Design for values and conceptual engineering

Herman Veluwenkamp, Jeroen van den Hoven

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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Politicians and engineers are increasingly realizing that values are important in the development of technological artefacts. What is often overlooked is that different conceptualizations of these abstract values lead to different design-requirements. For example, designing social media platforms for deliberative democracy sets us up for technical work on completely different types of architectures and mechanisms than designing for so-called liquid or direct forms of democracy. Thinking about Democracy is not enough, we need to design for the proper conceptualization of these values. As we see it, we cannot responsibly engineer and innovate and shape technology in accordance with our moral values without engaging in systematic and continuous conceptual engineering: This is not only an academic, or theoretical issue, it is also not simply an issue for public policy or politics, or regulators, it has become a central problem for engineering and the world of technology. In this paper, we present a framework for doing the necessary conceptual work in the context of requirement engineering. We draw on the literature on conceptual engineering to lay out a methodology to (1) assess different conceptions and (2) to develop new conceptions. Moreover, we integrate this methodology with extant approaches in the philosophy of technology which aim at designing technological artefacts ethically. In the final section we apply this integrated framework to freedom in the context of social media networks.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Number of pages12
JournalEthics and Information Technology
Issue number1
Early online date3-Jan-2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2023


  • Conceptual engineering
  • Design for Values
  • Control
  • Freedom
  • innovation
  • Value sensitive design

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