Publication 1714

Foerster H. von (1989) The Need of Perception for the Perception of Needs. LEONARDO 22(2): 223–226. Fulltext at
The author uses physiological, psychological and clinical examples to place the aesthetic problem of architecture within an ethical context. Drawing on a clinical report and an experiment in perception, he argues that perception consists largely of invention on the part of the perceiver. He disputes the possibility of an objective reality, linking the popular belief in objectivity to a desire to avoid responsibility. He outlines the opposition between objectivity and ethics and, likewise, between “monologic” and “dialogic.” His discussion of the distinction between denotation and connotation leads to conclusions concerning the role of ethics in architecture.


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