Studying the Philosophy of Software: A Framework for Examining How Digital Design Affects the Arts

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In this presentation, the author extends his previous publications on the observed effects of software design decisions on the creative process by offering a framework for the philosophical evaluation of software designs. The task, as described, involves the systematic decomposition of assumptions and intended use as they effect the creative process. In short, this presentation defines a new area of humanities study – the philosophical examination of software.

This research combines the established multidisciplinary examinations of critical cartography, post modern philosophy and creative process theory to define an innovative means of decomposing the effects of digital technology on creative production. The presentation takes case studies in creative writing and 3D modeling to demonstrate how the philosophical study of software design illuminates developer implied paths to production. Just as the design of a city directs pedestrians and cars, the design of software directs its users toward specific ends. A structured analysis of these implied paths, informed by critical examination through the lens of a variety of humanities (e.g. philosophy, social sciences, et al.) can yield engaging observations about the ways problems are solved.

This presentation is provided as intellectual fodder for educators and practitioners in humanities that routinely employ digital technologies.


Keywords: Software Philosophy, Teaching the Arts, Digital Art
Stream: Cyberspace, Technology
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Studying the Philosophy of Software,


Lindsay Grace

Assistant Professor, Fine Arts Department and Armstrong Institute of Interactive Media Studie
School of Fine Arts, Miami University

Oxford, Ohio, USA

Lindsay Grace is a teacher, software developer and designer. He earned the Masters of Science in Computer Information Systems and the Bachelor of Arts in English, both from Northwestern University. In 2009 he completed the Master of Fine Arts at the University of Illinois' Electronic Visualization Laboratory. He has served industry as an independent consultant, web designer, software developer, entrepreneur, business analyst and writer. Lindsay has a joint position between Miami University’s Armstrong Institute of Interactive Media Studies and the School of Fine Arts. His research areas include human-computer interaction, creative and critical game play, and web design. He writes regularly about interactive media design and education. He is also an independent computer game developer and artist whose work has been reviewed by international audiences. Recent publications include two chapters in the Handbook of Handbook of Research on Computational Arts and Creative Informatics and The Development and Testing of gReader: A Universally Designed, Device-Independent Email Client in IEEE proceedings.

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