The strengths/limits of systems thinking denote the strengths/limits of practice-based design research

Format: Papers, RSD2, Topic: Cases & Practice

Wolfgang Jonas

“There is no purer myth than the notion of a science which has been purged of all myth.” Michel Serres

If we focus on Practice-Based Design Research (PBDR) in its various forms and terminologies one can consider design research as a process of “generating the unknown from the known” or of “organizing the transition from knowns to unknowns” (Hatchuel). It is thereby confronted with the fundamental problems of control (non-reducible complexity), of prediction (not-knowing of evolutionary emerging futures) and of incompatible domains of knowing. The problems show up in causal gaps between bodily, psychic and communicative systems and between the phases of evolutionary development. PBDR explores the possibilities of bridging these gaps in the medium of design projects and thereby creates new knowledge. This is necessarily done with scientific support, but in a situated, “designerly” mode, which means that the designer is part of the design/­inquiring system. This is the epistemological characteristic. We argue for the strong coupling of PBDR and advanced systems thinking to face the problems mentioned above.

Presentation & paper

Citation Data

Author(s): OCTOBER 2013
Title: The strengths/limits of systems thinking denote the strengths/limits of practice-based design research
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Article No.:
Symposium Dates:
First published: 15 September 2013
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Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (ISSN 2371-8404) are published annually by the Systemic Design Association, a non-profit scholarly association leading the research and practice of design for complex systems: 3803 Tønsberg, Norway (922 275 696).


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