Ben Sweeting
University of Brighton
In designing architecture we put forward ways in which to live, enabling particularpatterns of living while limiting other possibilities. In this sense architecture has anormative function and can be compared to the way that ethical theories and moralcodes purport to guide us on how to live. Given this, I suggest that ethical reflectionabout how we design—and in particular about how we constitute the relationshipbetween designers and those they design for—can be used to help formulate ethicalquestions regarding how we speak and reason about ethics itself. Recognising Heinz vonFoerster’s criticisms of moral codes as an instance of this, I use the example of designingarchitecture to challenge and extend von Foerster’s position, suggesting the recursiveapplication of ethics to its own discourse.
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