Natural design

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Natural design is an approach to psychology and biology that holds that concepts such as "motivation", "emotion", "inner feeling", "development", "adaptation" refer not to down-reductive explanations of things but to up-reductive descriptions of patterns of which those things are part. It has its roots in philosophical behaviorism and the new realism. It also refers to an holistic approach to Design called for by Prof David W. Orr (Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics, Oberlin College USA) [1] and developed for research practice by Prof Seaton Baxter (Emeritus Professor for the Study of Natural Design, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee). [2]


Natural design has attribution to the process of natural selection. All species have been designed based on their life situation in order to have more offspring. This resulted as only better designed organisms can be found today because natural selection is only limited by the rapidity of environment change and the capacity of the genes to generate variation. Moreover, the theory of evolution by natural selection can some how explain the behavior of animals.[3]

Studying of behavior[edit]

Darwinism, psychologist who studies in behavior, stated two consequences of studying behavior.

  1. Conceptual consequence of breaking the mind and design. The presence of design was no longer evidence of an intending mind if Darwinism was correct. Therefore, design could exist by itself.
  1. Break down of the dualism and the partition that hitherto had existed between psychology and biology. Each discipline now could explain the preferred domain of the other such as instinct and natural selection can be used to human behavior and intentions are able to explain animal behavior.

These two results provided two competing systems for study of behavior and evolved into ethology and further evolved into comparative psychology.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ David W. Orr, (2002) "The Nature of Design: Ecology, Culture, and Human Intention". Oxford University Press, USA
  2. ^ Baxter, S. (2006), The Way to Natural Design: Learning to see and Confront the Bigger Design Questions, Enhancing Curricula, 3rd International CLTAD Conference, 6-7 April ‘06, Lisbon, Portugal.
  3. ^ N.S. Thompson, (1987) Natural Design and the Future of Comparative Psychology. Journal of Comparative Psychology. 101, , 282-286.
  4. ^ N.T. Thompson, (1987) Natural Design and the Future of Comparative Psychology. Journal of Comparative Psychology. 101, , 282-286.