Art and Design, Vol. 4, Issue 4, Dec  2021, Pages 18-27; DOI:

The Endeavour to Make Ourselves More Perfect - Ambivalences of Optimization

Art and Design, Vol. 4, Issue 4, Dec  2021, Pages 18-27.


Gerhard Schweppenhäuser 1*

1 Faculty of Design, University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt, Bavaria, Germany

Received: 2 August 2021; Accepted: 24 August 2021; Published: 13 September 2021

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Design is usually understood as a practice that aims to realize a possible optimum: the best (i.e. the most functional) thing form, the best (i.e. the most effective) problem solution, or the best (i.e. the maximally effective and consensual) process. It is easy to agree that design can be understood in this way. But does this also apply to the question of what an optimum is in the first place? And does it apply to the related question of whether the finalities of designing, modelling and shaping things, solutions and processes are to be seen in a technological optimum or in its socio-cultural dimensions? The paper analyzes the philosophical infrastructures in design and art with regard to their precarious state and draws our attention to the problem of transhumanism. It exposes the fragility of the relationship between nature and culture and the necessity of freedom and humanity in the double movement of “Mastery over the inner and outer Nature” and realize a possible optimum of design through humane redesign our living conditions.


Design, Philosophy, Socio-Constructivism, Transhuman Design, Theology, Gender, Enlightenment, “Digital Takeover”, Mastery-over-the-inner-and-outer-Nature


© 2017 by the authors. Licensee International Technology and Science Press Limited. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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[3] Think of the unfortunate statement by the design philosopher Peter Sloterdijk (1999) on the subject of applied genetic research.

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