The ethics of ethics and the ethics of architecture

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD5) 2016 Symposium
    EditorsPeter Jones
    PublisherSystemic Design Research Network
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
    EventRelating Systems Thinking and Design 2016 Symposium: Systemic Design for Social Complexity - OCAD, Toronto, Canada
    Duration: 13 Oct 201615 Oct 2016

    Publication series

    NameProceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium
    ISSN (Electronic)2371-8404


    ConferenceRelating Systems Thinking and Design 2016 Symposium
    Abbreviated titleRSD5
    Internet address

    Bibliographical note

    © 2016 by the respective authors, unless stated otherwise.


    • Ethics
    • Architecture
    • Design
    • Cybernetics
    • Systemic Design


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