“Questioning the nature of design activity, through Alasdair MacIntyre’s account of the concept of practice.”


Sébastien Proulx
Published July 2019


This study examines the nature of design as a professional activity with regard to Christopher Higgins’ conceptualization of what counts as a practice. Inspired by the work of American moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, Higgins identified 14 criteria to determine if an activity can be considered a practice or not. As MacIntyre suggested in his book After Virtue (2007), practice consists of socially established human activities that respond to recognized norms of excellence. Under the tutelage of that model, our study suggests that design, in the current state of things, cannot genuinely claim itself to be a practice.

Cite this article

Proulx, S. (2019). Questioning the Nature of Design Activity Through Alasdair MacIntyre’s Account of the Concept of Practice. The Design Journal22(5), 649-664.