{jctv}//ethics = beautiful behaviour//living well//dying well\\ Back to 7X300



"is what has happened worthy of me?" According to Gilles Deleuze ethics can be summed up by that simple question.


Ethics: the social physics of pursuing a good use

The essay works on the premise that design is a human activity. To discuss the ethics of design as a human activity by separating it from other human activities is, to my mind, an unhealthy approach. An ethics, again in my opinion, can be made specific to any one kind of activity only if it starts from, and carries with it all the way, a clear conception of what being human is about and what human activity entails when it interferes in the environment. There is a logically binding continuity between being a professional designer and being a human being with a place in society. If we lose that sense of continuity we lose our place: we lose ourselves as a place; a place where all relations between our body and the environment come together in an I. If we divide our professional persona from our private persona we end up with two I’s. There is a word for that, it is called schizophrenia. Aspects of schizophrenia may be unavoidable, but it is generally considered to be a difficult way of living life. As such it is the continuity of being that interests me even though we know, from experience, that a good designer does not necessarily have to be a good person, a good father, mother or a faithful friend. In fact the possibility of there being a discontinuity between these aspects of being, makes describing the manner of continuity that is necessary in being all the more of a challenge. My challenge is to ground out thinking about ethics and action on a pragmatic and existential footing using abstractions vague enough not to make a mockery of our very real ignorance about all sorts of issues to do with the functioning of the human body in the environment and precise enough to help us think about making decisions. I will not tell you how to act, but I will tell you how you might want to think about acting.



Select bibliography general ethics and moral philsophy

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (350 BC)
Benedictus de Spinoza, Ethica (1677)
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment (1866)
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground (1864)
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (1881)
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot (1869)
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason (1788)
Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, (1785)
Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysical Elements of Ethics. (1780)
Iris Murdoch, The Sovereignty of Good, (1970)
John Rawls, Lectures on the History of Moral Philosophy (2000)
Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or, (1843)
Susan Neiman, Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-Up Idealists (2009)

Ethics of the (built) environment

Dale Jamieson, Ethics and the Environment: An Introduction (2008)
Jason F. McLennan, The Philosophy of Sustainable Design, (2004)
Joseph R. DesJardins, Business, Ethics, and the Environment: Imagining a Sustainable Future, (2006)
Nicholas Ray,  Architecture and its Ethical Dilemmas, (2005)
P. Aarne Vesilind and Alastair S. Gunn, Engineering, Ethics, and the Environment, (1998)
Peter Fewings, Ethics for the Built Environment, (2008)
T. J. Williamson, Helen Bennets, and Antony Radford, Understanding Sustainable Architecture, (2002)
Warwick Fox, Ethics and the Built Environment, (2000)
William McDonough and Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, (2002)

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