The Design Way

Humanity’s Great Traditions of Inquiry and Action

In order to undertake the project of becoming a comprehensivist—to come to understand our worlds more and more broadly and deeply—we need to provision a toolkit for the task. What are all the possible approaches that we might mobilize in our quest to make sense of it all and of each other?

“The Design Way” by Harold G. Nelson and Erik Stolterman argues that design, not any of the arts or sciences, was humanity’s first “tradition of inquiry and action“. The “Great Books” and “Great Ideas” collections of Mortimer J. Adler and others, inspired us to prefix the word “great” in front of the phrase from “The Design Way”. We now reformulate our initial question as What are the Great Traditions of Inquiry and Action that humanity has accumulated through the ages? Will this suffice to delimit the range of possible approaches which a comprehensivist might assay?

First, let’s pause to ask: Is it necessary and/or sufficient to encompass all humanity’s traditions with the metaphysics of inquiry and action? I am not at all sure, but since we need some organizing principle, as with all proposed and allegedly “obvious” first principles, we might just accept “inquiry and action” as a good enough working hypothesis of the nature of all humanity’s traditions without too much thought and boldly adopt it.

Continue reading →
Posted by CJ Fearnley in Resource Center, 0 comments