,byderivingphysicalbeingfromtheprincipiant.Itmayhappenasfollows:(a)the
principiantmayproduceit,e.g.,aplantproducingfruit;(b)theprincipiantmaybeoneofitsconstituentelements,
asawheelisofaclock.Aprincipiantisalwayspriortothatwhichproceedsfromit,inoneoftwoways:(a)intime,
byexistingsooner;(b)bynatureonly,whenonebeingproducesorconstitutesanotherwithoutexistingbeforeit.
TheMaterialCause
Thematerialcauseofanobjectisequivalenttothenatureoftherawmaterialoutofwhichthethingorobjectiscom
posed(thatfromwhichsomethingismade).Withotherwords,thematerialcauseisthebasicqualityoutofwhich
thethingsaremade.Aristotleappliedthewordnaturetoboth(1)itspotentialintherawmaterial,and(2)itsulti
matefinishedform.Inasense,thisformalreadyexistedinthematerial(Wikipedia,2014).
ThematerialcauseofaPSS,forexampleahouse,wouldincludethebricks,wood,metal,glass,andothermaterials
usedinitsconstruction.Alloftheseaspectsbelonginanexplanationofthehousebecauseitcouldnotexistunless
theywerepresentinitscomposition(Kemerling,1997).
Our interpretation: Aristotle could not think of matter without a particular form attached. Due to the develop
mentsinchemistry,wecannowunderstandmatterwithoutthisconstrain.Theperiodictable(Mendelejew,1869)
describesandclassifiesallelementsofwhichmatterismade,andevenmore,wecannowcreatenewkindofmat
terbycombiningelements.Thematerialcauseisthereforethematteroutofwhichanybeing/thingismade.The
qualityofthechosenmatterdeterminesthebeing/thingnexttoallothercauses.Thisinterpretationofmatterex
cludesanyimmaterialquality(e.g.knowledge,information,minds,etc.)ofbeingamaterialcause.However,since
the famous Einsteins formula E=mc2, we have to include different types of energy in this category of material
causes, i.e. mechanical, electricity, thermal, kinetic and potential energy, etc. (E. Wikipedia, 2015b). Ongoing re
searchtriestoexplorefundamentalconceptsofmatterandinformationincurrentphysics,biology,philosophyand
theologywithrespecttothequestionofultimatereality(Davies&Gregersen,2014).
TheFinalCause
Finalcause,ortelos,isunderstoodastheinherentfinalpurpose(i.e.end,aim,orgoal)ofthephenomenaunderin
vestigation(thatforwhichsomethingismade).ThisAristoteliancauseisalsooneofthemostcontroversialtypes
ofcauseinmodernscience,becauseteloscausaleffectsworkfromthefuturebackintothepresence.Onecouldar
guethatAristotlesconceptionofnatureisteleologicalinthesensethathebelieved,andthatnatureasawhole,has
telosapartfromthosehumanshave.Thisispossible,becauseAristotlethoughtthatateloscanbepresentwithout
anyformofdeliberation,consciousnessorintelligence(Wikipedia,2014).
AlotofscholarsthoughtandstillthinkthatoneofDarwinsmainaccomplishmentswastoprovidebiologywitha
nonteleological explanation of adaptation. However, quite a lot of Darwins closest biologists, and even Darwin
himself,wouldprobablynotagreeonthat.Darwinsawselectionexplanationsofadaptationsasteleologicalexpla
nations.TheconfusioninthelastcenturiesaboutDarwinsattitudetoteleologyisarguedbyLennoxtobearesult
ofDarwinsteleologicalexplanationsnotconformingtoeitherofthedominantphilosophicaljustificationsoftele
ologyatthattime(Lennox,1993).ThisisoneviewtoarguethatDarwinbroughtbacktheconceptofteleological
causesonthescientificagenda!
Ourinterpretation:Thefinalcauseisthepurposeortheendinherentinaparticularaction;e.g.,whenapersonex
ertshimselftoacquirefame,theacquisitionoffameisatruecauseofhisexertion.Thegoalitselfaimedat,i.e.,
fame, is the final cause effectively considered; the acquisition of this fame is the final cause formally considered

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(Coppens,1891a).Wecouldgoevenfurther,whenretroactiveeffectsofasubjectspresentmentaleffortonapre
viousrandomeventcanbeobservedandseenasaformofnoncausallawfulness(Schmidt,1993).
TheFormalCause
Formalcause[eidos]isatermdescribingtheformorpatternthatmakesmatterintoaparticulartypeofthing,which
werecognizeasbeingofthatparticulartype(thatintowhichsomethingismade).ThisparticularcauseisAristo
tlescontinuationofPlatonsworldofideasbecauseAristotlehadtodistinguishthisformfromtheformgivenin
thematerialcause(Wikipedia,2014).Theformalcauseisthepatternoressenceinconformitywithwhichthesema
terialsareassembled.Thus,theformalcauseofourexemplaryproductwouldbethesortofthingthatisrepresent
edonablueprintofitsdesign.ThisisalsopartoftheexplanationofthePSS,sinceitsmaterialswouldbeonlya
pileofplastic,etc.iftheywerenotputtogetherinthisparticularway(Kemerling,1997).
Ourinterpretation:Afterweseparatedmatterandform,wecannowsaythattheformistheformalcause,which
specifiesthemattertobecomeaparticularbeing/thing.Aformexistsintwoways:(1)Substantialiftheformmakes
theverynatureofthebeingandcannotberemovedwithoutchangingthenatureofthisbeing;(2)Accidental,ifthe
formcanberemovedorchangedwithoutaffectingthenatureofthebeing(Coppens,1891a).Ifwedesignatable,
therearesubstantialformaspectsandaccidentalformaspects;ifwetakethesubstantialaspects(oftencalledfunc
tion)away,thetablewillnotbeatableanymore.Ifwetaketheaccidentalaspectsaway(oftencalledstyle)the
tablestillfunctionsasatablebutwithchangedappearance.ThesubstantialformofaPSSisalsocalledtheessence.
DiscussionandConclusion
Aswehaveargued,thefourdifferentconceptsofcausationhavetheiradequateplacesinthefoundationfordesign
ofinteractiveproductsandsystems.AlthoughtheoriginalinterpretationsfromAristotlearenotdirectlyapplicable
anymore,thecleardistinctionofthoseconceptsisstillvalidanduseful.Buchananintroducedasanexternalview
thefourelementsofaproduct:(1)manner,(2)materials,(3)function,and(4)form(Buchanan,2001).Hemotivates
thesefourelementsbecausethenewperspectiveonproductsdeepensourconcernfor,andunderstandingof,the
natureofformbyarguingthatformshouldnotbeunderstoodfromanexternalviewbutfromaninternalview:
form as a synthesis of what is useful, usable, and desirable. Now, form becomes dynamic and contextualized
(Rauterberg,Salem,&Mortelvande,2005).Hence,interactiondesignisadynamicformgivinginaparticularcon
textofuse!Designingthedynamicformisnotonlyinthreespatialdimensionsbutalsohastoincludethefourth
dimension time. Time is clearly one of the most important features of the new understanding of products
(Buchanan, 2001). Some of the remaining questions are: how can we capture and describe those dynamic forms;
howcanwesketchourideasiftheyaredynamicandfluid;andfinallyhowcanwedesignforthesecomplex,vol
atileandtransitorynewdynamicforms?(Feijs,2006).
Tointroduceanddiscusscausationwhichmakesonlysenseifthereissomethingtobecaused!Fromtheverybe
ginning,anykindofphilosophytriedtoaddressthisontologicalquestionandseveralanswerswereprovided.On
tology is the branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of existence or being as such. But how do we know
whatexists?Thisfirstpersonperspectivetorealityisofutmostimportancenotonlyforphilosophersandphysi
cists but also for designers and their designs. Several decades ago, this particular aspect the inherently inter
twinednessofobserverandobserved,designerandartifact,humanandtechnologywasalreadydiscussed
byEverettfortheobserverinquantummechanics(Everett,1957)(seeinparticulartheCopenhagenInterpreta
tion of quantum mechanics (Bohr, 1928)), and by Bateson and Mead about the foundations of Norbert Wieners
cybernetics(Brand,Bateson,&Mead,1976):Designfromoutsideorfrominsidethebox?BatesonandMeadstat
edthateveryengineeranddesignershoulddesignfrominsidethebox!Nowwearebouncedbacktoouractualsit
uatedness with all accompanying responsibilities and no escape at all from this. What does this groundedness
meantous?
Recentworksinphilosophy,linguistics,andcognitivepsychologyhavearguedthatcognitiveprocessesareem
bodied,i.e.,groundedinourbodilyexperiencewiththeenvironment(Wilson,2002).Inthisview,thesensoryand
motoractivitiesofthebodyareimportantdeterminantsofhumancognition,whichinturnshapethestructureand
useoflanguage(Lakoff&Johnson,1999).Thiseffectingeneraliscalledembodiedcognition(Wilson,2002).Pfeif
erandBongard(2006)couldshowthatthoughtistightlyconstrainedbythebody,andatthesametimeenabledby

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thisbody.Wearethrownintothisworldanddirectlyconnectedtoourenvironment,throughalloursensesand
metaphoricalinterpretationschemata.Wecannotescapefromthis(evendeathmightjustbeanother,althoughrad
icaltransformationofourrelationshipstoourenvironment).
Inthepast,JaspersandHeideggerexpressedtheirconcernsthattechnologyalienatesusfromourselvesandfrom
our environment. This concern is debated and vivid till today. But based on the works of Ihde, Latour and
Borgmann,PeterPaulVerbeekpresentedamodernviewhowartifactsarereflectingourculture but at the same
timeshapingourexistenceandexperience(Verbeek,2010).Wehavetounderstandthatartifactsaretheresultsof
certaincreationandproductionprocesseswhicharebythemselvesculturallydetermined.Thesekindsofproduc
tionprocessescanalsobediscussedundertheumbrellaoftechnology.Wemustunderstandthattherearefour
major types of these technologies with each a matrix of practical reason: (1) technologies of production, which
permit us to produce, transform, or manipulate things; (2) technologies of sign systems, which permit us to use
signs,meanings,symbols,orsignification;(3)technologiesofpower,whichdeterminetheconductofindividuals
andsubmitthemtocertainendsordomination,anobjectivisingofthesubject;(4)technologiesoftheself,which
permitindividualstoeffectbytheirownmeansorwiththehelpofothers,acertainnumberofoperationsontheir
ownbodiesandsouls,thoughts,conduct,andwayofbeing,soastotransformthemselvesinordertoobtainacer
tain state of happiness, purity, wisdom, perfection, or immortality (Foucault, 1988, p. 18). The most promising
viewontechnologyingeneralandartifactsinparticularisthattheseartifactsareprosthesisofourshortcomings
ashumanbeings.Afterourbirth,weashumanbeingsarethemostunspecificspeciesonearthintermsofskills
andknowledge,wehavetobeeducatedformanyyearsbeforebecomingaproductiveandresponsiblememberof
society; on the other side,this enablesus to be openminded, inventive (i.e.because we have to), andat the end
highlyadaptive.Humansareextremelyinventivetoovercomeallourshortcomings;thebestphrasingisthatwe
designpermanentlynewtypesofprosthesistoenrichourlife(DePreester,2011).Designingeneral,andtechnology
inparticularisinitsessenceprostheticdesign(Clark,2005).Allthesekindsofprosthesisenlargethescopeof
ourmeaningfulrelationshipstoourenvironment(L.Thompson&Cupples,2008).
Humansdonotseeandactonthephysicalqualitiesofthings,butonwhattheymeantothem(Krippendorff,2006).
Accepting this view, we can conclude that technology is part of our curtains fabric, our ways to relate to our
worldbecauseitisaconstituentcomponentofthisworld.Butwhywasitsodifficulttounderstandthisveryim
portantinsight?
Implications for Design
In this section, we go into the consequences of the above section (thefourAristoteliantypesofcausation and
aboutcausationandontology)fordesign.Werephraseourfindingsinpracticaltermsandillustratethembyex
amplesfromthefieldofdesign.Weadoptthecommondefinitionofdesignasthecreationofaplanorconventionfor
theconstructionofanobjectorasystem(Wikipedia,2015a).Thisincludesindustrialdesign,architectureandinterac
tion design. From the above section, we take the idea that objects and in a more general term productservice
systems(PSS)havealsoacausewhichliesinthefuture.Fromlastsection,weconcludethattechnologyanddesign
notonlyshapetheworld,butalsoshapethewayweperceivetheworld.Moreover,wearethrownintothisworld
inwhichwehavetoact.Weshallarguethattheseingredientsconstitutethebasisforincreasinglyimportanttasks
fordesigners:(1)raiseawarenesstotheFinalCauseofthingsand(2)giveprioritytoAction.
InInteractiondesign,asasubdisciplineofcontemporaryIndustrialDesign,itmeansthattheactionsimpliedbyan
artifactaremoreimportantthanthestaticpropertiesoftheartifact.Actionisconsideredveryimportantforthede
signworkitself.Thisisalsowhyseveralscholarsindesignadoptmoreactionorienteddefinitionsofdesign,such
asthedefinitionbyHerbertSimonas
theprocessbywhichwedevisecoursesofactionaimedatchangingexistingsituationintopreferredones(Simon,1998),
whichisalsoadoptedbyKenFriedmanwhobeginshispaperbythestatementthat
design involves solving problems, creating something new, or creating less desirable situations to preferred situations
(Friedman,2003).
Therefore,ReflectiononactionisbecomingacentralparadigmintheInteractionDesigncommunity(Schn,1983).

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Weshallexplainmoreaboutthisinthesectionbelow.Atalargerscale,itmeansthatdesignerscreatevisionsofthe
future,raisingawarenessforthelongtermandglobalconsequencesofhumanactionsandtechnologicaldevelop
ments.Webeginwiththeglobalperspective.
ActionsforGlobalDesign
First,wediscusstheideathatanyPSSshavealsoacausewhichliesinthefuture.Weareusedtotraditionalcause
andeffectrelationshipsindesign,wherethecauseliesinthepast(efficientcause)orinthepresent(materialcause,
formalcause).Forexample,wecandescribeafluorescentlampandsaythattheultravioletlightcausesaphosphor
coatingontheinsideofthebulbtoglow.Thesamecanbedoneforundesiredcauseandeffectrelationships,likeif
wesayaboutinjectionmoldingthatthesplitofthemoldintotwohalvescancausepartinglinesorflashlines,or
whenwedescribeacarengineandsaythatcarbondepositsmaycauseinternalengineknock.Thisisthekindof
causeandeffectrelationshipsadequatelydescribedbythelawsofphysics.
IfwesaythatthecauseofaPSSliesinthefuture,werefertosituationswherehumansuseobjects,servicesand
systems to achieve certain goals. Axes are made to chop trees and hammers are designed for people to hammer
nailsintowood.Itisbecausewewanttogetnailsintothewood,wewillbuyahammer.Thatiswhythehammeris
designed in the first place. Chairs and tables caused the hammer, the nails, the glue, etc. to be created. It is the
powerofhumanimagination,seeingpotential,serendipityandexperience,andhumancooperation,whichmake
thiskindoffinalcausationpossible.
Whenhumansmanagedtomakemoresophisticatedtoolsandeventuallyentiresystemsoftoolsduringtheindus
trial revolution, science and engineering were developed and cultivated to improve the efficiency of the tools,
whichiswhatbroughtusmicroscopes,telescopes,guns,steamengines,telephones,cars,factories,atomicbombs,
radios,helicopters,televisions,satellites,powerplants,computersandsoon.Inviewofthegreateconomicsuccess
ofthesedevelopmentandinviewofthegreatpowerobtainedbythecommunitieshavingaccesstothesetools,the
positivistrationalthinkingofscienceandengineeringhasbecomethedominantparadigmforthinkingaboutthe
artifactsinourlivesandabouttheirdesign.Thisistheparadigmwhichdealswiththeefficientcause,thematerial
cause, and the formal cause. But amidst these successes, we almost forget that there is no absolute thirdperson
perspectivetruth,onlyasophisticatedtechnologymediatedlenstoseetheworld.Andwealmostforgetthatitis
humandesireandhumanimaginationthatsetthedirectionofthefuturethatcausesnewthingstocomeintoexist
ence.
For several centuries we could live with the impression that there is a big uncharted, unexplored territory to be
discovered and that these objective discoveries could be exploited for human fruit and benefit. This was most
clear in the sense of explorers such as Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo, Vasco Da Gama, David Livingstone,
Henry Morton Stanley, and many more, but by now the whole world surface has been charted. There are still
thingstobediscovereddeepinsidetheearthandintheocean,inchemistry,inphysicsandbiologybutthesimple
growthmodelisgraduallyreachingitslimits.Itisnotjustthatthereisnomoreunchartedterritory,butnaturalre
sourcesturnoutlimited,andpollutionhastobetakenintoaccountaswell.Oneclearsignalofthisunderstanding
wasthefirstreporttotheClubofRomein1972,whichincludesasoneoftheconclusionsthat
ifthepresentgrowthtrendsinworldpopulation,industrialization,pollution,foodproduction,andresourcedepletioncon
tinueunchanged,thelimitstogrowthonthisplanetwillbereachedsometimewithinthenextonehundredyears.(Meadows,
Meadows,Randers,&Behrens,1972).
Thereisataskherefordesigners:bothtovisualizepossiblefutureswiththeeffectofraisingawarenessandstimu
latingdebate,andtodesignobjectsandsystemsthatarecaused(inthesenseofFinalCause)byastrongandbene
ficialvisionofthefuture(e.g.strivingforsustainability).AgoodexampleofsuchadesignerwasRichardBuck
minsterFuller(18951983).InhisbookOperatingManualForSpaceshipEarthin1969,heemphasizesthattheearthis
onelimitedandconnectedplace,akindofmechanicalvehiclewhichhastobesustainableinitself.Forexamplehe
writes:ThefossilfueldepositsofourSpaceshipEarthcorrespondtoourautomobilesstoragebatterywhichmust
be conserved to turn over our main engines selfstarter. Thereafter, our main engine, theliferegenerating pro
cesses,mustoperateexclusivelyonourvastdailyenergyincomefromthepowersofwind,tide,water,andthedi
rectSunradiationenergy.

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FIG.2:DYMAXIONAIROCEANWORLDMAP1954FINALVERSIONFORANICOSAHEDRON,WITHFOLDINGLINES.[FREE
DOWNLOADFROMHTTP://COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG/WIKI/FILE:FULLER_PROJECTION_ROTATED.SVG]

Inthedecadesbeforethathehadalreadycreatedseveralinventionswhichheconsideredthempartofamoregen
eralprojecttoimprovehumanityslivingconditions.HecalledseveralofthemDymaxion(dynamic+maximum+
tension).TheDymaxionhousewasmeanttobemassproduced,affordable,easilytransportableandenvironmen
tallyefficient.TheDymaxioncarwasdesignedin1933withlightweightmaterials,basedonaerodynamicprinci
ples,andaimingatfuelefficiency.HisDymaxionmap(1943)andlaterhisAiroceanWorldMap(1954)considering
theinevitablebreakinglinesofthemapareputintotheoceans(seeFigure2),sothemaphighlightstheconnectivi
tyofthecontinents,highlightingisearlieronetownworldview.Thewishfor,andthevisionofamoresustaina
bleworldinwhichcarsandhousesareenergyefficientisthemain(final)causeforthiscar,thishouse,andthis
map.BuckminsterFullerhadtostudyprinciplesofgeometryandinventnewgeometricprinciplesinordertocre
atethismap.
ItisalsoremarkablethattheDymaxionmapwasdesignedwiththepurposeofshowingtheconnectednessofthe
world,inotherwordsthatitwasadeliberatelydesignedtooltopresentacertainvision.Atthesametime,theposi
tivistlanguagereferringtotruthisusedinthepatentdescription:
Itisanobjectofmyinventiontoprovideasectionalmapoftheworld,orofaportionofitssurface,whichissoconstructed
thatitspartscanbeassembledtogiveatrueroverallpictureofareas,boundaries,directionsanddistancesthanispossible
withanytypeofplanesurfacemapheretoforeknown.(BuckminsterFuller,1946).
AlsonotethatBuckminsterFullerdidnotonlywriteabouthisvisionoftheworldanditsfuture,asanactivede
signerhetookactionbydesigningobjectsandsystemsandhavemadethemrealized,evenifhisactionswereonly
stepsintherightdirection.
Nowwediscussasecondexampleofadesignerwhopresentedvisionsofpossiblefuturesandwhoalsousedhis
talentasadesignerandasaleaderofdesignteamstotakeactionstowardssuchfuture:StefanoMarzano.Inhis
ownwords:
Butitisnottechnologythatdetermineshumandestiny,butratherpeoplethemselves,inhowtheydecidestousethistechnol
ogy.Thefuturedoesnotjusthappenbyitself.Itcanbeinfluencedbythosewhoarepreparedtoshouldertheresponsibilityof
makingdecisionstoday.Inactionisalsoaction.(Marzano,1992).
In these sentences the reader recognizes the thrownness and the primacy of action. Marzano always had the
presentation of visions accompanied by actions of his design team, also used as a tool for innovation inside the
companyheworkedfor(mostlyPhilips).TheresultsoftheactionswerepublishedinbookletssuchasFlyingover
LasVegas(Marzano,1992),LaCasaProssimaFutura(Marzano,1999),NewNomads(Marzano,Green,VanHeerden,&
Mama, 2001), SeedsforGrowth (Marzano, 2008), and Avisiononhealthcarein2050 (Marzano, 2009). Each of these
speeches, reports or booklets contains a collection of envisioned or even workedout design proposals, most of
whicharenotreadyforproductionyet,butsomeofwhichwouldgiverisetomorepracticalproductslater,which
didgetrealized.Heclearlystated:Thefutureismadebythosewhotakeresponsibilityforittoday(1992).
ActionsforInteractionDesign
Ininteractiondesign,theconceptofaffordancehasgotacentralposition.Insteadofconsideringthemeaningofan
objecttobegivenbyasemioticcode,themeaningofanobjectismoreandmoreoftendefinedastheactionpossi
bilitiesaffordedbytheobject(seeFigure3).ThebasisforthishasbeenlaidbytheecologicalperceptionofGibson

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andthephilosophyofMerleauPonty.IthasbeenpickedupandputtouseindesignbyNorman(1996),Hummels,
Smets,Overbeeke(1998)andothers.Andwiththeshiftfromstaticaspectsofmeaningtodynamicaspectsofmean
ingcomesashiftfromstaticaestheticstodynamicaesthetics.

FIG.3:MUJIJAPANESETABLEWARE/TEASET,MUGBYMASAHIROMORI(2004):THEHANDLESPROVIDEANAFFORDANCEFOR
INDIVIDUALSWITHHANDS.(FREEDOWNLOADFROMHTTP://COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG/WIKI/FILE:2004_MUJIWANOSYOKKI
TEASETMUG_MASAHIROMORI.JPG)

Thebeautyoruglinessofadesignpropositionappearsduringtheinteractionwithit:funandplayfulnessareget
tingmoreandmoreattention(Blythe,Overbeeke,Monk,&Wright,2004).Agoodexampleisthealarmclockde
signedbyStephanWensveen,whichoffersmultipledegreesoffreedomsothattheusercanalsochoosebetween
different interaction styles and can add his/her own aesthetic qualities to the interaction as such (Wensveen &
Overbeeke,2004).

FIG.4:ATEACHERINACTIONDURINGADESIGNCOURSEATIDIINZHEJIANGUNIVERSITYINHANGZHOU,CHINA.(PHOTOFROM
ZHEZIANGHTTP://WWW.IDI.ZJU.EDU.CN/BLOG/2011/11)

Theideaofgivingprioritytoactionalsoappliestothedesignersthemselves.Itissomethinginwhichdesigndif
fers from many other disciplines, where the mainstream development of the past decades was to put more and
moreknowledgeintothelanguageofthecomputer.AsLyotardwrote:
Wecanpredictthatanythingintheconstitutedbodyofknowledgethatisnottranslatableinthiswaywillbeabandonedand
thatthedirectionofnewresearchwillbedictatedbythepossibilityofitseventualresultsbeingtranslatableintocomputerlan
guage(Lyotard,1984).
There is a movement in design which rejects this idea since it would weaken not only the aesthetic and multi
sensorialsensitivityofthedesigners,itwouldalsoweakentheirreadinessforaction.Agoodexampleofthisarises
indesigningforrichinteraction(Frens,2006),wherebothlowfidelityandhighfidelityprototypesaremadetoex
ploretheaestheticqualitiesoftheinteraction.Inparticularthecardboardmodelsarehandmadeandthefactthat
thedesignermakesthem,touchesthemandplayswiththeminhisorherownhandsaddstothedesignersunder
standing of the affordances and the aesthetic qualities. In (Frens, 2006) Frens offers a framework for exploration

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whichcanbeusedtodesignforrichinteraction.ThelateKeesOverbeekeformulatesitveryclearin(Ross,2008)
whenhedescribesthechoiceforthenameofhisgroupDesigningqualityininteractionasfollows:Wethought
forquiteawhileandfinallychosethistitlebecauseofthefocusonaspectssuchasintuitionandthequalityaspects
ofthedesigningitself.Itsabouttheactual,physicalpartofthedesign.Thisputsextrademandsonthestudios
andeducationschoolsanddepartmentswhereInteractiondesignisdone.InaninternaladvisoryreportoftheDe
partmentofIndustrialDesignatTU/e,oneoftherecommendationswas:
Makingforexplorationasksforaccessibility,evenleadingtotheconclusionthatforproductivedesignworktheworkspace
shouldcoincidewiththemakingspace.Itasksforachangeinmindset,asstudentsandstaffshouldrealizethatwearenotde
signinginourmindsatourworkplaceonlytoimplementthoseideasinadifferentlocation.Insteadwearedesigningwithour
handsaswellasourmindsandthatshouldbeinthecomfortofourdesignstudio.(Feijsetal.,2013).
Italsomeansthatteachersshouldnotassumethatclassicallecturingconveystherightattitudeorskills.Webelieve
that the teacher should also show his willingness to use his own hands, engage in actions instead of conveying
wordsonly.InFigure4weseestudentsandteachersinactionduringacourseonIntegratingTechnologyforIntel
ligentProducts,SystemsandServicesattheInternationalDesignInstitute(IDI)inZhezjiangin2011.Ratherthan
justteachingknowledge,theteachersoftheIndustrialDesigndepartmentofTU/efeelitisoftenbettertoconvey
knowledge,skillsandattitudetogether.Thequestionisnotwhethertheteacherisverygoodincardboardmodel
ing;thepointisthathedoescardboardmodeling.

FIG.5:WORKSHOPSONINTERACTIVEPATINAOFCULTUREORGANIZEDBYTU/EDESISLABINTAICAN,JIANGSUPROVINCEIN
NOVEMBER2014.CHINA.(PHOTOFROMJUNHUSFACEBOOKPAGE)

CloselyrelatedaretheworkshopsonInteractivePatinaofCulture(IPoC)organizedbyDESISLabofTechnische
Universiteit Eindhoven (TU/e), such as those IPoC workshops by Jun Hu, Mathias Funk and Yu Zhang done in
Taican,JiangsuProvincein2014and2015.InFigure5animpressionisgivenoftheworkshopin2014.Weseea
combinationofscreenbasedinteractiveart,projectionmappingandscalemodelsofinteractiveobjectsbeingmade
inavarietyofmaterialssuchascardboardandArduino.Foranexcellenttutorialonthebasicsofcardboardmodel
ing,werefertoFrenssite(Frens,2012)andformorebackgroundinformationontheIPoCwereferto(Frensetal.,
2013)and(Hu,Frens,Funk,Wang,&Zhang,2014).Wementiontheseworkshopsbecausetheyshowhowitispos
sibletotranslatethephilosophicalnotionofactionintopractice.Inourview,itisnotonlypossible,butitismanda
tory.Thenotionofactionappearsinseveralwayswhichreinforceeachother:

Theworkshopsarenotaboutconveyingknowledgebutlearninghappensinasettingwhereallparticipants
performallkindsofactionsandlearnbydoing.Developmentisdoneincyclesofactionandreflection.

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Theproducts,systems,orartworksunderconstructionarenotjustdesignedwithmentalandvisualtools,
butalsobyactingoutwiththewholebody,makingscalemodels,experiencingtheprototypes,andsoon.In
this way, the Cartesian separation between mind and bodyis less likely to create an unintended bias. The
bodily knowledge is used in an early phase and in a direct way (not only reading a book about the af
fordancesforthehumanhand,butjustusingonesownhands).

Of course this way of thinking and acting is not easy to accommodate in presentday knowledge institutes (i.e.
mosthighereducationalprograms).Astudiowouldbeeasiertomanageifalldesignersjustneedacomputerand
thedesignworkwouldbeeasiertoevaluateifalldataareintextanddatabaseformats.Butwebelieveitisworth
whiletogiveprioritytoactionintherealworld.
General Conclusions
Howcanwenowutilizeontheseinsightsbasedonphenomenologyandalternativehermeneuticviewincontrast
toCartesianscience?Canwelearnsomethingusefulfordesign?Yes,wecan!Overthelastdecades,Overbeekeand
Hummelshaveadvocatedthefollowingdesignpremises((2010),p.2):
1.Designisaboutourlives,aboutourbeingintheworld.Fundamentaltothisisthesensingoftheworldasaninteractive
activityinwhichexperiencingtheworldisprimarytoanythinking.Therefore,itisnecessarytotakeascientificandaphilo
sophicalstance.Asthebasisforourstance,wehavechosenGibsons(1986)theoryofperceptionandMerleauPontys(2002)
viewonphenomenology.Bothofthemclaimthattheworldisinherentlymeaningfulonasensingorexperientiallevel.Intui
tionandcommonsenseshouldthereforebehighontheagenda.Theyshouldbeexploitedtothemaximum.AsVoltairesaid:Le
senscommunnestpassicommun.Commonsenseisnotsocommon.
2.Reflectioncomessecond:anditisalwaysareflectiononaction.Adesigntheoryconsequentlymustbeatheoryofactionand
theembodiedinthefirstplace,andatheoryofmeaninginthesecond,nottheotherwayround.Reflectiononactionisthe
sourceofknowledge.
3.InteractionDesignnowadaysisaboutinteractionwithintelligence,i.e.,aninteractionwiththeungraspable.Theungraspa
bleandherewearetalkingmainlyabouttheungraspablequalityofmanyinnovationsinelectronicshastobemadegrasp
ableagain.Ourbodiesaremechanical:allinteractionisessentiallymechanical,ortangible.Wehavefewotherwaystointeract
withtheworld.Thereforeembodimentisessential.
4.Beauty,andthusbeautyininteraction,isanexperientialandsocialgiven.Itisnotjustaqualityofanobject.Itistheway
anobjectspeakstous,callsus,affordsus,putsusintocontactwithothers,ismeaningfultous,sharesitsinnerhorizonwith
us.Thusconsidered,beautyemanatesfromourunitywiththeworld.Itisprereflective.
Bytakingthisclearstance,OverbeekeandHummelsexpectedtocombinetherationalwiththeexperiential,torec
oncilethinking(rationality)withfeeling(intuition).Thismightnotbetheonlyapproach(seealso(Varela,1996)),but
theyandwetoobelieveitisonesuccessfulwaytoadvanceInteractionDesigntowardsatrulytransformativelevel,a
levelthatcanleadtousefulandsustainableinnovationsandcanenableandguaranteeourlivesworthliving.
Wetriedtoresolvetheoldproblemofdirectaccesstonatureversusaccessonlythroughaconceptuallayer(repre
sentationallayer,resp.)byprovidingtwomainarguments:(1.)humansaresocialcreaturesandhavetocommuni
catewitheachother;thiscommunicationcanonlybedonethroughaconceptuallayer;(2.)thisconceptuallayeris
ouronlywaytocaptureourenvironment,andthiscanonlybedonethroughafirstpersonperspective.
Themostimportantconsequenceisthatathirdpersonviewdoesnotexist:theGodseyeviewisimpossiblefor
humans!(Bauer,2007)Evenmore,designisanexceptionallysuiteddisciplinetotaketheleadguidingscienceinto
thefuturewheresciencesetspeoplereallyfreebyovercomingestablisheddogmas(Sheldrake,2012),asanygood
sciencedidinthepast(Beauregardetal.,2014).Inanutshell,wecannotjumpoutoftheloopofourthrownness
intothisworld!Thereforewehavetosubscribetoconsciousdesign:beingawareandactingresponsible!
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Weareverygratefultoseveralpeople,whoinfluencedourthinkingthroughourpersonalencounterwiththem(in
alphabetic order): Kees Dorst, Joep Frens, Mathias Funk, Jun Hu, Caroline Hummels, Stefano Marzano, Ryohei

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International Journal of Philosophy Study (IJPS) Volume 3 2015

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Nakatsu,KeesOverbeeke,NaokoTosa,StephanWensveen,andYuZhang.
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PublishingCorporation.
Matthias RAUTERBERG received aB.S.in Psychology (1978) at the University of Marburg (Germany), aB.A.in Philosophy
(1981)andaB.S.inComputerScience(1983),aM.S.inPsychology(1981)andaM.S.inComputerScience(1986)attheUniversi
tyofHamburg(Germany),andaPh.D.inComputerScience/Mathematics(1995)attheUniversityofZurich(Switzerland).
HewasaseniorlecturerforusabilityengineeringincomputerscienceandindustrialengineeringattheSwissFederalInstitute
ofTechnology(ETH)inZurich,wherelaterhewasheadingtheManMachineInteractionresearchgroup(MMI).Since1998he
isfulltimeprofessorforHumanCommunicationTechnologyfirstatIPO,CenterforUserSystemInteractionResearch,andlat
erattheDepartmentofIndustrialDesignattheEindhovenUniversityofTechnology(TU/e,TheNetherlands).From1999till
2001hewasdirectorofIPO.HeisnowtheheadoftheDesignedIntelligenceresearchgroupatthedepartmentofIndustrialDe
signoftheTU/e.
HewastheSwissrepresentativeintheIFIPTC13onHumanComputerInteraction(19942002)andthechairmanoftheIFIP
WG13.1onHCIandEducation(19982004).HeisnowtheDutchrepresentativeintheIFIPTC14onEntertainmentCompu
tingandthefoundingvicechairofthisTC14(since2006).HeiselectedasIFIPTC14chairfortheterm20132015.Hewasalso
thechairoftheIFIPWG14.3onEntertainmentTheory(20042012).HewasappointedasvisitingprofessoratKwanseiGakuin
University(Japan)(20042007).HeisguestprofessorofSchoolofDesignatJiangnanUniversity,Wuxi,China(20122015).He
receivedtheGermanGIHCIAwardforthebestPh.D.in1997andtheSwissTechnologyAwardfortheBUILDITsystemin
1998. In 2007 he got the Silver Core Award from IFIP. In 2004 he was a nominated member of the Cream of Science in the
Netherlands(the200toplevelDutchresearchers)andamongstthe10toplevelTU/escientists.
Hehasover400publicationsininternationaljournals,conferenceproceedings,books,etc.Heactsalsoaseditorandmemberof
theeditorialboardofseveralleadinginternationaljournals.HeiscoeditorinchiefoftheinternationaljournalEntertainment
Computing(Elsevier).
Loe FEIJS studied Electrical Engineering at TU/e where he graduated in 1979 in the group Information and Communication
TheoryofProf.Schalkwijk.Alsoin1979heworkedatCSELTinTurinwherehepublishedwithChiariglioneontwocomponent
videocompressiontechniques(thisisthegroupwhoinventedtheMPEGvideocodingnowinbillionsofTVs,DVDplayersand

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smartphones).AftertheobligatoryDutchmilitaryserviceshejoinedPhilipsTelecommunicationsIndustry,laterAT&TPhilips
TelecomintheTSS16groupdevelopinganewembeddedcomputerandoperatingsystemfordigitaltelephoneexchanges.In
1984 Feijs joined the Philips Natuurkundig Laboratorium (Philips Research Laboratories) where he studied computer science
andwroteathesisonFormalizedDesignMethodsusinglambdacalculus.In1990heobtainedaPh.D.inComputerScienceof
TU/eforthiswork,supervisedbyProf.KrusemanAretzandProf.Bergstra.
WorkingatPhilipsheconductedmanycasestudiesinformalmethodsinavarietyofPhilipsIndustrygroupssuchasIndustrial
Automation,ConsumerElectronics,Components,andMedicalSystems.In1994FeijswasappointedparttimeprofessoratTU/e
MathematicsandComputerScience(chairIndustrialDesignofFormalMethods),workinginthegroupofProf.Baeten,con
tributingtotheformalizationoftheMessageSequenceChartlanguageandsoftwaretesting.HecofoundedtheNationaleTest
dag(whichissuccessfulalreadyfor17years).
From1998to2001hewasscientificdirectoroftheEindhovenEmbeddedSystemsInstituteandin2001hewasappointedfull
professorforthechairIndustrialDesignofEmbeddedSystems.From2001to2006hewasVicedeanofthenewlyfoundedde
partmentofIndustrialDesignwiththetasktobuilduptheresearchprogram.Havingdonethissuccessfully,heturnedhisat
tention to Industrial Design teaching and research including new disciplinary areas such as Product Semantics and Creative
ProgrammingandnewapplicationssuchasBiofeedbackandNeonatology.

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