Some thoughts on Aesthetics


At the centre of our notion of design as an art, of art itself and consequently of architectural composition and design quality in manufactured things lies the idea of aesthetics as a generator of value and a branch of philosophy.  The nature of aesthetics and aesthetic sensibility have been the subject of many treatises throughout history.  During the Renaissance the subject was considered in great depth in connection with music, painting, sculpture and architecture.  Analogies passed backwards and forwards between these arts and this proved useful in clarifying concepts and sensibilities. Continue reading Some thoughts on Aesthetics

Towards a sustainable worldview




The diagram offers a starting point for organising thoughts about the world of experience, the individuals place in it and perception of it and consequently what activities and actions might ensue. I have been impressed by David Abram’s argument that we should not let the scientific objective view dominate our viewpoint, but should start from a subjective, engaged standpoint. So my diagram starts with the idea of circumstance as the initial global realisation of what we perceive and engage with, or, more simply, where we find ourselves. it is always “provisional”  -not “absolute”.

Continue reading Towards a sustainable worldview

Artefacts, technology and nature

Field in Norfolk: This is an artefact that we casually think of as natural.


Thinking of value and significance as qualities deriving from human appreciation, we realize that there is a difference in the way we appreciate natural and man-made things. There is also an intrinsic difference between natural and man made things and an acknowledgement and an understanding of this difference is fundamental to our exploration of design quality.

Continue reading Artefacts, technology and nature

What and who we are

This is what we are. A sentient life form, each one of us with a limited term, intent on preserving and extending our life as much as possible and keen to sustain a richness of experience, a sense of excitement or both. From the earliest times our mortality has been a deep concern and in far less certain times the belief in an afterlife of some kind clearly became an almost obsessive preoccupation for those who managed to rise above the basic human involvements with survival and comfort. Divination, placation of the gods and preparation for the afterlife were as much a part of the foundations of early religions as morality and ethics. And religion was intimately entangled with the emergence of the arts. Continue reading What and who we are

Some thoughts on value and significance in artefacts

Value may be construed as the worth one sees in something. Values are the various worths (qualities, goods and principles) that are important to a given individual or institution. They become the criteria for action and selection. Value or a number of qualities may be regarded as residing in an object or artefact. Continue reading Some thoughts on value and significance in artefacts