Delaying Obsolescence

Science and Engineering Ethics 21 (2):401-427 (2015)
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Abstract

This paper argues that those who emphasise that designers and engineers need to plan for obsolescence are too conservative. Rather, in addition to planning for obsolescence, designers and engineers should also think carefully about what they could do in order delay obsolescence. They should so this by thinking about the design itself, thinking of ways in which products could be useful and appealing for longer before becoming obsolete, as well thinking about the wider context in terms of the marketing of products, and also the social and legal. The paper also considers objections that these suggestions are unrealistically idealistic, failing to recognise the economic realities. I respond to these objections appealing to research in advertising, psychology, cognitive linguistics, philosophy, history, and economics, as well as drawing on the Statement of Ethical Principles developed by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Engineering Council

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Rob Lawlor
University of Leeds

Citations of this work

The Absurdity of Economists’ Sacrifice-free Solutions to Climate Change.Rob Lawlor - 2016 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 19 (3):350-365.

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References found in this work

The Oxford dictionary of philosophy.Simon Blackburn - 1994 - Oxford ;: Oxford University Press.
Braybrooke on Needs.Brock Gillian - 1994 - Ethics 104 (4):811-823.

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