American philosopher Nelson Goodman (1906-1998) was one of the foremost analytical thinkers of the twentieth century, with groundbreaking contributions in the fields of logic, philosophy of science, epistemology, and aesthetics. This book is an introduction to the aspects of Goodman’s philosophy which have been the most influential among architects and architectural theorists.
Goodman specifically discussed architecture in his major work on aesthetics, The Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of Symbols (1968), and in two essays "How Buildings Mean" (1985), and "On Capturing Cities" (1991). His main philosophical notions in Ways of Worldmaking (1978) also apply well to architecture. Goodman’s thought is particularly attractive because of its constructive aspect: there is not a given and immutable world, but both knowledge and reality are constantly built and rebuilt. Whereas other theories, such as deconstruction, implicitly entail an undoing of modern precepts, Goodman’s conception of world-making offers a positive, constructive way to understand how a plural reality is made and remade.
Goodman’s approach to architecture is not only relevant thinking in providing new insights to understanding the built environment, but serves also as an illustration of analytical thinking in architecture. This book shows that the methods, concepts, and ways of arguing characteristic of analytical philosophy are helpful tools to examine buildings in a novel and fruitful way and they will certainly enhance the architect’s critical skills when designing and thinking about architecture.
1. Introduction 2. When is Architecture? 3. Buildings as Symbols 4. Identity of Architectural Works 5. Buildings as Ways of Worldmaking Further Reading Bibliography Index
Architects have often looked to thinkers in philosophy and theory to find design ideas or in search of a critical framework for practice. Yet architects, and students of architecture, can struggle to navigate thinkers’ writings. It can be daunting to approach original texts with little appreciation of their contexts. And existing introductions seldom explore architectural material in any detail.
This original series offers clear, quick and accurate introductions to key thinkers who have written about architecture. Each book summarises what a thinker has to offer for architects. It locates their architectural thinking in the body of their work, introduces significant books and essays, helps decode terms and provides quick reference for further reading. If you find philosophical and theoretical writing about architecture difficult, or just don’t know where to begin, this series will be indispensable.
Books in the Thinkers for Architects series come out of architecture. They pursue architectural modes of understanding, aiming to introduce a thinker to an architectural audience. Each author in the series – an architect or an architectural critic – has focussed on a selection of a thinker’s writings which they judge most relevant to designers and interpreters of architecture. Thinkers for Architects has proved highly successful, now with over ten volumes dealing with familiar cultural figures whose writings have influenced architectural designers, critics and commentators in distinctive and important ways. The series continues to expand, addressing an increasingly rich diversity of contemporary thinkers who have something to say to architects.