Beth Lord on Spinoza and architectural thinking

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.

A limited number of free e-prints are available for those without institutional access to Intellectual History Review. Please contact the author at for further information.

Spinoza and Aesthetics conference

spinoza research network

Friday April 21, 2017

INTRODUCTION | JB Shank | University of Minnesota 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

WORKSHOP I | Arun Saldanha | University of Minnesota: Spinoza’s Geography of Bodies: Global Capitalism and the Responsibility to Revolt
Respondents| Harshit Rathi + Joseph Bermas-Dawes  11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

LUNCH BREAK 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

WORKSHOP II | Peg Rawes| University College London: Dissimilarity: Spinoza’s Ethical Ratios and Housing Welfare. Respondents| Anjali Ganapathy + Austin Young  2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

COFFEE BREAK 3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

WORKSHOP III | Susan Ruddick| University of Toronto: A/Synchronic Earth: Spinoza and the Spatial Aesthetic of the Anthropocene. Respondents| Kai Bosworth + Lindsey Weber   4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

135 Nicholson Hall | University of Minnesota

For information: Cesare Casarino:, Anjali Ganapathy:
Co-sponsored by the Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World; the Department of…

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Peg Rawes’ upcoming events

On 20 March 2017, Peg will be giving an invited talk on the film and project: ‘Housing Biopolitics and Care’ for the Architecture Space and Society Centre, Department of Art History, Birkbeck, University of London. 

 On 19 April 2017, she will give an invited talk to the Department of Architecture, University of Ames, Ames, Ohio, US, and on 21 April, an invited Keynote at the University of Minnesota.