Architecture and undecidability
SWEETING, BEN (2010) Architecture and undecidability In: University of Brighton, Faculty of Arts Research Festival, Provocations, 28-29th June, 2010, Sallis Benney Theatre, University of Brighton, UK. (Submitted)
Official URL: http://arts.brighton.ac.uk/research/research-event...
One way of characterising modernity is that it is suffused by arbitrariness and relativism. It is seldom possible to rationally justify one’s actions from incontestable first principles nor are there remaining any established conventions or traditions which are not themselves contestable; instead we are responsible for our own choices and cannot rely merely on some other authority (see for instance Sartre, 1948, p. 36-8). This freedom can be regarded either as a wonderful opportunity or a paralysing responsibility or indeed as both. Something as complex as architecture cannot therefore be determined merely through rational deduction from first principles. But if architecture cannot be determined in this way, how then do designers work? How can designers appropriately resolve those aspects of what they are designing that are either so under-constrained that it does not matter how they resolve them or so over-constrained that there is no way to resolve them satisfactorily? Is design necessarily completely subjective? And how can we deal with the ethical questions that this subjectivity raises?
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