The design of nothing: A working philosophy

Paul A. Rodgers, Jonathan Bremner

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)


In an era of digital production and disruption this chapter probes how design might now best labour under a philosophy of nothing. Nothing is a pronoun for something and nothing is now the derivative project for design. As such design requires a new form of inquiry to produce new insights and a new working philosophy from the design of nothing. Design was inserted into the digital stage called social commerce as an essential component for the production and exchange of nothing and lies at the core of service. That is, the production of nothing requires, and produces, nothing but the logistics of nothing. The design and production of nothing has disrupted the philosophy of design – its histories, its apprenticeship to the project for a ‘better world’, Simon’s (The Sciences of the Artificial, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1969) ‘preferred state’, its devotion to fashion, and so on, and having dismantled ‘industry’, nothing has produced its most beguiling product yet, the fixation of capital production without a product. In the era of the production of nothing design, a discipline of now questionable utility, product of the derivative, operating in conditional space, has collapsed its scope into the belief in universal innovation, and must now develop a new operative philosophy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvancements in the Philosophy of Design
EditorsPieter Vermaas, Stephane Vial
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherSpringer-Verlag London Ltd.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783319733029
ISBN (Print)9783319733012
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 03 Mar 2018

Publication series

NameDesign Research Foundations

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  • Cite this

    Rodgers, P. A., & Bremner, J. (2018). The design of nothing: A working philosophy. In P. Vermaas, & S. Vial (Eds.), Advancements in the Philosophy of Design (pp. 549-564). (Design Research Foundations). Springer-Verlag London Ltd..