University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

From the same journal

By the same authors

Knowledge and Advancement through Models

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-150
JournalWorking Papers on Design
Publication statusPublished - 1996


Physical models are not only used to represent the appearance of designed objects but also to represent ideas. However, if physical models are used to represent ideas, what must they have in common with their objects in order to function? It is suggested that an ability to name the characteristics which link the object and model is unnecessary. Gombrich's criticism of the "innocent eye" is accepted. However, Goodman's extreme Conventionalism is rejected on the basis of its inability to account for the first use by the creator or viewer. Positive suggestions for the role of models in the advancement of knowledge in Art & Design are found in Hertz's and Boltzmann's Formalist theory. This is developed to emphasise the social practice of the use of models, in preference to the traditional Illusionistic or Conventional analysis of their relationship to the objects they represent.


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