Philosopher of science, Bruno Latour, opened the recent Networks of Design conference with a keynote address: A Cautious Prometheus? A Few Steps Toward a Philosophy of Design. In his lecture, Latour linked the growing importance of design with his idea that "matters of fact" have become "matters of concern".
Provocatively presenting Peter Sloterdijk as philosopher of design, he states:
The great importance of Sloterdijk’s philosophy (and I think the major interest of a designer’s way of looking at things) is that it offers another idiom. The idiom of matters of concern reclaims matter, matters and materiality and renders them into something that can and must be carefully redesigned.
In his conclusion, Latour challenges designers "to draw things together", shifting the meaning of design from re-looking to a practice which gathers scientist, technicians etc. around the table:
What is needed instead are tools that capture what have always been the hidden practices of modernist innovations: objects have always been projects; matters of fact have always been matters of concern. The tools we need to grasp these hidden practices will teach us just as much as the old aesthetics of matters of fact —and then again much more.
Download the paper here: http://www.bruno-latour.fr/articles/article/112-DESIGN-CORNWALL.pdf