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A concept like form follows function is a design philosophy that covers several fields. What is the most appropriate forum to ask design philosophy questions if not in the Philosophy SE?

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Since design "philosophy" seems to be rather about design principles than philosophy proper, a suitable place may be GraphicDesign.SE.

Even if the phrasing of your question does not indicate that for me, personally, it may also be that you are able to phrase a question that asks specifically about how genuinely philosophical principles may or have influence(d) art in general and/or painting/design/architecture in particular, ie. whether and how philosophy can or has influenced design. Then, the "design philosophy" in the sense of "design principles" would be derived from philosophical work and the question would be suitable for this site.

I do know that there had been attempts of applying philosophy to art (e.g. Adorno in music), you just need to be careful not to confuse some diffuse Zeitgeist movement taking effect in art with a direct and explicit application of philosophical principles in art (or design).

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  • Thanks for your answer. I realize that each discipline will have its own design philosophy. For example the philosophy of science includes the philosophy behind experimental design and engineering has various design philosophies. Is there no overall design philosophy or is it completely specialized?
    – user64314
    Apr 14, 2023 at 14:28
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Im a little embarrassed. After further searching I found that there is a cross-disciplinary philosopy of design. It's amazing the different responses the search "design philosophy" provides as opposed to "philosophy of design"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_design

Is it possible to add a philosophy of design tag?

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    Yep. just type "philosophy-of-design" and begin using. If someone removes it (as has happened to me in the "philosophy-of-computer-science", just ask the question "If this professional philosopher X has written this SEP article Y or this Oxford Press book Philosophy-of Z, why is it not philosophy?" You won't get an intelligent response because obviously it's a tough counterargument to deny that professional philosophers who have journals and books aren't doing philosophy. (Though curiously some approach the definition of philosophy prescriptively.)
    – J D
    Apr 17, 2023 at 18:17
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What's up, MC Hammer!

The answer should be a resounding yes. There are number of books written by philosophers on the topic: https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&q=philosophy+of+design

I have read only Parson's book, but the questions he raises there are certainly ontological and epistemological in character, and he does a great job of presenting alternatives, and then selecting the best option before moving forward. He takes a look at the teleological nature of design, assesses the role of Modernism as a movement in shaping answers to the philosophical questions about design within the historical context of the transition from craftsmanship to the industrial design, and his last chapter is devoted entirely to ethics. I came to the work by Raymond Turner's book on the philosophy of computer science, and it was enlightening and dovetailed nicely with building a view on the details of physical computation. Given your interest in computers and intelligence, it's worth a read.

I usually don't participate on this side of PhilSE, but if you're going to craft a question about the philosophy of design, you might bump up against the it's-not-Aristotle impulses of those who tend to simplistically see philosophy as a list of topics rather than a methodology. I've seen arguments and votes for closure on topics like philosophy of computer science, philosophy of sexuality, and mind-boggingly philosophy of law because in many contributor's heads, computers, sex, and law having nothing to do with classical logic, the Western Canon, and lack the famous names that lend an imprimatur of legitimacy that some minds used to determine whether or something is philosophy.

In such a case, when you write your question, emphasize the ontological and epistemological nature of the material. For instance, cite passages where the philosopher explicitly recognizes the philosophical nature of his questions:

Our definition raises some intriguing questions about the nature of design. One has to do with the product of the design process: just what sort of thing is that designers produce? This is what philosophers call an ontological question.

If you can relate your question to the very material that conducts itself in accordance with the language of philosophical discourse, it makes it clear to show that your question is philosophical and not technical. In addition, make sure that your question is actually philosophical and not technical. Ask yourself, how does this relate to metaphysical, ontological, ethical, or epistemological theory? Later in Parson's section "1.2 Ontological Issues" for instance, he discusses type-token theory, so is your question a type-token question merely in the language of design, or are you talking about the technical details of design?

You do this, and you've got 80% of Pareto's 80-20 satisfied! And if those who suffer from a lack of knowledge about their lack of knowledge push back, we can always respond.

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  • And if you get closed, because a cabal of non-professional philosophers who believe their metaphilosophical theory is the only theory (because, you know they're obviously solipsists), hit me up. I embrace a broad reading of admissible inquiry and adhere to a pluralist metaphilosophical theory on philosophy. You get a question reopened! You get a question reopened! You get a question reopened!
    – J D
    Apr 17, 2023 at 18:20
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    Thanks for the good advice and info. Can't touch this. 😉
    – user64314
    Apr 18, 2023 at 14:52

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