A complexity theory of design intentionality

Theodore Zamenopoulos


The subject of this paper is design intentionality. The paper is concerned with the property of the mind to hold intentional states (its capacity to represent or reflect existing and nonexisting realities) and with the way that these mental states are constructed during design tasks. The aim is to develop a mathematical theory of design intentionality, capturing the structures and processes that characterize an intentional system with the mental ability to address design tasks. The philosophical notion of intentionality is approached methodologically from a complexity theoretic perspective. More specifically, the focus is placed on the mathematical characterization of the organizational complexity of intentional states and the type of phase transitions that occur on the mental states of an intentional system during design tasks. The paper uses category theory in order to build a framework that is able to mathematically capture the meaning of these notions.

(Received July 26 2008)
(Accepted January 07 2011)

Correspondence: Reprint requests to: Theodore Zamenopoulos, Department of Design, Development, Environment and Materials, Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK. E-mail: t.zamenopoulos@open.ac.uk