Design culture and acceptable risk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Technological design is usually considered as a process of stipulating target functions. Technological artifacts are, however, not determined entirely by the intent of the engineers who designed them: they unavoidably contain unpredictable and uncertain characters that transcend engineers' intent, and they cannot be understood purely from a functionalist perspective. In aviation, for example, the smooth implementation of a flight is ensured by a system that includes pilots interacting with each other and with a suite of technological devices. Emphasizing the human aspect of technological designs, this article presents a theoretical framework that takes socio-cultural aspects of technology as the primary for a philosophical, ethical analysis. An analysis of the acceptability of risks shows that the reliability of a technology is determined by the reliability of the technological decisions, eventually the existence of a reliable technological culture. So the task of the ethics of risks is to provide ways to reform our technology culture.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilosophy and Design
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Engineering to Architecture
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781402065903
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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