An Introduction to Design Cybernetics

Fischer,Thomas;Herr,Christiane M.

[Fischer,Thomas] Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University,Suzhou,China [Herr,Christiane M.] Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University,Suzhou,China

Design Research Foundations


Publication Year:2019

Document Type:BOOK



Since it ascended in the mid-twentieth century on the basis of technical and scientific advances made during World War II, cybernetics has influenced design theory and research. It was appreciated by its originators primarily as a theoretical framework and as a common language to bridge disciplinary boundaries, but soon found more prominent applications in goal-oriented control engineering. Since around 1970, it developed a reflective, more philosophical, and less control-focused perspective referred to as second-order cybernetics. This perspective recognises circular causality, non-determinism, the subjective observer and other concepts avoided by natural science. In this way, it offers an approach to self-organising systems that negotiate their own goals in open-ended processes – in other words: design. As an introduction to design cybernetics, this chapter outlines the development of cybernetics from a technical engineering discipline to a design-philosophical perspective.


Communication Control Cybernetics Design History

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