Spinoza and architectural thinking

Beth Lord* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract


Although Spinoza makes few remarks about architecture, his use of architectural examples, understood in the context of his metaphysics and theory of knowledge, reveal the architect to be a distinctive kind of human thinker. In this paper I explore the kind of thinking the architect does, first by demonstrating that Spinoza distinguishes the architect's adequate way of conceiving a building from inadequate ways of imagining one, and second by considering how Spinoza might have understood the architect to translate that adequate thinking into the practice of building and construction. I argue that for Spinoza, the architect integrates imaginative, rational, and intuitive thinking, and the parallel forms of bodily action, to understand and construct a building in its causal connections to its component materials, environment, and users. To understand the true idea of a building is therefore to understand its embeddedness in the world and its functional place in a network of modal relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-504
Number of pages16
JournalIntellectual History Review
Volume30
Issue number3
Early online date21 Apr 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Spinoza
  • architecture
  • building
  • art
  • adequate idea
  • inadequate idea
  • imagination
  • temple

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