chapter  2
31 Pages

On freedom in design

WithPhilippe d’Anjou

Freedom and contingency are the inherent conditions that design practice designers have to face. Sartrean concepts of freedom and authenticity are explored as an existential framework to conceptualize the nature of the designer’s character in ethical terms. It is argued that designers have to accept complete responsibility for their way of being and practicing and that design always relates to human persons in all their complexity as such. Accordingly, most ethical approaches are ill-suited to fully engage with such design practice reality. Yet, we cannot claim that any important existential choice is not possible. Thus, Sartre’s philosophy of freedom can point to the attitude of bad faith designers enact in design practice, which is expressed by using codes, regulations, or authority as excuses to escape responsibility.