This paper reports on a research project that has been running at the Eindhoven University of
Technology. First at the department of Philosophy (within the Faculty of Management and
Innovation Sciences) and later at the Designed Intelligence research group at the Faculty of
Industrial Design. The paper will set out, briefly, by discussing the original starting points of the
project (section 2), and it will go on to describe the core steps in the intellectual journey that the
project has turned into.
The subject of study was the structure of design problems, and the philosophical notion
of ‘underdetermination’ has taken as a possible fruitful concept to make some inroads into this
huge and uncharted territory. The project was, naturally, started with the studying of relevant
literature and the making of an inventory of our knowledge on design problems (as ill-structured
problems, as underdetermined problems) and of the way in which the design methodology has
dealt with design problems, in the broader context, of the modeling of design processes (section
3). This has not turned out to be a very fruitful approach to the issue of design problems.
Therefore, an interest was developed in some other theories on how designers deal with their
problems, specifically focusing on describing design problems as situated problems (section 4).
The inherent subjectivity of design situations has lead to a study in how we could capture
and describe the way a designer builds up a view of the situation, and responds to this situation.
A fairly coarse, but interesting approach to characterizing and describing the way designers build-
up a view on a design situation was found in the work of Dreyfus, where he models the levels of
expertise in which a designer operates (section 5). In the last section we will summarize our
conclusions on the study of design problems, reflecting on the role that philosophical
investigations can play in Design Methodology, and sketch proposals for further research into
design problems and design expertise (section 6).
|conference; Design research in the Netherlands 2005 symposium, 19-20 May 2005, Eindhoven
|19/05/05 → 20/05/05
|symposium held on 19-20 May 2005, Eindhoven University of Technology