In the “anti-intentionalism” section of the Lamarque reading:
…the literary critic William K Wimsatt and the philosopher Monroe C. Beardsley argued that it is fallacious… to base a critical judgment about the “meaning or value” of a literary work on “external evidence” concerning the author’s intentions.
This was particularly interesting to me, because in design I’ve been “brought up” (for lack of a better term?) to use the intentions of the designer as the metric for evaluating the design itself. So if you say your design is going to help people conserve energy, but instead it gives people more exercise (while not conserving energy), it may be a good and useful design but you still didn’t do what you set out to do in the first place.
If you were presenting that design to stakeholders or something, you’d have to very carefully frame it and say “look I know we meant to do X, but we actually ended up doing Y and Y is really awesome”.
Of course Lamarque writes against this point of view later, but actually I can see how a design might be able to be evaluated without the designer’s intentions in mind.
(That leads me to another thought–do authors/poets have to answer to stakeholders like designers do? If they’re professionals, they obviously want to get published somewhere, I’m sure, but do/did the “literary greats” write with stakeholders in mind? Obviously I am not a writer of literature (nor do I really know much about it), but now I’m wondering how much this particular piece in the reading applies to designers.)