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Philosophy of Humanity and Culture

During my B3.1 semester I took courses at the Erasmus University’s School of Philosophy, within the course module Philosophy of Humanity and Culture. This is an overview of the courses I took, and my development within them:

  1. Aesthetics: This course taught me about the changing role of art in history and society. As a designer, I now realize the influence design can have on society, and it inspired my to be more aware of culture when thinking about societal issues.
  2. Essential Contemporary Challenges: Thinking differently about contemporary issues was the key of this course. Especially the lectures on Big Data were super relevant for me, as they considered ethical standpoints on an emerging technology I will definitely work with as a designer.
  3. Technology and Social Change: This is one of the most relevant courses I have taken; It introduced several perspectives on the discipline of science and the role of technology in society. Especially the concept of perspective-thinking and diverging theories of the discussed philosophical thinkers were interesting. As a designer, this course has taught me to not assume technology as granted, and is the most considerable influence for my vision.
  4. Critique: Despite its course description, Critique taught about critical literature in general instead of critique with a focus on science and technology. It however introduced the concept of critical thinking, which is a key role to have as a designer. Design is about questioning the status quo, and I realize that now more than ever.
  5. The Quest for Man I: This course taught me to think about what it means to be human and how we can extend this to the future. For design, this provided insights in the future of human society, and this shaped my vision, as seen in the footnote on Heidegger.
  6. The Quest for Man II: This course taught me to think about the world from the perspective of human existence. Instead of focusing on looking at the world from the perspective of the natural sciences, we can also look at it from the point of human existence. In design, this perspective and the theories and thinkers discussed, has shaped my vision on the role design should play in human life.

Taking philosophy courses has helped me immensely in synthesizing a vision on design, technology, and society. I would even go as far as to say that I think this kind of knowledge should be a mandatory part of the designer’s curriculum, and at the basis of her decision making.

By looking at the ideas, theories and perspectives of all kinds of philosophers on topics as society, human existence, and technology, I not only developed an opinion on them, but I also learned to think about them. This thinking is what allows one to see wat other cannot, and is therefore key for the creative discipline that industrial design is.

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