We started to talk about this idea last week in class, and Jeff asked me if I thought reifying design was a problem, to which I reservedly said “no”. Thing was I didn’t really understand how Reification is a fallacy. So I did some research:  http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/whitehead/. Apparently some philosophy dude named Alfred North Whitehead came up with something called the “The Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness”. I think this is what reification is, but here it is explained through metaphysics.

My understanding on how the reification of Design Thinking is a fallacy, is that is turns an abstract idea or way of thinking (One possible way of understanding Design Thinking) into something which is concrete, either a physical object or something akin to a faculty of our mind like a logical capacity. If one is to reify Design Thinking, then it becomes a capacity, or some form of cognition, that is inherently separate from our other cognitive forms or processes. When I unpack it this way, I start becoming uncomfortable with reifying Design Thinking partly because I think the dichotomy of some logical/creative capacity make more sense without having this third, Design Thinking, capacity added.

Now, if reifying design thinking is committing a fallacy, then I have to reject Cross’ notion that there is an inherent capacity in all humans called Design Thinking. This would leave only Big D Design Thinking as something that exists, thereby removing any possible comparison between the two.


I’ve gone way too quickly here and would like retreat if someone quoted me on this ( hehe), but this is some of my preliminary thinking on the idea of reification and Design Thinking.