This tag is associated with 25 posts

The well tempered intellectual

I was pleased to read Alberto Perez-Gomez’s recent book Attunement: Architectural Meaning After the Crisis of Modern Science which endorses the pivotal importance of attunement, emotion, mood and Stimmung in architecture. In fact Alberto’s book came out at the same time as my Mood and Mobility: Navigating the Emotional Spaces of Digital Social Networks, both with MIT … Continue reading

Nature as the site of hermeneutical play

Metaphors can be playful, and observers of nature commonly refer to metaphors of play: “we find talk of the play of light, the play of the waves,” and “the play of gnats” (104). This is a passing reference to play in nature by the hermeneutical philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer as he affirmed the importance and ubiquity of play. … Continue reading

The great debate debate

The European Commission is hosting debates around Europe at the moment: “Citizens’ Dialogues, in the style of town-hall debates, are taking place across the EU. Feel free to come along – it’s ‘first come, first served’!” Dialogue is good, but is debate always the best model for promoting public engagement? When I was in primary … Continue reading

The hermeneutical intractability of Asimov’s three laws of robotics

In his sci-fi detective mystery, I, Robot, Isaac Asimov writes: “Powell’s radio voice was tense in Donovan’s ear: ‘Now, look, let’s start with the three fundamental Rules of Robotics — the three rules that are built most deeply into a robot’s positronic brain.’ The rules follow. A robot may not injure a human being or, … Continue reading

Introducing hermeneutics to an architectural audience

Hermeneutics is of course simply the study of interpretation — what interpretation is, and how it works. But to study hermeneutics requires you to come to terms with the philosophies of Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Paul Ricoeur. To gain entry into hermeneutical discourse the scholar needs to come to terms with a particular collection of books and essays (a … Continue reading

Design hermeneutics revisited

What’s the difference between an artwork and a design? The worst insult you can give to a work of art is to ignore it. The worse thing you can do to a design is to treat it as a work of art — i.e. not to use it. This is an argument advanced by philosopher Nicholas … Continue reading

The big book of hermeneutics

“[U]nderstanding is always a standing somewhere, and it is this standing somewhere that underlies understanding itself” (355).That’s a clever statement by philosopher Jeff Malpas describing the circumstances of interpretation. We always interpret a book, painting, play or a building from some position or other — within a horizon; and so Malpas links hermeneutics (the study of interpretation) to … Continue reading

Even more radical pedagogy

This week Beatriz Colomina spoke at the Andrew Carnegie Lecture Series at the University of Edinburgh on radical pedagogy. That prompted me to rush to Jacques Rancière’s book The Ignorant Schoolmaster, which she referenced. The book is a satirical quasi-historical account of an actual nineteenth century French schoolteacher who practiced liberal teaching methods, and sought to emancipate … Continue reading

What’s wrong with the digital humanities

I’ve just read the online Digital Humanities Manifesto (2011). I wouldn’t have, were it not that Stanley Fish, the doyen and defender of the humanities, references it in his guest Opinionator blog post (2012). The Digital Humanities Manifesto appears with anonymous authorship on a dormant Wordpress blog site attached to the UCLA Digital Humanities research and teaching centre. … Continue reading

Why experts are better than algorithms

Why are experts inferior to algorithms? This is the question posed by Daniel Kahneman in his influential book Thinking Fast and Slow. Kahneman argues that in many cases mechanical procedures provide better decisions than human experts, a view that ostensibly challenges the tenets of philosophical hermeneutics. The hermeneutical thesis is that expert judgement involves taking a … Continue reading