The design analogy : a model for moral problem solving

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In this paper we explore an analogy between design and ethics, first drawn by Whitbeck. We investigate her claim that such an analogy can help to understand moral problems and aid us in dealing with them by suggesting strategies for addressing moral problems. We explore the nature of analogies, and extract criteria for what constitutes a ‘good’ analogy. We use some of the established knowledge about design and design reasoning to consider critically and to extend Whitbeck's design analogy. We establish the practical merits of the design analogy in a thought experiment, solving a moral problem in a manner that is closely modelled on a design method. Our conclusions include suggestions for further research and a fledgling vision of the future role of design methodology. We propose that the design analogy could be fruitful in shedding light on problem solving in various areas of human endeavour not traditionally associated with design. Keywords: design process; problem solving; ethics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-656
Number of pages24
JournalDesign Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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