Design as enclosure: Draft of a phenomenology of artifice | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1477-965X
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9533



This article drafts a phenomenology of artifice, an interpretation of Human Being and Human Practice, based on the extraordinary claim that design is not the initiator of change, creation and diversity, but it is the essential humanistic quality to compensate the irresistible precession, to regulate the inevitable transformation and divergence of the World. Inspired by the Sufism conception of Human Being, the argument here relies on the theory of a gradual disclosure from the kernel of Universal Man, the complete and Perfect Man of unity and continuity, down to the local man of differences, discontinuity and diversity. Sufism presents a phenomenology of appearing, describing a process of disclosure motivated by a mystical passion ‘to be known’, where in the beginning the Being is manifested on the Universal Man, that then degraded and diversified down to the local man, its Self, his or her community and his or her instruments. The article presents the Universal Man disclosing, and the local man enclosing in three grades that are aligned in conditional priority where the former enables the later one: (1) The Proximate Potentials, (2) The Mediate Linguals and (3) The Distant Actuals. The enclosed species of those layers are introduced as the primal categories of artefacts: (a) future contemplations out of the potentials, (b) present conversations out of the linguals and (c) past constructions out of the actuals. Towards the end, the article carries the discussion on how the Ur-Disclosure brings the inevitable conditional precedence of the future over the past; the future potentials come before the linguals of now and the past actuals follow after. So, it is claimed that anything new principally deviates from the future, from something already exists potentially on the proximate grade, where the Universal Man degrades into the unitary Selves. In the conclusion, it is proposed that design processes can not disclose, create and image anything but enclose, cover and regulate the genesis. The theory of gradual disclosure from the Universal Man to the local individual mainstreams the experience of ability presenting potential ability as a universal human experience that can be actualized by proper practice.


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