Beth Lord’s article, “Spinoza and architectural thinking”, is now available online. It is published in a special issue of Intellectual History Review on Spinoza and Art, edited by Moira Gatens and Anthony Uhlmann.
Abstract: Although Spinoza makes few remarks about architecture, his use of architectural examples, understood in the context of his metaphysics and theory of knowledge, reveal the architect to be a distinctive kind of human thinker. In this paper I explore the kind of thinking the architect does, first by demonstrating that Spinoza distinguishes the architect’s adequate way of conceiving a building from inadequate ways of imagining one, and second by considering how Spinoza might have understood the architect to translate that adequate thinking into the practice of building and construction. I argue that for Spinoza, the architect integrates imaginative, rational, and intuitive thinking, and the parallel forms of bodily action, to understand and construct a building in its causal connections to its component materials, environment, and users. To understand the true idea of a building is therefore to understand its embeddedness in the world and its functional place in a network of modal relations.
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