Let me approach this from another angle. Form equals function can be approached from both sides of the equation. Form leading to function is more likely to be subjective, compared to function leading to form. Function has a goal in mind, with certain designs more optimized. If you start with form first, there is more room for subjectivity.
As an example, what is the function of the tool below, with the picture showing its form? Is it an old fashion pizza cutter? Is it a type of key that was used to wind a clock? Is it a type of wrench to tighten something? When the form is unusual, similar, and/or unknown, the function is not so clear cut. This can lead to subjectivity and debate. If the function is not settled, the debate can become more about an appeal to emotions to win the favor of the audience. The audience may settle for the answer given by the most confident because it is not yet settled.
Let us now start from the function side. The function is, we a need a tool to do a very specific task. One might try many things or many forms for the tool to see what works. As time goes on, the form starts to narrow into the form that is most optimizes the function; there is a cause and effect with less subjectivity. The picture is of a wood working tool, that can chew away at wood.
The current discussion/debate is not about right and wrong, but it is really about approaching form equals function, from both sides. The path of form leading to function and function leading to form. I often complain how liberalism tends to add social costs; form that leads to unoptimized functionality; high costs. Form leading to function is creative and can be useful for brain storming. However, unless it is also optimized to function, it may become an old fashion pizza cutter, which creates a lot of waste; jagged slices.
As an example, say the tool below was bought at a yard sale. One person might bring it home and use it to hammer tacks. This may become its new function within that household, with that person getting good at this. This can sort of work, but this is not the best tool for that job. His neighbor, who also bought one ,might uses it as door stop. This also may work, but again there are better forms for that function. The carpenter who is knows historical tools would think these functions are strange and reflect naivety. He would place function before form. This may sound insulting to the neighbors who have subjectivity settled on their function. They may even think this is an insult because all is relative; subjective.
If we go back to the original discussion of dress up, the path of form leading to function, makes dress up all subjective. It is up to the individuals to dress for fun or shock value. But from the path of function leading to form, one is looking for an optimization; logical explanation. What is that tool designed for; reverse engineer what function is needed of this tool form. This can lead to misunderstanding because its optimization does not have the same subjective liberty, but can pigeon hole it. Using the wood working tool as a hammer, when this is not a good hammer design, makes the carpenter think this person is odd. He is not thinking form equals function, therefore my neighbor is a free creative spirit.
Edited by HydrogenBond, 28 March 2015 - 05:46 AM.