AHST 440 Philosophy of Architecture

This seminar begins with a consideration of philosophy as a foundation for the development of an architectural theory. After a discussion of some basic concepts and terms we sketch a broad outline of the categories and organization of the discipline of philosophy. We then study the rationalist and empiricist positions in architectural theory, the emergence of Kantian critical philosophy, the shift in emphasis in 20th century philosophy from epistemology to ontology that is characteristic of Existentialism, and the late 20th century attack on traditional epistemology characteristic of poststructuralism. We then discuss the emergence of literary theory as a paradigmatic discipline in the last 30 years as well as the expansion of western philosophy to include aspects of Zen Buddhism, Taoism, and eastern mystical traditions. With this foundation, the course focuses more specifically on theories of architecture and aesthetics and their relationships to various philosophical positions.