David Kolb

Postmodern Sophistications: Philosophy, Architecture, and Tradition

Publication: Postmodern Sophistications: Philosophy, Architecture, and Tradition , (Postmodern Sophistications: Philosophy, Architecture, and Tradition. University of Chicago Press, 1990.)

Essays that challenge the purity of modern self-conceptions and the idea that we can float free above history as sovereign choosers or ironic observers. But they also challenge the fixity of tradition, and Plato’s idea that we must choose either to search for absolute foundations or be overwhelmed by a swirl of competing powers and persuasions. After studying these issues as they show up in recent “modern” and “postmodern” thinkers, the book’s essays apply these ideas to questions about architecture and city planning, where these dilemmas are lived concretely: do we continue to build in historical styles? Or create a new abstract style that foresakes history? Or flit about picking and combining bits of old styles that strike our fancy or pique our ironic wit? How do we respond creatively? And how do this together in a plural society?

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