“Design thinking” is currently the fashion. But what exactly is ‘design thinking’, and what are the opportunities that design thinking can open up for human civilization? I argue that ‘design’ must be articulated from the fully moral and robustly metaphysical viewpoint so that it can be related conceptually with what matters. Such a notion of ‘design’, and relatedly, ‘designing’ and ‘designers’ interrogates and diagnoses the eschewing of the critical in the design profession, and that also opens up other radical trajectories for design, such as the design of beings qua signs, so that they point to God’s comforting presence. Such design thinking will not be welcomed by the design profession but is nevertheless also an instantiation of the semio-ethical stance that seeks to translate signs of what truly matters, including God’s presence and its meaning for supererogatory fortitude in professionals. This paper retrieves Aquinas’ metaphysics for current trends in both design and semiotic thinking, hence pushes the interpretation of what semio-ethics is or can be even further.
Keywords: market, design, semioethics, metaphysics, Aquinas
“…I have nothing but admiration for the moral tradition that frowns upon idleness where it means lack of purposeful occupation. But not working to earn an income does not necessarily mean idleness; nor is there any reason why an occupation that does not bring a material return should not be regarded as honorable. The fact that most of our needs can be supplied by the market and that this at the same time gives most men the opportunity of earning a living should not mean that no man ought to be allowed to devote all his energy to ends which bring no financial return…”
F A Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty
“What we need is a catechism of heresy…”
James G. March, Explorations in Organizations