A Poetics of Designing

  • Claudia WestermannEmail author
Part of the Design Research Foundations book series (DERF)


The chapter considers second-order cybernetics as a framework that is accurately described as a poetics. An overview is provided on what it means to be in a world that is uncertain, e.g., how under conditions of limited understanding any activity is an activity that designs and constructs, and how designing objects, spaces, and situations relates to the (designed) meta-world of second-order cybernetics. If it cannot be determined whether the world is complex or not, to assume that the world is complex is a matter of choice linked to an attitude of generosity. The chapter highlights that it is this attitude, which makes designing an ethical challenge. Designers require a framework that is open, but one that supplies ethical guidance when ‘constructing’ something new. Relating second-order design thinking to insights in philosophy and aesthetics, the chapter argues that second-order cybernetics provides a response to this ethical challenge and essentially it entails a poetics of designing.


Poetics Second-order cybernetics Design Architecture Aesthetics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchitectureXi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool UniversitySuzhouChina

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