The Ethics of Ethics and the Ethics of Architecture

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Ben Sweeting

In designing architecture we put forward ways in which to live, enabling particular patterns of living while limiting other possibilities. In this sense architecture has a normative function and can be compared to the way that ethical theories and moral codes purport to guide us on how to live. Given this, I suggest that ethical reflection about how we design—and in particular about how we constitute the relationship between designers and those they design for—can be used to help formulate ethical questions regarding how we speak and reason about ethics itself. Recognising Heinz von Foerster’s criticisms of moral codes as an instance of this, I use the example of designing architecture to challenge and extend von Foerster’s position, suggesting the recursive application of ethics to its own discourse.

Posted September 2016

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RSD proceedings are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

Suggested Citation Format (APA)

Author(s) (20XX). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSDX) Symposium. rsdsymposium.org/LINK.

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