Creating Different Modes of Existence. Towards an Ontological Ethics of Design Open Access Deposited
This paper will address some design concerns relating to philosopher Étienne Souriau’s work Les différents modes d’existence (2009). This has important bearings upon design because, first, this philosophical attitude thinks of designing not as an act of forming objects with identity and meaning, but rather as a process of delivering things that allow for a multiplicity of creative remodulation of our very existences. Secondly, Souriau unpicks the concept of a being existing as a unified identity and redefines existence as a creative act of nonstop production of a variety of modes of existence. In doing this he not only moves ontological considerations to the fore of philosophical discussions away from epistemological ones, but does so in such a way as to align with attitudes to ethics that relate it to ontology – notably the work of Spinoza. (This places Souriau in a philosophical lineage that leads back, for example, to Nietzsche and Whitehead, and forward (from his era) to Deleuze and Guattari.) In thinking both ontology and ethics together, this paper will introduce a different approach to the ethics of design.
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