Dewey and Design: A Pragmatist Perspective for Design Research

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This book sets forth a specific, philosophically-informed epistemological and methodological stance in relation to design research approaches which involve design practice as an aspect of the method (e.g., practice-based and practice-led approaches). The underlying research was grounded in two systematic literature surveys. The first explored the epistemological and ontology claims underpinning key methodological discussions in the areas of practice-based and practice-led design research. The second survey focused on the later and middle works of the classical pragmatist philosopher John Dewey, as well as scholarly commentary on these works. Performing a synthesis of these two literatures, this book brings together Dewey’s theories of experience, inquiry, communication, ethics, democracy, and education in relation to the key claims identified in practice-based and practice-led literature. Here, a detailed ‘Deweyan approach to knowledge’ is revealed for design research, with an additional framework for shaping and conducting individual research projects being presented at the book’s conclusion. Taken as a whole, this text can be seen to build on and extend a number of prior articles by the same author, bringing the subject matters of each together for the first time. At present, this is the only book in the field of design which attempts to offer both a systematic overview and integration of Dewey’s philosophy within a single volume. In this, it extends far beyond comparable existing contributions in the field. For example, it offers a more expansive exploration of Dewey’s work than John McCarthy’s and Peter Wright’s Technology as Experience and provides a much richer account of his democratic vision than can be found in participatory design literature (where Dewey is widely referenced). Given the right exposure, the book has the potential to properly ground the key insights of Deweyan philosophy for the field of design, enhancing both research and practice in the longer term.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages207
ISBN (Electronic)9783030474713
ISBN (Print)9783030474706
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2 Jul 2020

Publication series

NameDesign Research Foundations
PublisherSpringer Nature


  • Dewey Design Research
  • Design Epistemology
  • Design Foundations
  • Pragmatism Design Research
  • Practice-Based Design Research
  • Practice-Led Design Research
  • Contemporary design research
  • Deweyan approach Design
  • Deweyan Pragmatism Design
  • What is design research
  • Participatory design theory


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