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Abstract

Value Sensitive Design (VSD) is a comprehensive framework for advancing a value-centered research and design agenda. It provides methods for producing and evaluating a design outcome by taking human values into account. Drawing on discourse ethics, this paper first critically analyzes the status quo in VSD and identifies some gaps. These mainly concern the lack of explicit methods for supporting a deliberative and legitimate process of decision making with respect to many concerns, including the identification of stakeholders, the legitimation of common design communication, the justification of trade-offs and/or a common regulation in case of competing or incommensurable values, as well as the deliberativeness of other design decisions such as the selection of design goals and means. In addition, this paper suggests ways to move VSD toward the standards of discourse ethics by drawing on the knowledge base of critical research in the Information Systems field. In particular, the suggestions concern the inclusion of a practical method for boundary critique and different types of discourses and principles as well as discourse support methods and tools for structuring participation in a way that allows participants to deal with the plurality of values, norms, goals and means deliberatively. Finally, this paper revisits a VSD case and explores the applicability of the ideas suggested.

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