Purpose – The aim of this paper is to answer the question: how can judgment about good and bad behavior of a device or service under development be included in the development process? Design/methodology/approach – By distinguishing between detached good/bad judgment, called “ethics of the eye”, and judgment about good and bad behavior embedded in doing and dialogue, called “ethics of the hand”, two examples of designer judgment are examined, one embedded and one detached. The outcome is explained by means of an application of Ricoeur's hermeneutics, where he shows how narration comprises pre-figuration, con-figuration and re-figuration. An examination of collaborative prototyping in Krzysztof Wodiczko's work on building a vehicle together with homeless people in Manhattan, New York, is contrasted with an example of the detached evaluation of use in Joseph Weizenbaum's account for use of his computer therapy program Eliza. Findings – The difference is identified as the difference between joint making and dialogue, resulting in re-configuration, and detached evaluation, which sticks with the pre-figuration. The paper concludes that for engineering and design at large “ethics of the hand”, the collaborative doing and dialogue, where the engineering and the designerly way of understanding come together over a prototype, brings out a shared frame, which makes ethics an integrated part of the development process. Originality/value – The paper discusses how judgment about good and bad behavior of a device or service under development can be included in the development process and shows that the answer is collaborative prototyping.
Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, 2014, Vol 12, Issue 1, p. 3-9