Presearch is the use of design as a tool to create ideas, theories and more generally, to prototype instruments of knowledge.

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The Emergent Design of Failure

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash I am not letting any secrets slip in saying that the world has become much more authoritarian in the last decade. The largest countries in the world: China, India, the US, Russia, Brazil are all now ruled by authoritarians. The concentration of power in a few hands is not an isolated […]

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Epistrons: The Design of Knowledge

I love and hate philosophy in equal measure; love it for its sustained engagement with abstract concepts and universal arguments and hate it for its parochialism. How can something be universal and parochial at the same time? I too am mystified by the contradiction, but it’s a fact; the parochialism is only increasing. When I […]

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The Design of Philosophy

Many people I know, thoughtful people at that, have a poor opinion about philosophy. They think it’s a has-been discipline: too many words and too little applicability. It’s a pretty short sighted view, but that view is encouraged by philosophers who hew close to the sciences. As long as philosophy is seen as a handmaiden […]

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Newsletter #10: Appsolutely

We think of apps as pieces of software; things that help us get things done or avoid getting things done. But they’re also excellent props for story telling. Just as we leaven our conversations with interjections, proverbs and idioms, why not leaven them with apps? Especially apps that do exactly one thing. What UX designers […]

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Designing Knowledge II: Books

The Culture of the Book I have a couple of thousand books in my personal library. Only lack of space and money prevents me from getting more. I have been a bibliophile from the time I was three or four, when my parents bought me my first Amar Chitra Kathas. Books were prized possessions; good books […]

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Designing Knowledge I: Circles

I will work extensively with the idea of a design pattern: a reusable, modifiable design element. Knowledge has an element of design, like every other human practice. Unfortunately, the design patterns of knowledge are so old and so universal that we don’t even realize that they are designed elements. It’s not as if the textbook — lecture — course — degree […]

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Designing Local Knowledge

Universal knowledge Let’s start with a triviality — my eyes don’t sense parts of the earth a thousand miles away from me. Instead, they sense the world directly in front of my eyes. Seems obvious isn’t it. Well, not so much if you look at philosophical accounts of knowledge or the design of universities. Universities are designed […]

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