[Haskell-cafe] the problem of design by negation

Conal Elliott conal at conal.net
Mon May 25 01:02:42 EDT 2009

The main objection I have to the negative process (can't be done) is that is
so often bogus.  "Proof by lack of imagination".  I guess it works for
Richard, though not for Michael's architect, because Richard is able to
catch his bogus reasoning *and he is willing*** to do so, which requires
humility and ego-strength.

   - Conal

On Sun, May 24, 2009 at 6:35 PM, Michael P Mossey <mpm at alumni.caltech.edu>wrote:

> Richard O'Keefe wrote:
>> Design-by-negativity can *be* a way of being creative.
>> I've lost count of the number of times that I've been
>> explaining to someone why something can't be done, and
>> suddenly realised that one of the reasons was invalid
>> and seen how to do it.
>> The key is not whether you explore the design space
>> from a positive end or from a negative end, but whether
>> you *explore* it.
> Hi Richard,
> I think we using "positive" and "negative" in a bit of a different sense
> (which may be my fault for not explaining perfectly in the first post).
> There are both positive and negative *facts* about design. There are things
> you can do, and things you can't. These are facts. I'm referring more to a
> specific kind of process (a specific kind of exploration)---in my terms,
> "design by negation" means that you dominant activity in design in cutting
> away possibilities, and what's left (however awkward) is what you must
> build. I have done this by habit, but I would like to shift into a mode of
> design that is focused on construction rather than destruction---to view
> design as an opportunity to meet most goals by clever combining of facets.
> Thanks,
> Mike
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