Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Ethics, Values, and Technological Design

pp 267-299


Modeling for Design for Values


This chapter addresses societal implications of models and modeling in engineering design. The more standard question about well-known technical and epistemic modeling values, such as safety and validity, will be left to the standard literature. The sections “Introduction” and “Values in Modeling: Framing and Standard Views” discuss relevant societal norms and values and the ways in which they are model related. Additionally, standard points of view are discussed about the value-ladenness of models. The section “Value-Related Issues Emerging in Model Building and Use” shows various ways in which engineering models may turn out to have unforeseen societal consequences. An important way to avoid such consequences and deliberately model for values in a positive sense is to take models as special kinds of artifacts. This perspective enables modelers to apply designer methods and techniques and view a modeling problem as in need of an explicit list of design specifications. Doing so, modelers may apply forms of stakeholder analysis and participatory design. Additionally, they may apply well-known, hierarchical means-end techniques to explicate and operationalize the relevant values; doing so, they support discussions about them within and outside the design team. Finally, the model-as-artifact perspective stimulates modelers to produce technical documentation and user guides, which will decrease the negative effects of improper use. The chapter ends with a checklist of issues, which the documentation should cover if a modeling for values is taken seriously.


Model Value-ladenness Instrumental and derivative values Engineering, modeling, and societal and environmental values Accountability Affordance Model as artifact Modeling practices Participatory design, value identification, and implementation Value hierarchy Model documentation