Dr. P.E. (Pieter) Vermaas

Profile

In 1998 Pieter Vermaas joined the Ethics and Philosophy of Technology Department of Delft University of Technology after obtaining his PhD on the philosophy of quantum mechanics at the Institute for History and Foundations of Science of Utrecht University. In Delft I helped creating the Dual Nature of Technical Artifacts research program (2000-2005), in which technical artefacts were analysed as having both structural and intentional natures, with functions playing an important role in relating these natures. From 2006 to 2010 I researched with an NWO VIDI fellowship the use of functions and functional decompositions in engineering design methods. My current research focusses on design and is aimed at analysing design methods for understanding what design is and for validating design methods. I helped launching the TU Delft Institute for Design for Values in 2017, and its aim to further the incorporation of moral, societal and legal values in technology through design is a key focus in my research on design methods.

  • Associate Professor at the Ethics and Philosophy of Technology section
  • Member of the daily board of the Ethics and Philosophy of Technology section
  • Member of the executive board of the Delft Design for Values Institute 

Research

My current research in philosophy of technology at Delft University of Technology focusses on design. It is aimed at analysing design methods for understanding what design is and for determining how to validate design methods. Design methods give procedures to address problems and challenges in engineering, product development and architecture. In these original application domains design methods are held to be effective and efficient on the basis of precedence, consisting of past successful designs obtained with the methods. Design methods are nowadays also seen as promising procedures to address problems and challenges in new domains such as business, policy and the social realm. The successes in their original domains and the extensions to new domain raise questions about how to validate design methods more generally and critically. 

More information

  • Critical Reflection on Technology (TU Delft Master’s Honours Track)
  • Ethics and Safety in Maritime Engineering (Ethiek en Veiligheid in de Scheepsbouw; bachelor Maritime Engineering, TU Delft)
  • Value-Sensitive Design (bachelor minor Sustainable Design Engineering, TU Delft)
  • Workgroups in ethics and scientific methodology courses at various Faculties of TU Delft
  • Philosophy of Technology (for the University of Twente Master Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society)

  • Vermaas, P.E. (2017) The Societal Impact of the Emerging Quantum Technologies: A Renewed Urgency to Make Quantum Theory Understandable, Ethics and Information Technology 19, 241-246.
  • Eloy, S., P.E. Vermaas and M. Andrade (2017) The Quality of Designs by Shape Grammar Systems and Architects: A Comparative Test on Refurbishing Lisbon’s Rabo-de-Bacalhau Apartments, Journal of Architectural and Planning Research 34, 271–294.
  • Vermaas, P.E. (2016) A Logical Critique of the Expert Position in Design Research: Beyond Expert Justification of Design Methods and Towards Empirical Validation, Design Science 2, e7.
  • Vermaas, P.E., P. Hekkert, N. Manders-Huits and N. Tromp (2015) Methods for Design for Moral Values, in J. van den Hoven, P.E. Vermaas and I. van de Poel (eds.) Handbook of Ethics, Values and Technological Design (Dordrecht: Springer), pp. 179-201.
  • Vermaas, P.E. (2014) Design Theories, Models and Their Testing: On the Scientific Status of Design Research, in A. Chakrabarti and L.T.M. Blessing (eds.) An Anthology of Theories and Models of Design: Philosophy, Approaches and Empirical Explorations (London: Springer), pp. 47-66.
  • Houkes, W., and P.E. Vermaas (2014) On What Is Made: Instruments, Products and Natural Kinds of Artefacts, in M. Franssen, P. Kroes, T.A.C. Reydon and P.E. Vermaas (eds.) Artefact Kinds: Ontology and the Human-Made World, vol. 365 of Synthese Library (Dordrecht: Springer), pp. 167-190.
  • Vermaas, P.E. (2013) On the Co-Existence of Engineering Meanings of Function: Four Responses and Their Methodological Implications, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing 27, 191-202.
  • Vermaas, P.E. (2013) On the Formal Impossibility of Analysing Subfunctions as Parts of Functions in Design Methodology, Research in Engineering Design 24, 19-32.
  • Vermaas, P.E., D. van Eck and P. Kroes (2013) The Conceptual Elusiveness of Engineering Functions: A Philosophical Analysis, Philosophy and Technology 26, 159-185.
  • Houkes, W., and P.E. Vermaas (2010) Technical Functions: On the Use and Design of Artefacts (Dordrecht: Springer).

  • More publications

Delft Design for Values Institute
I helped create the Delft Design for Values Institute, established in 2017, and since 2018 I am its executive director.

The Delft Design for Values Institute brings together expertise at TU Delft with incorporating moral, societal and legal values in technologies and products through their design. And the Institute aims at advancing design for values by research, development of courses, and organising research events and academic visits. It will be a portal for design for values expertise and for projects for industry, society and governmental organisations.

Delft University of Technology Vision Team Quantum Society
I chair the Vision Team Quantum Society, a one-year project launched by the Executive Board of Delft University of Technology. This Vision Team explores the impacts on society of the emerging quantum technologies as developed at Delft University of Technology.

Monographs

  • Vermaas, P., P. Kroes, I. van de Poel, M. Franssen and W. Houkes (2011) A Philosophy of Technology: From Technical Artefacts to Sociotechnical Systems (Morgan & Claypool).
  • Houkes, W., and P.E. Vermaas (2010) Technical Functions: On the Use and Design of Artefacts (Dordrecht: Springer).
  • Vermaas, P., P. Kroes, I. van de Poel, M. Franssen and W. Houkes (2009) Kernthema’s in de Technische Wetenschap, in Wetenschapsfilosofie in Context (Amsterdam: Boom).
  • Vermaas, P.E. (1999) A Philosopher’s Understanding of Quantum Mechanics: Possibilities and Impossibilities of a Modal Interpretation(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Edited volumes

  • Vermaas, P.E., and S. Vial (eds.) (2018) Advancements in the Philosophy of Design (Dordrecht: Springer), 564 pp.
  • Franssen, M., P.E. Vermaas, P. Kroes and A. Meijers (eds.) (2016) Philosophy of Technology after the Empirical Turn (Dordrecht: Springer).
  • Franssen, M., P. Kroes, T.A.C. Reydon and P.E. Vermaas (eds.) (2014) Artefact Kinds: Ontology and the Human-Made World (Dordrecht: Springer).
  • Vermaas, P.E., and V. Dignum (eds.) (2011) Formal Ontologies Meet Industry: Proceedings of the Fifth International Workshop (FOMI 2011) (Amsterdam: IOS Press).
  • Vermaas, P.E., P. Kroes, A. Light and S.A. Moore (eds.) (2008) Philosophy and Design: From Engineering to Architecture(Dordrecht: Springer).
  • Scheele, M., and P.E. Vermaas (eds.) (2003) Handelingsontwerpers: Een Wijsgerige Visie op Ingenieurswerk (Best: Damon).
  • Dieks, D., and P.E. Vermaas (eds.) (1998) The Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers). 

Pieter Vermaas

Associate Professor

Department:
Values, Technology and Innovation

Section:
Safety and Security Science

Research interests:
Design for values
Valorisation of design methods and tools
Functional modelling in engineering
Sociotechnical systems
Quantem technology


Additional information

Dr. P.E. Vermaas

publications
Publications in Pure
subjects
2005 - Milieufilosofie
2006 - Modern Techniques and Design of Philosophy
2011 - Critical Reflection on Technology
2014 - Critical Reflection on Technology
2013 - Ethics and Safety in Ship Building
2012 - Ethics and Safety in Ship Building
2014 - Ethics and Safety in Ship Building
2014 - 2e Integratie Project
2014 - Ethiek en Veiligheid tentamen
2015 - Ethics and Safety in Ship Building
2012 - Critical Reflection on Technology
2013 - Critical Reflection on Technology
2015 - 2e Integratie Project
2017 - Academic Skills 1 Architecture as Scientific Discipline
2016 - Critical Reflection on Technology
2016 - Critical Reflection on Technology
2017 - Ethics and Engineering for Aerospace Engineering
2017 - 2e Integratie Project
2015 - Critical Reflection on Technology
2018 - 2e Integratie Project
2015 - Ethiek en Veiligheid tentamen
2017 - Critical Reflection on Technology
2016 - 2e Integratie Project
2016 - Ethiek en Veiligheid tentamen
2016 - Value sensitive design
2017 - Philosophy of engineering science and design
2018 - Value sensitive design
2018 - Academic Skills 1 Architecture as Scientific Discipline
2019 - Academic Skills 1 Architecture as Scientific Discipline
2016 - Philosophy of engineering science and design
2018 - Ethics and Engineering for Aerospace Engineering
2015 - Critical Reflection on Technology
2017 - Value sensitive design
2018 - Critical Reflection on Technology
2019 - Critical Reflection on Technology
2019 - Critical Reflection on Technology
2019 - Ethics and Engineering for Aerospace Engineering
2019 - 2e Integratie Project
2019 - Quantum Technology and Responsible Innovation
ancillary activities
Editor/Columnist/Journalist/Publicist - Springer

2018-01-01 - 2020-01-01