The Ecological Turn in Design: Adopting a Posthumanist Ethics to Inform Value Sensitive Design
2. Technological Assessment and Designing for Values
2.1. Value Sensitive Design
2.1.1. Conceptual Investigations
2.1.2. Empirical Investigations
2.1.3. Technical Investigations
3. Bridging a Severing of Praxis
3.1. Posthumanism and Reclaiming Animality
Then, God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”(Genesis 1:26)
3.1.4. A Companion Ethics
4. Designing Anticipation
5. Designing Technofutures
5.1. Constructing a Hybrid Project
- Accessible to all interested/relevant stakeholders
- In order to accurately envision co-habitable, symbiotic futures with nonhuman beings, it is necessary to discard moral law theories of morality and adopt an embodied ethics. This ethics provides an anticipatory landscape for coming to a greater understanding and respect for identities and relations with other entities. In turn, this creates a more accurate mapping of the cognitive undertaking within human moral deliberation. It also allows for intersubjectivity between peoples to take place [99,100,101,102,103].
- Hybridisation and a realist ontology adduce the decoupling of humanity from its traditional theological and humanistic centre [56,57]. All being resides on the peripheries, so this is where transformation, hybridisation, and a space of respect and symbioses can flourish. Shared space permits the distribution of agency and an area for mutual co-habitation [72,84,86,104]. A distribution of agency towards an ecological (rather than an individualist) definition of identity is ontologically warranted, going above and beyond the illusory ones still held and passed down as part of the heritage of theology and agricultural-age societies [58,71,84].
- Unlike Latour’s oppressive ANT of immanence, these third spaces acknowledge necessarily contingent connections between all entities. Such spaces further affirm their discrete heterogeneity . Hybridisation is ipso facto a constitution of heterogeneity; as such, it represents the distinct yet enmeshed entities of which it is composed [73,84].
- An imaginative rationality becomes necessary for envisioning the broadest set of possible in order to sanction organic changes taking place as needed. This consists of curating how futures are imagined but without authoritarianism taking hold . Curation should be restricted insofar as the constraints of an embodied ethics.
- Past papers must be understood as symbiotic; they exert asymmetric effects that impact the present and future. The ontic structures upon which past projects are built call into question what actions are undertaken today for the future. They further interrogate the framework within which those actions are undertaken, i.e., how they constrain and promote specific categories of actions.
5.2. Attuning to Representation
An act is wrong if its performance under the circumstances would be disallowed by any set of principles for the general regulation of behaviour that no one could reasonably reject as a basis for informed, unforced, general agreement (p. 153).
6. Limitations and Future Research
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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For this reason, the VSD method is taken up as the comparative approach in criticising value-investigations in the design turn. Of course, there are other more commonly practiced applied design methods (such as Human Centered Design or HCD) that can be used as a locus to bridge the goals of this work with a larger community of current design practices. HCD or Design thinking is implicitly anthropocentric and very widespread today. Within the design community, designers have proposed adding a fourth (albeit incremental) dimension to HCD’s Desirable, Feasible, Viable triage: Responsible. ‘Responsible’ is meant to be a catch-all dimension that would demand for design to consider its impacts whether unintended or not, such as pollution, killing of animals, climate change, etc. Some have suggested a Bio-centric Design (BCD to replace HCD).
The ‘4TU’ represents four technology-focused universities in mutual collaboration with one another. They are Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, University of Twente, and Wageningen University.
This is only one of a set of values that is context-specific to ‘care’, as broadly construed within the medical domain.
In  author discusses the applicability of intersubjectivity (a primarily continentally-derived notion) towards DfV approaches. However, this is the exception and not the rule.
Haraway  provides a good way to envision this togetherness in terms of various nature-cultures between humans and dogs. Togetherness would be based on finding common respect for difference rather than anthropocentrically anthropomorphising behaviour and projecting anthropic consciousness to nonhuman beings as a way to relate.
Such a philosophical move is based on questionable logic and borders on committing the genetic fallacy. Still, the theological and purely coincidental observations of pre-moderns can be criticised on their own grounds, which I contend are similarly false.
Like Heidegger’s claim of Dasein being particularly human, and mainly German at that. Making Dasein a feature of all lifeforms would begin on a more egalitarian ontological footing.
Sustainability discourse has been quite egregious given its association with renewable energies. Counter-literature has discussed how discourse on sustainability is directed at merely sustaining currently destructive practices. These practices may consequentially lead to the continued and unmitigated use of environmentally devastating forms of energy and fuel development.
These moral law theories should be distinguished from other moral traditions like virtue ethics, which have deep and ancient roots.
This is notably different from the deontological ethics prescribed Kant, as it is not so oppressively universal or absolutist. Instead, it is deeply contingent on context.
Objects should not be confused with things being ‘objectified’; an object can be any entity, event, etc. including nonhuman animals.
The term refers to the always-already posthumans of philosophical posthumanism, and not to the other interpretations of posthumans such as that envisioned in transhumanism.
More literal conceptions of hybridisation have retarded the progress of philosophical posthumanism recounted herein. This is primarily caused by the transhumanist (i.e., ultra-humanist) domain in which the concept of hybridisation has arisen. The will towards progress and human betterment has infected the discourse. To this end, a more metaphorical definition of hybridisation has greater utility in understanding human-nonhuman relations and being-with other forms of life.
The latter is a reference to the necessary superiority of the human rational mind, as argued by theology and Enlightenment philosophy. This contrasts with the notion of the mind as a product of evolutionary contingency, as argued by Darwin.
Imagine the state mandates the euthanasia of all pets/animals within the polis. The companionship that exists intersubjectively between species, particularly human-nonhuman, could foreseeably result in a similar destabilisation of society.
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Umbrello, S. The Ecological Turn in Design: Adopting a Posthumanist Ethics to Inform Value Sensitive Design. Philosophies 2021, 6, 29. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6020029
Umbrello S. The Ecological Turn in Design: Adopting a Posthumanist Ethics to Inform Value Sensitive Design. Philosophies. 2021; 6(2):29. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6020029Chicago/Turabian Style
Umbrello, Steven. 2021. "The Ecological Turn in Design: Adopting a Posthumanist Ethics to Inform Value Sensitive Design" Philosophies 6, no. 2: 29. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6020029