1st Edition

Kōjin Karatani’s Philosophy of Architecture

By Nadir Lahiji Copyright 2024
    196 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    196 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In this book, Nadir Lahiji introduces Kōjin Karatani’s theoretical-philosophical project and demonstrates its affinity with Kant’s critical philosophy founded on ‘architectonic reason’. From the ancient Greeks we have inherited a definition of the word ‘philosophy’ as Sophia—wisdom. But in his book Architecture as Metaphor Kōjin Karatani introduces a different definition of philosophy. Here, Karatani critically defines philosophy not in association with Sophia but in relation to foundation as the Will to Architecture. In this novel definition resides the notion that in Western thought a crisis persistently reveals itself with every attempt to build a system of knowledge on solid ground. This book reveals the implications of this extraordinary exposition. This is the first book to uncover Kōjin Karatani’s highly significant ideas on architecture for both philosophical and architectural audiences.

    Introduction: From Sophia to the Will to Architecture

    1. Foundationalism, Reason, and Building Metaphor

    2. The Thing-in-Itself: Karatani and the Kantian Turn

    3. Kant on the Tower of Babel and the Architectonic of Pure Reason

    4. Architectonics and Mathematical Foundations

    5. Architecture and Conflict of the Faculties

    6. Constructivism: From Parmenides to Kant

    7. Marx and Architectonics

    8. The Architect and the Philosopher-King: A Reading of Paul Valéry


    Nadir Lahiji is an architect. He is most recently the author of Architecture in the Age of Pornography (Routledge, 2021), Architecture, Philosophy and the Pedagogy of Cinema (Routledge, 2021), Architecture or Revolution: Emancipatory Critique after Marx (Routledge, 2020), and An Architecture Manifesto: Critical Reason and Theories of a Failed Practice (Routledge, 2019). His previous publications include, among others, Adventures with the Theory of the Baroque and French Philosophy and the coauthored The Architecture of Phantasmagoria: Specters of the City.

    "Nadir Lahiji’s Kojin Karatani’s Philosophy of Architecture marks a pivotal moment in the understanding of the relationship between philosophy and architecture. Taking Kojin Karatani’s work at a starting point, Lahiji shows how theorizing architecture in philosophy allows us to discover precisely how theory and practice intersect in our ethical being."

    Todd McGowanauthor of Emancipation After Hegel

    "Nadir Lahiji's book is the kind of brilliant, erudite study of Kojin Karatani's work that we have long needed. A groundbreaking reassessment of the role played by the architectural metaphor in the history of philosophy, Lahiji shows how, in a series of radical new readings of Kant and Marx, Karatani compellingly defends a thought of architectonic reason against its various postmodern critics."

    Professor David Cunningham, University of Westminster

    "Lahiji, one of the sharpest theorists of architecture today, permits us to rethink the philosophical system of Kojin Karatani, from the standpoint of the will to architecture. While insisting on his 'theoretical system', Lahiji reconstructs Karatani’s system in a way that goes well beyond the very complicated and not much discussed relation between architecture and philosophy."
    Agon Hamza, co-author of Reading Hegel

    "In our postmodern era, philosophy is often denounced as the expression of some underlying will – the will to power, the will to rationalize and dominate the world, the will to ground ordinary and scientific knowledge in a deeper wisdom. In his outstanding elaboration of Karatani’s insights, Lahiji analyses the strength and the limit of this architectural metaphor. The combination of philosophy and architecture works as an explosive mixture which revolutionizes not only our notion of philosophy but also our elementary idea of reason. Kojin Karatani’s Philosophy of Architecture enables us to understand the roots of the crisis of reason which characterizes our historical epoch."

    Slavoj Žižek, Hegelian philosopher and Communist political activist