Saturday, 14 May 2016

Things, buildings, and cities - My talk at ISPA conference 2016

I am very pleased to give a talk at the 3rd International Conference of the International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture. The conference will be held in Bamberg (Germany, July 20-23). Here's the abstract of my talk:
Buildings are frequently regarded as artifacts. While they do not fall in the narrow understanding of artifacts as „simple, hand-made objects which represent a particular culture“ (Hipline 2011), they obviously qualify as human-made objects. My paper will consist of two parts. In the first paper, I will argue that it is reasonable to consider cities as artifacts. More precisely, on a certain level of abstraction a city can be understood as a complex artifact made up from lower level artifacts including buildings. In the second part, I will start to explore the implications of the idea that things (in the sense of: individual artifacts in common understanding), buildings, and cities can be considered as artifacts with regards to the validity of knowledge transfer between the Philosophy of Design / Technology (‚things‘), the Philosophy of Architecture (‚buildings‘) and the Philosophy of the City. Especially by Philosophers of Technology seem to be tempted to transfer insights about (technological) artefacts from their field to the field of Philosophy of Architecture and Philosophy of the City (e.g., Borgmann 2006, Dorrestijn & Verbeek 2013). I will use the challenges presented to larger scale artefacts to the mediation theory (Verbeek 2011) as an example to initiate a discussion on why and how size matters. Verbeek’s approach has been chosen as an example, because of the specific emphasis given to human expirience in the framework.