Putting Values in Context
an augmentation of Value Sensitive Design (VSD)
It is increasingly recognized that human values play an essential role in engineering design. Recent literature in the ethics of technology has focused on spelling out the role of values in different fields of engineering. Value Sensitive Design (VSD), as a well-established approach, aims to systematically integrate human values into technologies and engineering products. Although there is significant attention to stakeholders in VSD, how contexts may affect what stakeholders perceive as values deserves more attention. It seems that there is an implicit tendency to universality in the studies of VSD and it is often assumed implicitly that values have the same meaning in different contexts and in different cultures. Therefore, while the concept of cultural relativism and its difference to universalism has been taken into account, we propose paying explicit attention to the contextual sense of values, namely the interpretation, prioritization and perception of values that have their basis in the specific contexts in which they are implemented, for instance, in a specific cultural or religious setting. Building on the proposed categorization of contextual sense of values in which their evolution has shown, we aim to shed light on what these contextual senses entail and how an explicit focus on contextuality could improve VSD. It will be argued that contextually looking at VSD may make it more flexible in dealing with the different contexts/cultures.
Copyright (c) 2021 Mostafa Saket
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