Dept. of Informatics
Kristo Ivanov,
(version 020507-1630)

Documentation for research seminars starting October 10th and November 14th 2001



This seminar, and a possible follow-up seminar later on, takes advantage of the opportunity afforded by Erik Stolterman's request for comments to his and Harold Nelson's manuscript of a book on "Creating a design culture" (draft version ofJuly 2001:v2), in order to highlight some political ethical problems that are implicit in certain design-conceptions.

A background and basis for my comments and problematizations will be my own papers on some cores ideas of later years' emphasis on design, that I recently summarized in

(reprints available in the stands in front of our lunch room)

on the basis of the following earlier partial essays (especially items 6.12 and 7, but also 5.7, 6.2, 6.4, 6.9, 6.12, and 8.4.13 on eclecticism).

Selected pieces of text from the manuscript will be related to dialectical systems theory as exemplified in or

by the keywords "design-designer", "change", "teleology-purposes", "implementation", "action", "ethics", "guarantor", "politics-power", "romanticism", and "aesthetics", in my extended word-index to West Churchman's book "The design of inquiring system".

The participants to the seminar, especially those who are following the ongoing course on "Creating a design culture" which is based on the manuscript are encouraged to complete its reading prior to the seminar. It is recommended that everyone has the manuscript available during the seminar: see Erik's invitation to furnish copies, in his collective e-mail the the department's alias on September 6th. The seminar will he held preferably without overheads but, rather, with verbal references and readings from selected pages of the manuscript which, then, are necessary for following the argument. Please note the authors's wish that the draft not be quoted outside our department.


  1. Despite decreasing dialogue with increasing department. Cf. also the concept of "university", and the example of being able to dialogue with even other local departments and disciplines, dept. of religious studies, seminar 9 Oct 2001 on "radical orthodoxy" and "cultural hermeneutics/cultural critique" or how do we interpret cultures, and the relationship betweent the interpretation, production and transformation of cultures
  2. Own attempts to system and democratic participation: dialectic service to each other instead of only seeking external alliances. Cf. design of "whole"
  3. Not expected that this is others' responsibility: but motivated by the risk of students' "overload" that inhibits their possible critical attitude, and by tendencies to redefine informatics as a "design discipline"
  4. Design Culture as skillful self-contained "whole" and reminder of foreign neglected fragments of neo-romantic and neo-mystical thought (cf. Bergson, in Garzanti Enciclopedia di Filosofia and Encyclopedia of Philosophy) .

  5. Examples?
  6. International? (Dubuisson-Hennion, Maldonado, Buchanan, Coyne)
  7. Philosophical? (Kant->Fichte&Schelling, & Bergson&Larsson neoromanticism & neomysticism of Nietzsche-Heidegger & Merleau Ponty, vs. indirect Aristotle & Kant through Nussbaum-Dunne & Makkreel, Jung through Hillman vs. J.J. Clarke 1992). Cf. Ehn's Marx+Wittgenstein+Heidegger or Dahlbom's Weber+Latour vs. modernity
  8. Historical (Fidias, Vitruvius, Vinci, Morris & Ruskin, Bauhaus, etc.)?
  9. Eclecticism (vs. pragmatism), and therefore: Ethical? (Why necessary, or useful, or good, if not "true-right")
  10. What follows: Page numbers with edited excerpts related to design ethics and politics, out of the manuscript Creating a Design Culture, or other specified works. Connections with dialectical systems approach will be drawn during the seminar (references in seminar call, above)

2. SUBJECT-TITLE "Creating a Design Culture"

  1. Does it matter? (Essence & being)
  2. Create=Design? Does it matter what is designed, another design, a process vs object, a culture, or a system?
  3. What is design? A compound form of inquiry composed of the true, the ideal and the real (p.27). It is basically "caused" by a service relationship (35). Design is understood to be primarily about making something concrete, or planning for something, or making something aesthetically pleasing, but there is much more to design today: one of the key distinction is that design decisions are made as design judgments made within the context of the adequate rather than the comprehensive, leading to the creation of something which has not existed before (88). Design is not only about creating something new: it is about creating a whole by adding something new to something already in existence (107). Design is about creating aspects of the real word (112). Design needs to be understood as a whole process that extends through the entire time that design is in use [life cycle?]; sometimes is goes even beyond that, and the concept of evolving design as a never-ending design process is growing in popularity (156). Design is paradoxical: it is not-attachments and total engagement, flux and permanence, knowing and naiveté, experience and fresh eyes, collaboration and solitude, process and structure, cyclic and episodic, control and uncontrollable, unique and universal, infinite and finite, timeless and temporal, splendor and evil (175). [And form and content?]
  4. What is (ought to be?) a culture? Cf. Webster's, The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Dictionary of the History of Ideas. Cf. environment vs. context. The question of cultural relativism and innovation vs. tradition (cf. reference to the tradition of design in the context of creating a design culture)

3. PAGES 39, 41, 122, 147, 156, 167, 193, 204

  1. The core relationship in the design process is designer-client
  2. In a service relationship the designer is responsible to more than the client assuming accountability for others who will be affected, including stakeholders, stockholders, decision makers, producers or makers, end users, customers, surrogate clients, future generations and natural environment
  3. Common meaning among designers, clients, decision makers, stakeholders, surrogate clients, and others with logical or moral connections
  4. Design dialogue and diathenic graphologue is done through an iterative process including clients and other stakeholders
  5. Evolving design changes the basic relationships between the designer, clients, and end users
  6. A designer can always argue that he or she is only trying to make someone else satisfied. It can be a client, customer, stakeholder, or a user
  7. There is symmetry between the carefulness needed from the designer and the user
  8. To be a good designer also means to be a good leader

4. PAGE 61

  1. A real world event projected onto three different frames-of-reference can reveal dramatically different understandings, values and meaning, yet remains a coherent singular event in the world. It may be seen as vice from a social point of view, or as a virtue in the business world, while treated with indifference in the political arena. Complex ideas or beliefs are perceived as paradoxes when images from two different frames-of-reference of the same complex thing are viewed together. Understanding emerges from a unification of difference, a composition, the shape of something more complexly comprehensive, rather than from dominance of one image over another or resolution by compromise or trade-off.

5. PAGES 90-91

  1. To critique different types of designs from the perspective of wholes, or to make an evaluation of all kinds of wholes there are three types of frames of reference (with their respective evaluations attributes): real (adequate, significant, essential), true (efficient, aesthetic, ethical), and ideal (true, beautiful, good). Designed wholes are created by intention to evoke emergent forms and behaviors that embody the essence of that which really counts in defining and developing human potential more fully.
  2. The adequate can be understood as being discerned by judgments of composition among "purposeful differences", like between justice and mercy, or creativity and control. Compositional judgments do not result in reconciliation, resolution, or trade-off, but in an adequate composite.
  3. The essential value of each difference is enhanced and enriched by being brought into a particular compositional relationship that adequately facilitates the desired end or outcome of an emergent design. The attribute of a designed whole dealing with the essential refers to discernment and inclusion of anything that is judged to be an intentional necessity in fulfilling authentic human needs and desires, desiderata at both the level of the particular and collective.
  4. The significant, as an attribute of the designed whole deals with meaning making.

6. PAGE 95

  1. We use the concept of desiderata (desires) as an inclusive whole -- including all three approaches: aesthetics, ethics and reason but transcending their aggregate effect in the form of an emergent quality characteristic of compositions or wholes, or the world as an integrative outcome of all three approaches in concert. Is the escape route from the strategies of change which box us into analysis paralysis (description and explanation of what IS), value paralysis of blind action (ethics and morality of what OUGHT-TO-BE) or slavish mimicry.
  2. Cf. pp. 132-135

7. PAGES 96-98

  1. Needs assessment is assumed to be the necessary first step to a design activity meant to bring change to a social institution. Focusing on needs, however, has allowed motivation triggered by what we desire or how we know our desires to remain undeveloped -- the desiderata. Human intention, when motivated from desiderata rather than need, reshapes the entire process for intentional change. Desiderata can be expressed through many domains: the mind's desire, the heart's desire, and the soul's desire.
  2. Desiderata are not a response to the problem of an unfilfilled basic human need. The negative impulse towards action which arises out of such a felt need is completely different from the positive impulse born out of the desire to create situations, systems of organization or concrete artifacts which enable our becoming more fully developed in all our promise as human beings.
  3. As humans we have to use our desires as a way to understand how we can fulfill our lives. But desires are not all good. When we reflect upon them and examine them we will find that we have to deal with both good as well as bad desires. In this process we have to accept both types. We have to discipline the negative desires and live with the positive. To recognize and differentiate positive from negative desires is one of our lifelong tasks as humans, the process of "befriending our desires".

8. PAGE 101

  1. Intention is not a vision but the aiming and [sic, at?] the emergence of a desired outcome. Starting in a situation ("ready") desiderata helps to aim, to form the intention. The outcome is not there when the process begins. The outcome emerges based on the situation, desiderata and intention. This process is very different from many common understandings where action is seen as a consequence of a defined goal. The goal is not there to define action. In any intentional process we know that we easily can produce many "goal" situations that would be closer to our desires than the present. But intention is not only about where to go but also about how to go there. [cf. means-ends]
  2. Within the tradition of Zen a deep understanding of intention as a process of aiming has been developed, referring to careful attention, and by letting go of many of our everyday assumptions on how to reach our goals in the most efficient way.

9. PAGE 104

  1. Alignment is composed of appreciation and desiderata that together with the designer's and client's intentions leads to the "tremendous mystery" of a parti (a compelling organizing template guiding the designer in the succeeding design steps), composed of telos (purpose-ends) and soul (image-vision). Alignment is a synthesis of both group process and team dynamics. The condition of alignment integrates the intentional behavior of the individual actors.

10. PAGE 117

  1. Design communication:
  2. Both solitude and collaboration
  3. Nonlinear dynamic process
  4. Systemic relationships among individuals engaged in design
  5. Different roles and skills, perspectives and authority
  6. Trust and common intent, common understanding, collective action
  7. Both intrapersonally and interpersonally
  8. Dialogue and visual literacy
  9. Common understanding, common meaning
  10. Helping to form shared understandings
  11. Conversation , dialogue and diathenic graphologue

11. PAGE 123, 126, 159-160 [cf. Aristotle below]

  1. Judgment if a key dimension in the process of design, and the ability to make good judgments distinguishes good design, making designers valuable to society, and making designers and leaders one and the same. Judgment is the heart of wisdom in all its manifestations. Judgment is the means and wisdom is the outcome. Judgment is knowing based on knowledge that is inseparable from the knower, generated in the particularity of a situation, and revealed through the actions of the knower. Skills and competencies, whish are forms of judgment can be practiced and mastered in support of future actions taken from judgments in particular situations but should not be confused as knowledge for judgment itself. There is in judgment knowledge a connection to what has traditionally been considered wisdom.
  2. The value of judgment is that it allows indiduals to overcome analysis and value paralysis, and engage with the messy complexityof life in a way that, when done well, can bring function, beauty, and meaning to human existence.
  3. In each and every moment of the design process there are two dimensions that have to be dealt with. (1) The techne dimension of how to do things right, where the designer needs certains skills to see logical relationships, especially the relationship between cause and action, (2) the phronesis dimension about doing the right things, where the designer needs the ability to make design judgments, requiring preparedness to take action, a well developed intuition, a perceptive sense of wholeness, and an ethical and aesthetic appreciation of the design situation. Which dimension to focus on is a question of balance and symmetry, not of right or wrong or of dominance or equality. Symmetry is an aesthetic concept and is more in line with Wittgenstein's sense of "fit" in a situation.

12. PAGES 132-135

  1. An appreciative judgment is about something that is preferred because it is "liked" as a personal preference and "looks" attractive or "feels preferable" due to a sense of familiarity, comfort or membership in a larger context of similar actions or things. It is grounded in a sense of certainty that comes from a strong sense of self-assurance coming from membership or leadership in a collective which exhibits desirable qualities by consensus.
  2. Navigational judgments are based on the ends to be found in the moment, survival, to gain advantage in the moment, including the contribution to a larger social good that is not predetermined and accessible in the moment.
  3. Framing judgement is at the heart of the deliberation in determining the adequate. Despite the anxiety of not having enough information and knowledge, still, as a designer, you have to act, ignoring
  4. Compositional judgements includes aesthetic, ethical and rational considerations calling forth a compositional whole which displays qualities and attributes particular to the unique character of the ultimate particular that serves the design intention most adequately. The compositional whole is formed with the aid of the guiding domains of aesthetics, ethics, and reason but not in the mode of analysis. Unlike the famous example of blind men describing an elephant there is not yet elephant.
  5. Cf. p. 95

13. PAGE 153

  1. Compositions can be considered to be efficient, effective, good, just, frightening, evil, beautiful or sublime. The ultimate evaluation is prophesized by the designers and verified by the real world. The real value of a composition is determined by its success in meeting the desires of the client and the intentions of the designers. Its intrinsic worth is determined even more by the unexpected presence the design exhibits on its own as it becomes an agent of influence and change [improvement?] in its own right -- thus recreating its creators.

14. PAGES 156-158

  1. The production process is cared for by people with complex and contradictory demands, needs, wants. There is no way of escaping these tensions and design thrives on them.
  2. One way to deal with these tensions is portrayed with the concept of "flow", or the feeling we get when we perform a task in a way that removes us from conscious deliberation with all uncertainties and anxieties about doing "the right thing" in "the right way". When in flow we do not think about what we are doing, we just participate in it. We let go of our planning and calculating mind, and still are in perfect control but also free to do whatever we desire, to "feel the force".

15. PAGES 171-172

  1. But there is no guarantor of design "out there
  2. There are no givens in the design process
  3. Restricted only by our present reality and our imagination
  4. We can find a guarantor of design only in the development of our design character
  5. Designer's judgment must depend heavily on core values
  6. The designer has to believe in the capacity of make good judgments
  7. We consider the designer as a self-reflective individual with a fully developing character
  8. How to reduce the worries about how to make good design decisions that in turn lead to avoidance of responsibility?
  9. Teach designers how to argue, rigorously and critically, so that they can call their minds their own - the only way to not be uncritical moral relativists

16. PAGES 173-174

  1. To base our design actions and judgments on our own core character we must constantly examine our practice and our thoughts, to develop our own design character
  2. To to this self-examination we need intellectual tools, i.e. concepts and ideas, that can help us analyse ourselves as designers, and a serious dialogue on design responsibility

17. PAGE 180-181

  1. How is it possible to become a [good?] designer and accept design when evil is intimate to the whole enterprise? A good next step is to accept the nature of design and prepare accordingly. This includes accepting the uncertain, contradictory, dangerous and yet promising challenges of design: no right answers, no givens, service to others, both/and/neither...
  2. The splendor of design outreaches the grasp of the potential and actual consequences of evil in design.

18. PAGES 183, 197-198

  1. It seems as if functionality, efficiency, smartness, usefulness or whatever measurements we can come up with cannot fully capture the way people relate to a design. The way a design is valued and judged must instead be understood as a result of the experience evoked by the design and by an aesthetical judgment of the whole. It has to do with composition, with balance and relation between all possible aspects of a design.
  2. This is not about superficial aestheticism. The meaning and value of a design is a feeling of complexity and of being moved -- and as a consequence a feeling of being changed. When we face the soul of a design, our basic assumptions and our worldview are challenged. It may not be much, but something profound happens to us.
  3. Page 197: The seminal quality for assurance of excellence in design is the presence of design character. This is because the different aspects of design contribute to an understanding of design only when the core values of design reside in the designer's character...The question is how to develop the core in order to become a good designer capable of doing good design (two different challenges).

19. PAGES 185-187

  1. When we are shown how different parts and components are interrelated, how structure, form, material, structure, smell, taste, etc. fit the overall theme and purpose of the thing we are supposed to evaluate, we are learning to see and appreciate the intrinsic value of the thing itself. Value is defined not dependent of context of a larger system.
  2. As humans we do not only evaluate a design based on its intrinsic value. It is more often the opposite. We often take a much more intentional or purpose oriented approach in the process of evaluating designs. We want them not only to have value but also to be meaningful. A thing has meaning when we can see how this thing is connected to something else that we value.
  3. This may lead to an infinite regress since we can always ask what is the meaning of each new thing or "level" we connect to. There are two ways to stop this regress: one is religion with leads to a "thing" where we are not allowed to ask what meaning is ("what is the meaning of God?"), and the other what is to connect to something that has intrinsic value and does not have to have meaning.
  4. This examination of the intricate relationship of value and meaning shows the difficulty and complexity of evaluating designs. The relationship also presupposes a static reality, while our perception of the reality and our knowledge constantly changes, and thereby changes our preconditions for evaluating the design. The soul of a design is something emerging when the value and meaning of a design is in resonance with the particular situation.

20. PAGES 189-190

  1. To decide if a composition is successful is difficult. A design with a strong composition but situated in a context for which it is not designed or in a context that has radically changed over time, can obstruct change. But if the design is situated in a suitable context [=what we do not want to change], it may create stability in the midst of a complext and changing environment [=what we cannot change]...It is always a matter of the ultimate particular.
  2. One aspect of ensoulment, sometimes used as a measure of quality, is timelessness, that a design is not only appreciated at a specific time and place but also valued over time and by people from different times and places.
  3. How is this possible if we have defined the soul of a design as the resonance between is value and meaning in the specific situation? One answer could be that the soul in a timeless design is not timeless because it resonates with a specific situation, but, rather, because it resonates with something larger, something more "eternal".

21. PAGE 204

  1. A leader is always a designer, since the leader's role is to lead people into a new reality. This is true even (sic) when a designer acts in service of a client. The designer still has the obligation to open up new ideas, new realities, based on the desiderata of the client. And since there is no guarantor of design except the character of the designer, there is now way to escape the role of also being a leader.
  2. To be a designer is to take on the role of all that is expected by a designer. But it is not a passive acceptance of something predefined. There is no true role for design - there are no fixed meanings of what constitutes a good designer, with his unique talent, calling and character.

22. PAGE 207

  1. The emergence of a design culture implies the recognition of a new form of democracy, based on designerly relationships of service [cf. administration vs. politics]. Another implication is that of inclusiveness which embraces diversity, complexity, and contradiction. The design tradition [vs. culture that is being created?] is inclusive of other traditions of inquiry and action. In design there is no "science war" or "war of cultures". Design deals with the real, which by definition includes all possible aspects of reality.
  2. The [design] competence to create the world that people experience and that becomes the very fabric of what they believe to be reality is beyond full cmprehension.

23. From Matti, G. (2000). Det intuitiva livet: Hans Larssons vision om enhet i en splittrad tid. Uppsala: Gidlunds Förlag. Summary in English. Pages 243-245:

  1. This study deals with the Swedish philosopher Hans Larsson (1862-1944) who was also known as a writer, educator and cultural figure. The study shows how Larsson's doctrine of intuition manifested an alternative understanding of rationality in relation to the dominant view of the period. His debut as an author, Intuition (1892), constituted a critique of the age which, in polemics with the positivist and naturalist viewpoints, argued for a rehabilitation of the importance of feeling and intuition in art, science and philosophy.
  2. Larsson understood intuition as a synthesis of a multiplicity of representations into an apprenhension of the whole. At the time, Intuition was generally seen as an expression of the neo-romantic spirit of the age. There was an existential dimension to his description of how intuition leads to self-understanding as well as a better understanding of the reality around us, that is, to self-realization.
  3. Larsson described the process of moving from disunity and divisions to unity and wholeness. This description is said to hold for all dimensions and levels, that is, for the individual, the collective and for the culture as a whole. This process leads to spiritual health and it constitutes an ideal for art, science, pedagogics and everyday life. "Intuitive culture" is the image of the ideal society.
  4. His view of rationality was rather special. The intuitive manner of proceeding, in his view, is often an apparently illogical procedure which in actuality manifests the highest form of "logic" or rationality, that is, the organic intuitive "precise logic". It was contrasted with the positivist "coarse logic" of, and overconfidence in analytic discursive thinking with its blind faith in natural science. The new century, however, brought with it anti-intellectual and irrationalist cultural currents, as tendecies in Henri Bergson's philosophy, that were becoming stronger. Larsson considered them dangerous, being afraid that the "intuitive movement" might be derailed, and came to emphasize the logical and rational features of his theory of intuition. His attitude toward the concept of intuition changed through the years.

24. From Matti, G. (2000). Det intuitiva livet: Hans Larssons vision om enhet i en splittrad tid. Uppsala: Gidlunds Förlag. In Swedish:

  1. Page 98
    Kant -- liksom hans efterföljare inom den tyska transcendentalfilosofin, framför allt Fichte -- blev en av Larssons främsta filosofiska influenser.
  2. Page 121
    På ålderdomens höst avslöjar Larsson i ett opublicerat manuskript att hans primära syfte i intuitionsfrågan har varit att utarbeta "en metod att arbeta på livets alla områden".
  3. Page 159
    År 1908 skrev Larsson i uppsatsen "Det intuitiva omdömets pålitlighet": "Den intuition som är rädd för klarheten är en gottköpsintuition, och med sådan drives mycket ofog i våra dagar."
  4. Page 161-163
    Det finns motsatta linjer i Larssons intuitionsfilosofi; den handlings- och viljeinriktade livsfilosofiska linjen, och den rationella "finlogiska" linjen. För Larsson själv fanns här ingen motsägelse, men att vid tiden kring första världskriget då handling, vilja och "liv" so ofta ställdes i skarp kontrast till den "handlingsdödande reflexionen" [cf. paralysis] försöka hålla ihop dessa båda tendenser i en syntes hade uppenbarligen sina problem. I sin sista skrift Postscriptum (1944) uppmärksammar Larsson den urspårade avart av den "intuitiva rörelsen" som den nazistiska "filosofin" eller världsåskådningen innebar: "[d]en intuition som åberopar sig på någon sorts omedelbar visshet, för vilken man inte är skyldig ge skäl, inbjuder till allsköns godtycke. För min del ville jag legitimera intuitionen och på samma gång avböja intuitionsofoget -- som i våra dagar blivit ganska världsfarligt." Larsson var alltså att den intuitiva rörelsen "än en gång" skulle urarta; det var den "nya romantiken" han hade i åtanke. Den intuitiva rörelsen under romantiken hade förfallit till "konturlös åskådning" dekadent "stämningsdyrkan", och politiskt sett i reaktionärt bakåtsträvande. Den hade fördjupat livsfrågorna men fört med sig svammel, gottköpsoriginalitet och reaktion.
  5. Page 174
    John Landquist menar att Larsson inte dragit de naturliga konsekvenserna av sina analyser eftersom "de skulle leda direkt in i metafysiken och spränga den agnostiska begränsningen". Intuitionen måste ha en metafysisk förankring. I sitt kanske mest betydande arbete, Människokunskap från 1920, utvecklar Landquist sin egen, av Bergson inspirerade, intuitionslära. Han fogar till skillnad mot Larsson intuitionen i ett historiefilosofiskt sammanhang.
  6. Page 188
    Formen är ena sidan av innehållet och vice versa, relationen mellan kvantitet och kvalitet är likadan. Samstämmighetskravet är därmed identiskt med "kravet på förnuft". Denna föreställning är förenad med teleologisk uppfattning i Hegelsk anda. Spencer och Hegel hade enligt Larsson båda med sina egna ord formulerat en allomfattande utvecklingsformel och det är ingen tillfällighet att Larsson avslutar "Reflexioner för dagen" med att också anknyta till Hegel.

25. From Heidegger, M. (1968). What is called thinking? New York: Harper & Row. (Trans. by J. Glenn Gray. Orig. Was Heisst Denken? Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1954):

  1. (Page 71) A dialogue of Plato -- the Phaedrus, for example, the conversation on Beauty -- can be interpreted in totally different spheres and respects, according to totally different implications and problematics. This multiplicity of possible interpretations does not discredit the strictness and the thought content. For all true thought remains open to more than one interpretation -- and this by reason of its nature. Nor is this multiplicity of possible interpretations merely the residue of a still unachieved formal-logic univocity which we properly ought to strive but did not attain. Rather, multiplicity of meanings is the element in which all thought must move in order to be strict thought. To use an image: to a fish, the depths and expanses of its waters, the currents and quiet pools, warm and cold layers are the element of its multiple mobility. If the fish is deprived of the fullness of its element, if it is dragged on the dry sand, then it can only wriggle, twitch, and die. Therefore, we always must seek out thinking, and its burden of thought, in the element of its multiple meanings, else everything will remain closed to us.
  2. If we take up one of Plato's dialogues, and scrutinize and judge its "content" in keeping with the ways in which sound common sense forms its ideas - something that happens all too often and too easily -- we arrive at the most curious views, and finally at the conviction that Plato must have been a great muddlehead; because we find -- and this is indeed correct -- that not a single one of Plato's dialogues arrives at a palpable, unequivocal result which sound common sense could, as the saying goes, hold on to. As if sound common sense -- the last resort of those who are by nature envious of thinking -- as if this common sense whose soundness lies in its immunity to any problematic, had ever...(->p.72)

26. From Plato. (1961). Plato: The collected dialogues. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press - Böllingen. (ed. from Epis. VII 343c-344c):

  1. Now in cases where as a result of bad training we are not even accustomed to look for the real essence of anything but are satisfied to accept what confronts us in the phenomenal presentations, we are not rendered by each other–the examined by the examiners who have the ability to handle the four [approaches to knowledge and knowledge itself: name, definition, image, and knowledge] with dexterity and to subject them to examinations. In those cases, however, where we demand answers and proofs in regard to the fifth entity [the object of knowledge itself, or true reality], anyone who pleases among those who have the skill of confutation gains the victory and makes most of the audience think that the man who was first to speak of write or answer has no acquaintance with the matters of which he attempts to write or speak. Sometimes they are unaware that it is not the mind of the writer or speaker that fails in the test, but rather the character of the four–since that is naturally defective. Natural intelligence and a good memory are equally powerless to aid the man who has not an inborn affinity with the subject. The study of virtue and vice must be accompanied by an inquiry into what is false and true of existence in general and must be carried on by constant practice throughout a long period. Hardly after practicing detailed comparisons of names and definitions and visual and other sense perceptions, after scrutinizing them in benevolent disputation by the use of question and answer without jealousy, at last in a flash understanding blazes up, and the mind, as it exerts all its powers to the limit of human capacity, is flooded with light. For this reason no serious man will ever think of writing about serious realities for the general public so as to make them a prey to envy and perplexity.

27. From Aristotle. (1984). The complete work of Aristotle: The revised Oxford translation (2 Volumes). Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. (Ed. by Jonathan Barnes. ISBN 0-691-09950-2.) Vol 2: Nicomachean Ethics:

  1. PARAGRAPH 1106 a36
    Excellence, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine.
  2. PARAGRAPH 1139 a18
    The excellence of a thing is relative to its proper function. Now there are three things in the soul which control action and truth -- sensation, thought, desire. Of these sensation originates no action. And what affirmation and negation are in thinking, pursuit and avoidance are in desire; so that since moral excellence is a state concerned with choice, and choice is deliberate desire, therefore both the reasoning must be true and the desire right, if the choice is to be good, and the latter must pursue just what the former asserts. Now this kind of intellect and of truth is practical; of the intellect which is contemplative, not practical nor productive, the good and bad states are truth and falsity; while of the part which is practical and intellectual the good state is truth in agreement with right desire.
  3. PARAGRAPH 1139 a32
    The origin of action -- its efficient, not its final cause -- is choice, and that of choice is desire and reasoning with a view to an end. This is why choice cannot exist without thought or intellect or without a moral state; for good action and its opposite cannot exist without a combination of intellect and character. Intellect itself, however, moves nothing, but only intellect which aims at an end and is practical; for this rules the productive intellect as well, since every one who makes makes for an end, and that which is made is not an end in the unqualified sense (but only relative to something, i.e. of something) --only that which is done is that; for a good action is an end, and desire aims at this. Hence choice is either desiderative thought or intellectual desire, and such an origin of action is man. The function of both the intellectual parts, then, is truth.
  4. PARAGRAPH 1139 b15
    The states by virtue of which the soul possesses truth by way of affirmation or denial are five in number, i.e. art, knowledge, practical wisdom, philosophic wisdom, comprenhension; for belief and opinion may be mistaken. Regarding what knowledge is, we all suppose that what we know is not capable of being otherwise; of things capable of being otherwise we do not know, when they have passed outside our observation whether they exist or not. Therefore the object of knowledge is of necessity. Therefore it is eternal.
  5. PARAGRAPH 1140 a1
    Among things that can be otherwise are included both things made and things done; making and acting are different; so that the reasoned state of capacity to act is different from the reasoned state of capacity to make. Nor are they included one in the other; for neither is acting making not making acting. Now since building [cf. design, architecture] is an art and is essentially a reasoned state of capacity to make, and there is neither art that is not such a state nor any such state that is not an art, art is identical with a state of capacity to make, involving a true course of reasoning. Art is a state concerned with making, involving a true course of reasoning.
  6. PARAGRAPH 1140 a24
    Regarding practical wisdom we shall get at the truth by considering who are the persons we credit with it: the man with it is able to deliberate well about what is good and expedient for himself, not in some particular respect, but about what conduce to the good life in general. This is shown by the fact that we credit men with practical wisdom in some particular respect when they have calculated well -- are capable of deliberating --with a view to some good end which is one of those that are not the object of any art...So, practical wisdom cannot be knowledge, because that which can be done is capable of being otherwise, nor art because action and making are different kinds of thing. It is a true and reasoned state of capacity to act with regard to the things that are good or bad for man. For while making has an end other than itself, action cannot; for good action itself is its end... Practical wisdom must be a reasoned and true state of capacity to act with regard to human goods. But further, while there is such a thing as excellence in art, there is no such thing as excellence in practical wisdom; and in art he who errs willingly is preferable, but in practical wisdom as in the excellences his is the reverse. Plainly, then, practical wisdom is an excellence [virtue] and not an art.
  7. PARAGRAPH 1141 a11
    Some people are wise in general, not in some particular field or in any other limited respect. Therefore [philosophical] wisdom must be plainly be the most finished of the forms of knowledge. It follows that the wise man must not only know what follows from the first principles, but must also possess truth about them. Therefore wisdom must be comprenhension combined with knowledge. It is to that which observes well the various matters concerning itself that one ascribes practical wisdom. This is why we say that some even of the lower animals have practical wisdom, viz. those which are found to have a power of foresight with regard to their own life. It is evident that wisdom and the art of politics cannot be the same; for if the state of mind concerned with a man's own interests is to be called wisdom, there will be many wisdoms; there will ne be one concerned with the good of all animals, but a different wisdom about the good of each species.
  8. PARAGRAPH 1141 b15
    Practical wisdom is not concerned with universals only -- it must also recognize the particulars, for it is practical, and practice is concerned with particulars. This is why some who do not know, and especially those who have experience, are more practical than others who know. Now pratical wisdom is concerned with action; therefore one should have both forms of it (universal and particular), or the particular in preference to the universal. Here too, there must be a controlling kind....Political wisdom and practical wisdom are the same state of mind, but to be them is not the same. Of the wisdom concerned with the city, the practical wisdom which plays a controlling part is legislative wisdom, while that which is related to this as particulars to their universal is known by the general name of "political wisdom"; this has do do with action and deliberation, for a decree is a thing to be carried out in the form of an individual act. This is why the exponents of this art are alone said to take part in politics; for these alone do things as manual labourers do things....Practical wisdom also is identified especially with that form of it which is concerned with a man himself -- with the individual; and this is known by the general name "practical wisdom""; of the other kinds one is called household management [economics], another legislation, the third politics, and the last one part is called deliberative athe other judicial. Now knowing what is good for oneself will be one kind of knowledge, but is very different from the other kinds; and the man who knows and concerns himself with his own interests is thought to have practical wisdom, while politicians are thought to be busybodies. From those who seek their own good, and consider that one ought to do so, has come the view that such men have practical wisdom; yet perhaps one's own good cannot exist without some household management, nor without a form of government.
  9. PARAGRAPH 1142 a23
    That practical wisdom is not knowledge is evident; for it is concerned with the ultimate particular fact, since the thing to be done is of this nature. It is opposed, then, to comprehension; for comprehension is of the definitions, for which no reason can be given.
  10. PARAGRAPH §1143 a25
    All the states we have considered converge, on the same point; for when we speak of judgment and understanding [learning] and practical wisdom and comprenhension we credit the same people with possessing judgment and comprehension and with having practical wisdom and understanding. For all these faculties deal with ultimates, i.e. particulars. Comprehension is concerned with the ultimates in both directions; for both the primary definitions and the ultimates are objects of comprenhension and not of argument, and in demonstrations comprehension grasps the unchangeable and primary definitions, while in practical reasoning it grasps the last and contingent fact, i.e. the second proposition. For these are the starting-points of that for the sake of which, since the universals are reached from the particulars; of these therefore we must have perception, and this is comprehension....Hence comprenhension is both beginning and end; for demonstrations are from these and about these. Therefore we ought to attend to the undemonstrated sayings and opinions of experienced and older people or of people of practical wisdom not less that to demonstrations; for because experience has given them an eye they see aright.
  11. PARAGRAPH 1144 a6
    The function of man is achieved only in accordance with practical wisdom as well as with moral excellence; for excellence makes the aim right, and practical wisdom the things leading to it...But it is impossible to be practically wise without being good, and it is not possible to be good in the strict sense without practical wisdom. In this way we may also refute the dialectical argument whereby it might be contended that the excellences exist in separation from each other. This is possible in respect of the natural excellences, but not in respect of those in respect of which a man is called without qualification good; for with the presence of the one quality, practical wisdom, will be given all the excellences. The choice will not be right without practical wisdom any more than without excellence; for the one determines the end and the other makes us do the things that lead to the end. But again, it is not supreme over wisdom, i.e. over the superior part of us, any more than the art of medicine is over health; for it does not use it but provides for its coming into being; it issues orders, then, for its sake, but not for it. Further, to maintain its supremacy would be like saying that the art of politics rules the gods because it isues orders about all the affairs of the state.

28. From Pierre Aubenque's book "La prudence chez Aristote: avec un appendice sur la prudence chez Kant" [Phronesis according to Aristotle: with an appendix on phronesis according to Kant], Quadrige/PUF, 1993 (1961). Ref. also to the documentation of Kristo Ivanov' seminar 15 October 1997 at Umeå university's dept. of informatics, his free edited translation, and to Kristo's essay ("Strategy and design for information technology":

  1. Pages 39-45
    The definition, whatever it is, of the essence of prudence presupposes the existence of the prudent man, and the description of this existence. It is not satisfactory to determine prudence as a specification of virtue [excellence] in general, for the essential reason that the existence of the prudent man is already implicated by the general definition of virtue. It is enough, to get convinced, to refer to the general definition of virtue: "Excellence, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, being determined by reason and in a way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine" [Aristotle, §1106 b36]. Let's focus, in this definition, on the role accorded to phronimos, a role whose abusive character has not always been sufficiently emphasized. Virtue consists in acting according to the right mean, and the criterium of the right mean is reason, or the right rule. But what is the right rule? Aristotle does not give us any means for recognizing it, if not the appeal to the judgment of the prudent man. This would not be a problem if the prudent man obtained his authority from wisdom or from science, whose instrument it would then be: because it is the universal which then would express itself through his voice. But the prudent man is neither a sage nor scientist: not having any familiarity with the transcendent, he puts himself at the level of the particular and fixes at each one the right mean which responds to its particularity. The prudent man knows what is good for us. He is the living bearer of the right rule of reason. The phronimos would be then the inheritor of the platonic philosopher-king...But where there are no more Ideas, the prudent man finds himself referred only to his own capabilities, to only his experience...The platonic leader did not dispense of law, because it was in itself bearer of a science of a higher order than any law...If, for Plato, law was a substitute for the infallibility of science, for Aristotle it is equity which is a corrective for the fallibility of the law...The equitable man must possess the highest level the virtue [excellence] of prudence. Moral virtue consists in applying the standard determined by the prudent man. It is no more the good man who has his eyes fixed on the Ideas, but it is we who have our eyes fixed on the good man.
  2. At this point, Aristotle seems to return, beyond the intellectualisme of Socrates and Plato, to some achaic ideal of the heroe, who imposes himself less by his knowledge that by his deeds, or simply his ardour.
  3. Pages 132-139. Plato and the Stoics emphasized the importance of the (good) will at the expense of its practical workings and results vis-a-vis to unforeseen obstacles to implementation and failure. In doing so Plato reminded the importance of subordinating the means to the ends but paid scanty attention to the insufficiency of the means. "It is easier to give a flute [or a computer] to somebody who already knows how to play or use it, than to teach play and use to somebody who has the artifact". The technology of production is subordinated to that of use. That explained that man could do what is agreeable without doing what he wanted, like avoiding to take a drug despite wanting health. The will to the end is what gives meaning to means, turning the disagreeable into good. This implied, however, that failure would be mostly attributed to forgetfulness or weakness of the will, or complacency in the choice of isolated means, and therefore injustly attributed only to the human as guilt. Aristotle reconsidered the relation between means and ends. Assuming, as Socrates and Plato, that the will or apparent will can by nature only be good [cf. today's attribution of crime to faulty information and education of the criminal] he established that there was no virtue or merit in a good will, and an important part of the problem consisted in achieving some good in terms of at least satisficing results by the use of available means according to the doctrine or practical knowledge of prudence-phronesis [deliberation plus choice]. [Cf. also Aristole's preference for functional and teleological explanations over deterministic ones, and refer to Churchman's The Design of Inquiring Systems, kap. 3 and 10.] A bad will or will to evil was considered to be a monstrous exception [against good nature, akin to Taoist immanence] and was relegated outside the area of ethics [cf. today's depth psychology]. Evil and failure tended then be regarded as the consequence of not being able to rightly deliberate or judge [överlägga med omdöme] and choose or decide [besluta] on the convenient means. This led in turn to an emphasis on instrumental reason as technology (of means) and an unintended weakenig of personal responsibility in that evil was considered to be technical insufficiency. The new scheme raised also the problem of the conflict between means and ends as when a good end can be achieved by bad means but Aristotle did not perceive the problem: there was no Machiavelism but, rather, only clumsiness in the choice of means. Ethics was limited by the fundamental randomness of birth [cf. monstruosity against nature, and racial eugenics] and by the residual randomness of implementation that gets lost in the indetermination of matter [cf. shift and drift requiring skilled creative improvisation]. The core of ethics is then centered not in the absolute of the will but rather in the choice of means. The philosopher, more than the historian can only regret that these relative notions of good and evil are not yet emancipated from the "technical" notions of success and failure. This emancipation was eventually made possible by a revelation that Aristotle like other Greeks lacked, namely about the existence of a perverted will, and the consequent reflection about the essence and meaning of sin.

29. From Kant, I. (1790/1987). Critique of judgement. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett. (Trans. with an introduction by Werner S. Pluhar. Foreword by Mary J. Gregor.):

  1. Translator's introduction page lxxxvi
    In a syllogism the power of judgment subsumes the particular under som universal (i.e. under some principle) supplied by understanding and thereby ebables reason to make an inference from that universal to the particular. In the same way feeling must be considered an independent member among the three general mental powers because it mediates between the cognitive power (in general) and the power of desire. Feeling mediates between the other two mental powers insofar as both the lower power of desire (the will as influenced by sense) and the higher (the will as determinable by its own moral law) connect a pleasure with nature: the lower connects this pleasure with nature cognized as it already is; the higher, with nature cognized as it (morally) ought to be. Thus a twofold systematicity is established: among the higher cognitive powers and among the mental powers in general. Moreover, because understanding legislates in the domain of the concept of nature (i.e. in the domain of the theoretical cognitive power), and reason legislates in the domain of the concept of freedom (i.e. in the domain of the power of desire), the twofold systematicity can be enhanced further if it can be established that judgment, the mediator of the higher cognitive powers, similarly legislates to feeling, the mediator of the mental powers in general.
  2. Translators introducion page ciii
    The power of judgment is to mediate between the real of nature and the realm of freedom. But judgment's concept of nature's subjective purposiveness is especially "suitable" for mediating between these two realms only if no objective purposiveness (purposiveness with a purpose) has been based on it, i.e. only if the subjective purposiveness is merely subjective, a purposiveness without a purpose, and hence a purposiveness as judged aesthetically. For only such purposiveness without a purpose is "analogous" to or "symbolic" of the supersensible form that the moral law enjoins us to impose on nature.
  3. Page 178
    Even though mechanical and fine art are very different from each other, since the first is based merely on diligence and learning but the second on genius, yet there is no fine art that does not have as its essential condition something mechanical, which can be encompassed by rules and complied with, and hence has an element of academic correctness. For something must be thought, as purpose, since otherwise the product cannot be ascribed to any art at all, but would be a mere product of chance. But directing the work to a purpose requires determinate rules that one is not permitted to renounce. Now since originality of talent is one essential component (though not the only one) of the character of genius, shallow minds believe that the best way to show that they are geniuses in first bloom is by renouncing all academic rules of constraint. Genius can only provide rich material for products of fine art; processing this material and giving it form requires a talent that is academically trained, so that it may be used in a way that can stand the test of the power of judgment. But it is utterly ridiculous for someone to speak and decide like a genius even in matters that require the most careful rational investigation.
  4. Page 196
    What is essential in all fine arts is the form that is purposive or our our observation and judging, rather than the matter of sensation, i.e. charm or emotion. For the pleasure we take in purposive form is also culture, and it attunes the spirit to ideas, a so makes it receptive to more such pleasure and entertainment; in the case of the matter of sensation, however, the aim is merely enjoyment, which leaves nothing behind as an idea and makes the spirit dull, the object gradually disgusting, and the mind dissatisfied with itself and moody because it is conscious that in reason's judgment its attunement is contrapurposive. Unless we connect the fine arts with moral ideas, which alone carry with them an independent liking, the second of the two alternatives just mentioned is their ultimate fate.
  5. Page 228-229
    The morally good is the intelligible that taste has in view, for it is with this intelligible that even our higher cognitive powers harmonize, and without it contradictions would continueally arise from the contrast between the nature of these powers and the claims that taste makes
  6. Page 319
    Proucing in a rational being an aptitude for purposes generally (hence in a way that leaves the being free) is culture. Hence only culture can be the ultimate purpose that we have cause to attribute to nature with respect to the human species. But not just any culture is adequate for this ultimate purpose of nature. The culture of skill is indeed the foremost subjective condition for an aptitude to promote purposes generally; but it is not adequate to assist the will in the determination and selection of its purposes, while yet such determination is surely an essential part of our entire aptitude for purposes, and is the other condition, besides skill, of this aptitude. This other condition could be called the culture of discipline. It is negative and consists in the liberation of the will from the despotism of desires [cf. desiderata], a despotism that rivets us to certain natural things and renders us unable to do our own selecting; we allow ourselves to be fettered by the impulses that nature gave us only as guides so that we would not neglect or even injure our animal characteristics, whereas in fact we are free enough to tighten or to slacken, to lengthen or to shorten them, as the purposes of reason require.
  7. Page 319-320
    As for the culture of skill: it is hard to develop skill in the human species except by means of inequality among people. The majority take care, mechanically as it were and without particularly needing art [cf. design] for this, of the necessities of life of others, who thus have the ease and leisure to work in science and art, the less necessary ingredients in culture. The others keep the majority in a state of oppression, hard labor, and little enjoyment, even though some of the culture of the higher class gradually spread to the lower also. But on both sides trouble increases with equal vigor as culture progresses. (The height of this progress, when people's propensity to strive for what is dispensable begins to interefere with what is indispensable, is called luxury.) For the lower class the trouble results from violence from without, for the higher from insatiability within. And yet this shining misery has to do with the development of man's natural predispositions and so nature still achieves its own purpose, even if that purpose is not ours. The formal condition under which nature can alone achieve this final aim is that constitution of human relations where the impairment to freedom which results from the mutually conflicting freedom of the individuals is countered by lawful authority within a whole called civil society.

30. From Norris, C. What's wrong with postmodernism: Critical theory and the ends of philosophy . New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1990:

  1. Page 269-270. Ref. to de Man's account of Schiller and his idea of 'aesthetic education' as a means of transcending the Kantian disjunction between knowledge (or cognitive truth claims) on the one hand and imagination (or the power of inward, sympathetic understanding) on the other. Such would be the end-point of Schiller's redemptive project: 'A wisdom that lies somehow beyond cognition and self-knowledge, yet can only be reached by ways of the process it is said to overcome'.[ref. to Paul De Man, Aesthetic formalization, in The Rhetoric of Romanticism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1984, pp. 263-290, p. 265]. Aesthetics would thus become the natural home ground for a different, altogether 'higher' mode of awareness [cf. sense-making] that disowned the antinomies of Kantian critical reason and claimed to effect a reconciliation of the various faculties whose separate domains Kant had attempted to delimit. But the a species of "aesthetic formalisation" which collapses the difference between ethics (practical reason) and phenomenal cognition, and thus makes reason entirely subject to the laws or dictates of natural necessity. The "state" that is being advocated [in Schiller's Letters on Aesthetic Education] is not just a state of mind or of soul, but a principle of political value and authority that has its own claims on the shape and the limits of our freedom [degrees of freedom, freedom of action]. And these claims are by no means a mere "aberration" or an isolated instance of aesthetic philosophy overstepping its legitimate domain. On the contrary..."aesthetic education by no means fails; it succeeds too well, to the point of hiding the violence that makes it possible"... It is specifically Heidegger's reading of Kant - a reading that elevates "productive imagination" to a status far beyond anything envisaged by Kant himself - that this error takes hold of and opens the way to all manner of aestheticist confusion.

31. From Ferry, L. Homo aestheticus : The invention of taste in the democratic age, trans. by Robert de Loaiza. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993:

  1. Page 151 (From chapter on "The Nietzschean moment")
    By opposition to the dialectician, who is the theoretical man (learned man or philosopher) animated always by the will to truth, the artist appears as an aristocratic character. Still living in the predemocratic world of tradition (for example the "great Hellenes" before Socrates), he posits values without discussion, without argument, with authority. The forces he plays with are not reactive: unlike the truth, they don't need to deny other forces to posit themselves.
  2. Page 154-158 (From chapter on "The Nietzschean moment")
    In order to apprehend the presence of "completed metaphysics" in the technologized relation to the world, we have to take into account the practical aspect of the metaphysics of subjectivity. Throughout the modern intensification of the essence of subjectivity as will [to create usable objects], the existent, the totality of being, has tended more and more to have no reality except as object, manipulable by the subject under the aspect of accomplishing ends, uniformly at the disposal of the will [cf. use] whether as instrument or as beings...Kant's reinterpretation of the I think as an I want, and especially his doctrine of the autonomy of the will, were decisive steps towards the technic interpretation of the world that Nietzsche's philosophy makes a theme of. The autonomy of the will, essential link in the process of the technologization of the real would not be separated from the ultimate absolutization of the will save for one mediation, that of the Nietzschean theory of the will to power as the "second to the last state of the will's development". Along the road from Descartes to Nietzsche, reason's becoming and its fate will have consisted in no longer establishing objectives itself, but rather in transforming itself from the objective reason is attempted to be into purely instrumental reason. The will is, in parallel fashion, itself no longer assigned to any end. The mastery over the world no longer aims, as it did with Descartes or the Enlightenment, at emancipating human beings or at obtaining their happiness; it becomes the quest for mastery (or brute force) for the sake of mastery (or brute force). It is thus as a metaphysician that Nietzsche, following a central theme in his aesthetics, conceptualizes art more in terms of the artist, that is, of the creator (of his will) than in terms of the work of art itself. His philosophy of art takes the form of a "physiology", or a theory of the "vital forces" at the beginning of creative activity. Beauty is nothing other than the wisely unifying hierarchized (in the "grand style") expression of life's radical multiplicity. Ultra-individualism, while pursuing the revolutionary values of the individual emancipation from tradition, consecrates innovation as the supreme criterion of the aesthetic judgment, and thus causes the latter to fall into the sphere of historicity.
  3. Page 257-259 (From chapter on "The problem of ethics")
    We are witnessing a mutation linked to the momentous rise of democratic individualism. Several studies have shown how hedonistic and narcissistic ideologies have taken hold of traditional moral questions. The key word would no longer be Greek excellence, and even less Kantian merit, but authenticity. The main thing is no longer to come up against imperative external norms, but to arrive at the expression of one's personality, at the development and opening up of the self...The problem with the ethics of the contemporaries and with the consecration of the authentic as such is that reference to the very idea of limit seems to fade away, delegitimized as it is by the imperious demands made by individual self-cultivation and by the right to difference. When it is "forbidden to forbid", dogmatism becomes the supreme sin, and tends to be confused with the very thing the moderns held to be the truth of reason. Hatred of rationalism blossoms upon the ethics of authenticity, and criticism of the former, until recently the prerrogative of contemporary philosophy, now finds echoes even in the scientists' universe -- witness the success of various essays on epistemology [cf. relations between science, art and design] that happily trample on reason.

32. Example (in Swedish) of neglected type social-political and ethical analysis, in one main Swedish theoretical approach to design: Paulsson, G., & Paulsson, N. (1956). Tingens bruk och prägel [Things for everyday use and life form]. Stockholm: Kooperativa Förbundets Bokförlag, chap on Nyttoting och livsform. Pages 115-123:

  1. År 1855 skrev Le Play i sitt arbete Les ouvriers euroéens – ev av de hörnstenar på vilka den moderna sociologens lärobyggnad sedan blivit upprest...
  2. Den konsumenttyp, som på Le Plays tid var ett undantag, begränsat till ett tunt skikt av förmögna, har nu blivit regel, tillfinnandes överallt i Västerlandet i den mån som levnadsstandarden stigit: den i frihet konsumerande människan. Den fullkomliga omvälvning av den västerländska människans villkor som ägt rum under de senaste århundradet kan ses som en ständigt ökad frihet att konsumera....
  3. Situationen idag...Guds straffdom över människan efter syndafallet – "I ditt anletes svett skall du äta ditt bröd" – börjar i det västerländska samhället att träda ur kraft ...[philosophy of technology cf. Mitcham & Grote]....Slutligen har motiven för det personliga sparandet helt ändrats. Bortsett från de mindre företagen – vilkas mängd och livsduglighet inte får underskattas – spelar det personliga ägandet av en egen produktions- och distributionsapparat inte samma dominerande roll som förr. [vs Marxism, cf KF Kooperativa Förbundet]. Ägandet är mer eller mindre anonymt, och detta gäller både privata, kooperativa och allmänna företag. En människas sociala och ekonomiska avancemang beror nu väsentligen på hennes personliga duglighet. [cf. Luc Ferry].
  4. Det frivilliga sparandet är nu för de flesta inte ett investeringssparande utan ett konsumtionssparande: för att kunna skaffa sig en egen bostad, för bosättning, för en semesterresa och liknande...I princip är det västeuropeiska stadssamhället idag ett enklassigt samhälle med en enbart av de kontanta existensmedlen begränsad konsumtion.
  5. Och dock säger den minsta eftertanke att detta inte får betyda, att alla människor får konsumera utan omtanke [cf. ethics vs politics!]....
  6. Låt oss göra en analys av situationen idag ur två synpunkter: möjligheten att konsumera och sätten att konsumera. I jämförelse med äldre tider har för västerlandets människa knappheten blivit till riklighet, normtvånget till frihet [cf. Ferry]. Ekonomiskt sett kan man konsumera förtänksamt eller slösande, socialt sett självständigt eller ivrigt följande dagens mod [sic!], de förnäma, filmstjärnorna, etc. Båda synpunkterna kombinerade ge polerna återhållsamhet och skrytsamhet.
  7. Man skulle nu begå ett ödesdigert misstag om man lade sätten att konsumera över möjligheterna och lät möjligheten till riklighet resultera i en slösande, skrytsam eller ivrigt följande konsumtionsstil. Det finns en återhållsam knapphet, en knapphet av ekonomiskt eller socialt tvång. Det finns också en återhållsamhet i rikligheten, en återhållsamhet av fritt val [cf. smak, taste]. Den kan ta en sjuklig form och bli snålhet, men dess normala form är besinningen.
  8. Om man nu gör det påstående [ethics?] att den förtänksamma, återhållsamma, självständiga konsumtionssättet ut både individens och samhällets synpunkt är värdefullare än det slösande, skrytsamma och följande, så grundar det sig på det förhållandet, att det klasslösa och dynamiska samhället fordrar en fritt väljande [mot "följande" ≈ följsamma] människa, för att förbli ett demokratiskt samhället [Kant democracy]. Alternativet blir ett av massrörelser behärskat.
  9. Mot detta mönster kan den anmärkningen göras, att det är ett dygdemönster, som i längden blir tråkigt [cf. ethics and Kant pleasure vs happiness]. De flesta människor har behov av förströelser, motsatsen till förtänksamhet och återhållsamhet [?]. Men det finns två slags av rekreation. Det första är vad man kallar "tomma nöjen" som består av flykt från livet, en kompensation för det som på ett eller annat sätt blivit en övermäktigt [cf. marxism vs chriatianity martyrdom]. Den andra är nöjen som består av ett nytt slag av aktivitet, ett görande för görandets egen skull. Dit hör leken, filuftslivet, och annan fysisk rekreation samt den estetiska aktiviteten och kontemplationen. För den människa som har en självständig livsstil [cf. the WILL vs ethics & taste] kan det åvabringas [sic!] en fin och livsbefordrande balans mellan nödtorft och rekreation. För människan med den slösande, skrytsamma livsstilen blir detta omöjligt [cf. Ferry hierarchical non-democratic]. Det är för närvarande så, att inom viktiga sektorer det på marknaden [market] erbjudna sortimentet av varor passar bättre för den ivrigt följsamma än för den självständiga konsumtionen. Genom hjälp av massmedier, såsom annonsering, illustrerade tidskrifter filmer och liknande får dessa ting en stor makt [vs marxism] över människorna. De enskilda individernas handlingsmönster utsätts för ständig inverkan från dem. I praktiken betyder detta att varusortimentet också framkallar en sådan konsumtion. [cf. Intenet-commerce].
  10. För att åstadkomma en självständig konsumtion fordras två saker. Den ena är att att personliga handlingsmönster bygges upp [cf. ethics education religion?]. varvid användning av de kulturella institutioner som är personlighetsberikande — litteraturen, konsten, musiken, vetenskapen — [cf. university, Ellen Key, Hegel] verkar befordrande, kanske rent av är nödvändig. En människa utan delaktighet [cf. participation, medbestämmande MBL]. En människa utan delaktighet i någon av dessa driver som ett rö för vinden. Ju större delaktighet, ju större självständighet i handlande. [cf. påvens i SAF-boken vs. Gustav LeBons Le Bon & democracy]. Den andra är att det verkligen finns varor som tillfredsställer denna konsumtionskrav och verkarbefordrande på den [OBSERVERA cf. positivism of data vs uses of data, administration vs. politics ≈ Stolterman?]. Detta är den monderna konstindustrins kärnproblem. Det är inte dess enda men dess viktigaste. Balansen mellan vardagsvara och ting som är gjorda enbart för nöjet att göras och betraktas är följdproblem, som lätt får sin riktiga formulering, då kärnproblemet är löst.
  11. Det som skett i de resonemang som genomgår denna skrift är att tingens form aldrig betraktas isolerad utan alltid sätts i relation till dess bruk. [cf. pragmatism]. Det är sålunda förhållandet mellan tingen och människan som gjorts till huvudfråga. Det är därigenom som vi har kommit fram till de "moraliska" [sic!]
  12. [s. 122] konsumtionsproblem som nyss behandlats. Först genom att klargöra arten av förhållandet mellan ett ting och den människa som skall bruka det, kan jag få en uppfattning om detta tings värde.
  13. Ur detta perspektiv är det lämpligt att kasta en blick på funktionalismens ideologi. Funktionalismen kan både ses som slutet på en historisk epok och som början på en ny. Den drev till sin sista konsekvens de tre principer som uppställdes för arikitekturens och konstindustrins sanering redan vid artonhundratalets slut mot laisser-faire industrialismen och historismen. För att befria tingen från de falska symbolvärden [o OBS] som låg i stilefterhärmning och materialimitation uppställdes som ledfyr sanningen [OBS] i material, teknik och funtion. Funktionalismen sökte göra denna sanning total. Dess mål var att nå den definitiva formen hos kategori efter kategori av tingen. Hade detta lyckats, skulle konstindustrins sista kapitel ha skrivits och människorna för att framtid levt i den miljön.
  14. Man förbisåg att denna sanning inte var hela sanningen. Man fattade begreppet funktion för trångt [cf. SYSTEM-functional vs teleological classes]. Man överdimensionerade det praktiska och estetiska men trängde i realiteten inte riktigt in i den sociala funktionen. Det är den som ger hela atmosfären i den tingens värld med vilken vi omger oss, det är den som ger det det dagliga livet dess stil [STYLE-TASTE]. Genom funktionalismens utradering av alla de formlögner i vilka tingen varit insvepta, blev den början till en ny epok. Det blev möjligt att bygga upp nya och för vår livssituation riktiga symbolvärden hos vår fysiska omgivning. Och ur denna synpunkt har de veka viljor [THE WILL] varit ute på irrvägar, som försökte skapa en "moderat funktionalism"genom att sätta på diverse slag av broderier. De valde romantikens [romanticism] flykt istället för det konstruktiva arbetet [≈≠construvtivism]. Det är osckså lämpligt att ur nusituationens synpunkt vända blicken mot andra hållet: tingen hos den värld som levde utestlutande av de lokala resurserna, som nu hemslöjden söker bevara. Det är ett angeläget ärende för en hushållning som genombryter de lokalt begränsade resurserna att rädda över de av den primitivares som var bättre. Hemslöjdens ting gjordes uteslutande för bruksvärdets skull och därmed fick de av sig själv kvalitet [≈≠ snickarglädje]. De ekonomiska faktorerna som måste spela sin stora roll vid tillverkning för en marknad gör, som välbekant är, att kvalitetsspörsmålet inte alltid är det ledande.
  15. Vi ser idag att de tekniska och ekonomiska framstegen ökat människans livsmöjligheter, men vi vet också att vi i vissa avseenden fått köpa dem dyrt. De psykosomatiska sjukdomarnas ökning på grund av jäkt och oro
  16. s. 123
  17. har gett läkare anledning att tala om hela samhällen som sjuka. Socialvården på sitt språk om samma sak: att den ekonomiska och tekniska förbättringen inte för alla är en moralisk [ETHICS] förbättring.
  18. Sedan människan gjort det möjligt för sig att skaffa sig nyttigheter som för ett släktled sedan skulle ansetts som ett privilegium för ett fåtal, blir det nu hennes nästa uppgift att rätt [RIGHT] begagna dessa nyttigheter.
  19. Vad är i sammanhanget rätt? [Ethics] Givetvis inte att den ena saken för man ha och den andra bör man undvika, utan förmåga till val i en självbestämd livsförings tjänst. [Kant; philosophy of technology Mitcham & Grote] Att de stora konsumentgrupperna gpr in för en självbestämd konsumtionsstil [STYLE?] innebär att betonandet av en varas praktiska och estetiska funktion blir en social faktor [sic], en allmänt accepterad social norm [sic]. Härigenom kan en andlig och kroppslig hälsa skapas, i nöd såväl lust, och människan fulla personlighet därigenom uttryckas. Ingetdera kan ske utan sådan hushållning med markerna och vattendragen [ecology environment] att de inte förstörs utan förbättras, och utan sådan hushållning med den med konst gjorda, fysiska omgivningen att dess praktiska, sociala och estetiska karaktär ger människan fred med livet och uppväcker sinnet för vad som befordrar det och vad som försör det.
  20. Alla gjorda ting är gjorda för att brukas [use, usage, pragmatism?]. Det finns inte en enda nyttoting, som kan förstås om det förs ut ur sitt sammanhang med sitt bruk, praktiskt, socialt, estetiskt. Det finns å andra sidan inte någon mänsklig aktivitet utan tillhörande materiella nyttoting. En snedbelastning av förhållandet mellan människan och tingen kan vara lika skadlig som en bristande balans i biologiskt avseende genom en felaktig kost eller psykiskt genom trycket av en olämplig social miljö.
  21. Valet av varor är ett val av livstil.

33. From Fides et Ratio. Encyclical letter . Rome, 1998: §§85-87, 97-98 also in

  1. This insistence on the need for a close relationship of continuity between contemporary philosophy and the philosophy developed in the Christian tradition is intended to avert the danger which lies hidden in some currents of thought which are especially prevalent today. It is appropriate, I think, to review them, however briefly, in order to point out their errors and the consequent risks for philosophical work. The first goes by the name of eclecticism, by which is meant the approach of those who, in research, teaching and argumentation, even in theology, tend to use individual ideas drawn from different philosophies, without concern for their internal coherence, their place within a system or their historical context. They therefore run the risk of being unable to distinguish the part of truth of a given doctrine from elements of it which may be erroneous or ill-suited to the task at hand. An extreme form of eclecticism appears also in the rhetorical misuse of philosophical terms to which some theologians are given at times. Such manipulation does not help the search for truth and does not train reason -- whether theological or philosophical -- to formulate arguments seriously and scientifically. The rigorous and far-reaching study of philosophical doctrines, their particular terminology and the context in which they arose, helps to overcome the danger of eclecticism and makes it possible to integrate them into theological discourse in a way appropriate to the task. Eclecticism is an error of method, but lying hidden within it can also be the claims of historicism.
  2. Faced with contemporary challenges in the social, economic, political and scientific fields, the ethical conscience of people is disoriented. Many of the problems of the contemporary world stem from a crisis of truth. Once the idea of a universal truth about the good, knowable by human reason, is lost, inevitably the notion of conscience also changes. Conscience is no longer considered in its prime reality as an act of a person's intelligence, the function of which is to apply the universal knowledge of the good in a specific situation and thus to express a judgment about the right conduct to be chosen here and now. Instead, there is a tendency to grant to the individual conscience the prerogative of independently determining the criteria of good and evil and then acting accordingly. Such an outlook is quite congenial to an individualist ethic, wherein each individual is faced with his own truth different from the truth of others.

34. From. Veritatis Splendor. Encyclical letter . Rome, 1993:, also in also

  1. Paragraph 32. Certain currents of modern thought have gone so far as to exalt freedom to such an extent that it becomes an absolute, which would then be the source of values. This is the direction taken by doctrines which have lost the sense of the transcendent or which are explicitly atheist. The individual conscience is accorded the status of a supreme tribunal of moral judgment which hands down categorical and infallible decisions about good and evil. To the affirmation that one has a duty to follow one's conscience is unduly added the affirmation that one's moral judgment is true merely by the fact that it has its origin in the conscience. But in this way the inescapable claims of truth disappear, yielding their place to a criterion of sincerity, authenticity and "being at peace with oneself", so much so that some have come to adopt a radically subjectivistic conception of moral judgment. As is immediately evident, the crisis of truth is not unconnected with this development. Once the idea of a universal truth about the good, knowable by human reason, is lost, inevitably the notion of conscience also changes. Conscience is no longer considered in its primordial reality as an act of a person's intelligence, the function of which is to apply the universal knowledge of the good in a specific situation and thus to express a judgment about the right conduct to be chosen here and now. Instead, there is a tendency to grant to the individual conscience the prerogative of independently determining the criteria of good and evil and then acting accordingly. Such an outlook is quite congenial to an individualist ethic, wherein each individual is faced with his own truth, different from the truth of others. Taken to its extreme consequences, this individualism leads to a denial of the very idea of human nature. These different notions are at the origin of currents of thought which posit a radical opposition between moral law and conscience, and between nature and freedom.


  1. In English: The "old professor" wishes to thank all the students and colleagues who taught him humility by reminding him that as it is greater to love than to be loved, so it is possibly greater to read than to be read! It would also upgrade the value of educating compared to doing "research"
  2. In Swedish: Den "gamle professorn" vill tacka alla de studenter och medarbetare som lärt honom ödmjukhet genom att påminna honom om att, liksom det är större att älska än att bli älskad, så är det möjligen större att han läser än att han blir läst! Det torde också uppvärdera undervisning eller bildning i förhållande till "forskning".