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On the Ruins of BabelArchitectural Metaphor in German Thought$
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Daniel Purdy

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801476761

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801476761.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
On the Ruins of Babel
Author(s):

Daniel L. Purdy

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801476761.003.0001

This introductory chapter describes the empathetic identification between buildings and humans. Moreover, it argues that this analogy goes in both ways: not only are buildings often designed to appear human, but subjectivity is often described in the language of architecture. Although the tradition of describing inner states with architectural terms can be traced back to the New Testament, this chapter—as well as the book as a whole—focuses primarily on eighteenth-century perspectives on the body/building metaphors. In fact, eighteenth-century philosophy's reliance on architecture to describe inner life came full circle as these new structures of subjectivity were incorporated into the Enlightenment's empathy-driven theories of architectural good taste.

Keywords:   buildings, humans, subjectivity, architecture, Enlightenment, architectural terms, inner life, eighteenth-century philosophy

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