Semiotics, Compassion and Value-Centered Design

4. COMPASSION, ETHICS AND VALUES

The Dalai Lama argued in Ethics for the New Millenium that:

This may be based in mirror neurons, which respond to specific gestures in others.
Clearly, empathy and compassion are inhibited by preconceptions and prejudices.

Arguments against rule based ethics are similar to arguments against reductionism:

But rules are valuable as guidelines, as with design.

Problems arise when rules are seen as universal principles.

Human nature is sufficient for ethical behavior, if sufficiently refined.

Groundlessness is a ground for authentic behavior, including genuine ethics, and effective, creative design.

Indeed, effective behavior cannot be separated from ethical behavior.

Ethnomethodology says members apply concepts and methods to account for events in social context.

This is accountability; it expresses group values by highlighting some aspects and downplaying others.

Information emerges interactively through accountability in real situations:

Groups, values, and information are coemergent, in that each produces and sustains the others: Values are a necessary presupposition of analysis, because members' accounting, based on shared values, renders their concepts and methods visible to analysts.
But how does a working designer (or manager, or systems analyst) actually discover values?

Methods include the following:

The following case studies have been done:
  1. value-based requirements analysis for small corporate recruitment firm;
  2. values in database interfaces; and
  3. values in mathematical proofs.
These confirm that the method seems promising.


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