• What philosophy is
  • What designers do: empathy (as opposed to art which is sympathetic) creation of useful, usable and desirable things
  • Practical use of philosophy for design
  • Truth as reality interface (a useful, usable and desirable philosophy.)
  • Anatomy of this book: ontology, epistemology, ethic.


  • Ontology = inquiring into being = asking “in what sense is this real?”
  • Being encompasses more than physical entities
  • Many kinds of being exist: objects, time, perspectives, imagination
  • Designer’s ontology: the more ways one sees in what sense entities can exist the more space a designer has to work
  • Order bounded by chaos
  • Chaos is superabundance of orders
  • Order filters chaos
  • Practical consequence of chaos: surprise
  • Knowing chaos means openness to surprise: nonsense might be not-yet-seeing-the-sense
  • Perpetual possibility of “otherwise”, esp. when otherwise seems impossible
  • Horizon and the otherwise — horizon always feels complete and excludes the otherwise
  • Pluralism: coexistence of ontologies united in possibilities of otherwise — possibilities which can (and ought) to be sought and actualized (“fusion of horizons”)
  • An ontological framework: a simple way to conceive multiplicity of being (metaphysical manifold)


  • Epistemology = inquiring into knowledge = asking “how do we know?”
  • Knowing is filtering (determining relevance) and relating
  • Knowing is both explicit and tacit
  • An epistemological framework: a simple way to conceive multiplicity of knowing (venn – name?)
  • Tacit know-how: skilled wordless interaction with concrete realities
  • Tacit morality: sensing value
  • Perspective and pluralism
  • Pluralism vs reductionism
  • Perspective and inspiration: the upside of pluralism
  • Knowing is social: “How do we know?” more than “How do I know?”
  • Self as a society
  • Knowledge shows realities: aletheia
  • Synesis: seeing realities as together with others together
  • Positivity and negativity: facts and questions
  • Knowing a subject vs knowing an object
  • Participatory knowing versus objective knowing
  • Hermeneutic holism: knowing wholes and parts
  • Social hermeneutics
  • Social creativity
  • A methodological framework: a simple way to approach social creativity (the outspiral)


  • An ethics sustains an ethos (lifeworld)
  • Designer’s ethos: Maximum diversity within unity, mediated by things
  • Designer’s ethic: Commit to learning from others in order to design to them and provide them a place in the world
  • Designers outfit an ethos with things that support it — not preserve or conserve, but allow it to live and develop like a living thing
  • Enworldment: creating myriad ways to exist in the world with things and people
  • Virtue ethics
  • Virtue of receptivity: otherwise awareness
  • Learning a subject requires unlearning — unlearning is the hard part.
  • Learning involves letting go of what one already knows in order to know better
  • Unlearning is an anxious activity: immersing in perplexity
  • Virtue of sacrifice: willingness to suffer to understand another person
  • No method to emerge from perplexity
  • No way to predict the outcome
  • Virtue of fortitude: acceptance of the pain of learning
  • Inspiration as expansion of horizon: sudden acquisition of new way to see
  • Inspiration brought about by learning from others, suffering anxiety, accepting perplexity, emerging with new perspective
  • Virtue of reason: the obligation to demonstrate, persuade
  • Virtue of constancy
  • Virtue of honor – agreements

Thought scraps

  • Empathy vs sympathy
  • The way philosophy is read… hermeneutically: not step-by-step explanation
  • Blindness vs darkness

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