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Architectural Design between Ethics and Aesthetics

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Technical artefacts are a topic for moral philosophy as much as crimes and other misdemeanors. After all, their design and structure matter a lot for human wellbeing and dignity – for example, whether they function well, how they affect the environment, or whether they seduce people into committing abuses. Architectural artefacts are no exception in this respect; from the ethical perspective, we can distinguish moral and immoral buildings. But with architecture, things are particularly complicated: Often the criteria for good and for moral architecture seem to pull in different directions – many ʻgreenʼ buildings are architecturally undistinguished, to say the least, and some of the finest buildings are morally questionable. Should, then, ethics be subordinated to aesthetic quality or vice versa? Existential riddles like these call for philosophy to solve all problems; or at least that is what philosophers like to believe.

This talk is part of the Martin Centre Research Seminar Series series.

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