A metacritical approach to the aesthetics of design focuses on critical thinking about design by designers interested in the general value of design work. Their general "apologies" for design are typically couched in terms of "improvement," "fit," and other related terms. They are properly understood as grounding good design in variants of aesthetic experience. Metacriticism of design statements thus contributes to thinking about aesthetic education by revealing the meaning of good design's key ideas and explaining how design works for improved, flourishing aesthetic lives from the personal to social level. Good design becomes a key component of aesthetic education conceived in those "developmental" terms. There are three broad, distinct but overlapping categories of "apology." The first category covers how designers think about the personal experience of using particular things; the second, how designers conceive the individual's experience of the aesthetic value or beauty of their everyday domestic lives; and the third how designers make claims about designing communities that support the good life. Each category supports the general thesis that "apologies" for design are essentially about improving human experiential life in explicably aesthetic terms. This amounts to aesthetic functionalism about design's general value as an activity. This cluster of criteria meets needs in "fitting" ways that improve practical life, adding "beauty" and aesthetic value to everyday lives and creating built environments that aid the "good life." "Aesthetic functionalism" about design endorses and deepens the developmental understanding in its various idioms (Dewey's pragmatism, the expansive view of the aesthetic field in everyday aesthetics, and the social view of the significance of the aesthetic in the tradition of Friedrich Schiller) of the role of the aesthetic in our everyday lives. It thus indicates how good design is an integral part of the concept of aesthetic education and how placing statements about design work in general in the context of developmental aesthetics deepens our understanding of them.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 1-18
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.