If the echidna’s coat is a product of natural selection at some time, T, then the coat has been selected for (something or other) under whatever are the relevant environmental conditions that have obtained for some period up to T.

If a building design or a building is selected at T, however, it is selected in anticipation that the proposed or actual building will satisfy (in some degree) certain purposes, under environmental conditions that will, or are likely to, obtain for some period after T. Organisms are thus selected or designed and built for the past; artifacts, on the other hand, are selected or designed and built for the future.

This is just one of the ways in which selection, function and design in Nature is different from culture.

The aim of this research is to tease out these differences and understand their implications for the nature of artifacts and the philosophy of design.

Project members

Gregory Bamford

Dr Gregory Bamford

Honorary Senior Fellow
School of Architecture, Design and Planning