Processing the method: Linking Deweyan logic and design-in-research

Brian Dixon, Tara French

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This paper explores the relationship between design logic and reasoning and the methodological and epistemological positioning of design-based knowledge production. Examining the relevant literature, we propose that the naturalistic logic of the American pragmatist philosopher John Dewey offers a potentially useful contextualisation of how logic, reasoning, method and, ultimately, knowledge can be understood as arising from, and be responsive to, context. This is considered in relation to the long-term delivery of a design research programme—termed Experience Labs—which was seen to undergo a gradual methodological shift in response to contextual concerns. It is our core argument that Dewey’s logic can function as a valuable theoretical device, mediating between design and the necessity of methodological and epistemological explication in research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDesign Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Aug 2020


  • design research
  • logic of design
  • epistemology
  • design practice
  • John Dewey


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