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After structure: Expression in built form
Frederik Weissenborn
Space Syntax Laboratory, The Bartlett School of Architecture
University College London (UCL)
Pages: 34-48
open syntaxes
Image: AdHoCities © Athanasios Bampanelos
The Journal of Space Syntax
ISSN: 2044-7507
volume: 6
issue: 1
Online Publication Date: 26 October 2015
After structure: Expression in built form
Frederik Weissenborn
Space Syntax Laboratory, The Bartlett School of Architecture
University College London (UCL)
The concept of the ‘inverted genotype’ occupies an important place in the space syntax literature. Since its
conception, however, this has been associated with a particular structuralist reading which - inasmuch as it
contradicts central structuralist principles - is problematic. This paper puts forward a different reading of the
inverted genotype, drawing on the expressive philosophy of Baruch Spinoza. It advances an expressionist
approach to the problem of built form, effectively shifting from a structuralist towards a Spinozist perspective.
space syntax,
inverted genotype,
minimal initial
Introduction: The dual problem of morphology
Architectural typology - the exercise of identifying,
and so one needs an understanding of the latter
analysing and taxonomising architectural form - is
to comprehend the former. This is a principle that
arguably one of the most important analytical tra-
is shared by all morphological enquiries. However,
jectories within the field of architecture. At its most
the actual forces involved in the morphogenetic
basic, the typological enquiry may be character-
process vary greatly from field to field. Comparing
ised as an attempt to devise a method for defining
morphogenesis in biology with morphogenesis
and classifying architectural form. The logic of this
in architecture, for instance, one soon realises
operation is to discern a set of more or less homolo-
that these phenomena express entirely different
gous (structurally similar) properties across a given
morphogenetic logics. Whereas the scientist ana-
sample of spatial arrangements, whether buildings,
lysing a biological form may pursue the question
compounds or cities. In this sense, the typological
of formation via notions of genetics, lineage and
analysis of architectural form may be seen as part
environment, these concepts seem maladjusted
of a wider exploration of ‘morphology’; the latter
when transposed to architecture. The architectural
being an umbrella term for enquiries analysing
theoretician therefore must approach the question
homologous properties in a range of phenomena
of morphogenesis from a different angle.
including botanical, biological, and artefactual
One popular way of exploring architectural
forms. The morphological enquiry turns on two
morphogenesis is via sociologically or anthropo-
fundamental problems: that of morphoanalysis and
logically informed enquiries. Here, the imprints of
that of morphogenesis. The former concerns the
society are sought out in the structural makeup
problem of identification in form and relates to the
of a given spatial reality. Enquiries of this nature
static properties particular to a given form. The latter
tend to follow the procedures made popular in
concerns the problem of formal ontogenesis, and
the structural anthropology of Levi-Strauss (1963),
therefore relates to the dynamic processes involved
their concern with ‘society’ giving their analyses a
in the production of forms.
characteristically anthropocentric focus. Compared
Whilst analytically discernible, the two problem-
to the merits of biological analogy, such anthropo-
atics are fundamentally interrelated. The question
centric approaches appear to suit the architectural
of form inevitably begs the question of formation
enquiry well. Architectural form after all constitutes
After structure
Weissenborn, F.
a kind of artefact, and artefacts are by definition
draw on the work of Hillier and Hanson on architec-
human-made, so exploring the morphogenetic
tural form and space syntax, reading this alongside
logics of the architectural artefact through the lens
the modal philosophy of Dutch philosopher, Baruch
of society would seem to make sense. However, a
Spinoza. The point of the exercise is to highlight a
case may be made that the problem of architectural
compatibility between these philosophies as re-
morphogenesis is somewhat more complex than
gards form and formation, and to thereby exhume
that, and that crucial nuances concerning the logic
a more suitable conceptualisation of architectural
of architectural form are overlooked when adopting
morphogenesis to that deployed in structuralism.
this approach.
This aim informs the structure of the paper which is
The problems derive from the assumption
divided into three major parts. The first part provides
that the finished architectural entity be defined in
an overview and critique of structural anthropol-
accordance with some abstractly defined and on-
ogy and space syntax’s relation to it. The second
tologically anterior social template. This effectively
discusses the key notions of Spinozism and their
takes away any inherent principles of formation
relevance to the question of form and formation.
from the architectural artefact itself, reducing it, as
Lastly, the third part discusses the overlaps between
it were, to the reification of a form that precedes and
the two theories and notes some implications for
is foreign to it. The architectural artefact thus merely
current space syntax research.
represents the culture from which it is believed to be
Central to the analysis is the syntactical concept
derived, thereby expressing no logic of its own. For
of ‘the inverted genotype’. This is a concept that
the analysis of cities, this quickly reveals itself as
Hillier and Hanson (1984) deploy against the models
unsatisfactory. Cities constitute a group of artefacts
of structural anthropology; it therefore constitutes
whose morphogenetic process typically unfolds
a useful starting point for the enquiry that this
over centuries. Their form furthermore is rarely due
paper carries out. The inverted genotype is often
to a single recognised designer or artificer but the
deployed on its own, but this paper will argue that
result of a communal effort. One could, therefore,
at least three other concepts must be introduced
expect an individual city to be defined more or
to adequately understand it. These include the
less exclusively by the culture that it derives from.
notions of ‘the minimal initial system’, ‘description
Yet, as space syntax research shows, this is only
retrieval’ and ‘morphic languages’. Taken together,
rarely the case. In fact, a disproportionally large
this group of concepts – which the paper will refer
number of cities appear to converge towards
to as ‘the genotype doctrine’ – presents a model for
a similar formal principle irrespective of culture
theorising form and formation that the paper finds
(Hillier, 1996, p.262-264). Such empirical findings
reminiscent of the modal philosophy of Spinoza. It
indicate an insufficiency in anthropocentric models
thus forms a crucial bridge between the critical first
and provide evidence in support of the existence
part of the paper and its model-building second
of some inherent drive or principle operating within
and third parts.
the architectural entity.
This paper outlines a model that aspires to de-
The problem with structuralism
scribe the problem of architectural morphogenesis
The relationship between anthropological structur-
in more satisfactory terms. Providing a philosophical
alism and space syntax is a vexed one, with Hillier
rather than an anthropological perspective on the
and Hanson sometimes critiquing structuralism,
question of architectural form and formation, it will
sometimes appearing to endorse it. The structuralist
The Journal of
Space Syntax
Volume 6 • Issue 1
principle that interests Hillier and Hanson is that ac-
architectural entities are not necessarily devoid of
cording to which the architectural entity may be said
formal order. Indeed, some of these seem to con-
to be informed by a prior anthropological blueprint,
verge towards structurally similar forms without such
or rule. They are obviously interested in circumvent-
forms being grounded in a representationalist order;
ing this principle, but before doing so, acknowledge
see for instance, the discussions of configurational
its explanatory value in certain, limited cases. These
forms such as ‘the beady ring’ and the ‘deformed
are cases where the spatial form may reasonably
wheel’ (Hillier and Hanson, 1984, p.10; Hillier, 1996,
be said to be defined more or less completely by
p.262-282). This suggests a different process of
an anterior social principle. To support this argu-
morphogenesis to that imagined by structuralist
ment Hillier and Hanson discuss the compound of
anthropologists. Far from being imposed on the ar-
the Bororo community – an Amerindian tribe that is
chitectural artefact in a top-down manner, these are
also the subject of a famous study by Levi-Strauss
structures that grow into their morphological shape
(1974) – finding the morphology of this compound
by following certain ‘laws’ particular to the architec-
to be a reflection of the complex social relations
tural reality itself. ‘In some cases’, write Hillier and
entrenched in the community (Hillier and Hanson,
Hanson, ‘the question as to why a particular society
1984, p.213-222).
adopts a particular settlement form is answered not
This, then, is a spatial arrangement designed to
in terms of some social or economic function, but
express or rather reflect a prior social order. To the
by saying that, given some initial conditions and a
extent that its morphology is expressive of anything,
consistent process of aggregation, the settlement
it is therefore of an anterior anthropological principle;
form is a product of autonomous spatial laws, not
one that is detached from the architectural reality
of human determination’ (Hillier and Hanson, 1984,
that it is thought to impose itself upon. The problem
p.200; emphasis added). This is an altogether differ-
with the structuralist explanation arises when, leav-
ent design principle to that proposed by structural
ing such special cases aside, other architectural
anthropology. It evokes an autopoietic principle
artefacts are investigated. As Hillier and Hanson
operating within the architectural entity itself rather
point out, only in a few architectural arrangements
than the imposition of a prior rule or form, and as
may a clear and distinct representational principle
such, it constitutes a completely different way of
of the kind structuralist anthropology evokes be
conceptualising the formation of the architectural
discerned. Indeed, architectural artefacts seem
to be distributed within a much wider spectrum of
Hillier and Hanson’s critique of structuralism
spatial solutions – one which ranges from the rep-
hinges on its evocation of what might be termed a
resentational to the non-representational – with the
‘cookie-cutter approach’ to morphogenesis, i.e. of
particular instance of the Bororo compound being
abstract structures determining in a ‘mechanical’
a case of extreme and statistically insignificant rep-
way the morphological reality of the architectural
resentationalism. As one departs further from this
entity. Their solution, however, is not to discard
representational end of the spectrum, it becomes
structuralism but to find within structuralism another
increasingly difficult to find a clearly defined prior
principle of formal organisation that better tallies with
design principle, and explaining spatial arrange-
their findings. In so doing the authors take inspira-
ments as direct reflections of society therefore
tion from Levi-Strauss’ account of ‘mechanical’ and
becomes untenable.
‘statistical’ systems; two archetypical forms of social
It is important to note that non-representational
morphogenesis found to operate in marital systems
After structure
Weissenborn, F.
(Hillier and Hanson, 1984, p. 202-206)1. They em-
the notion of the inverted genotype and what this
ploy these two kinds of systems – of which one is
paper refers to as ‘the genotype doctrine’, i.e. the
constituted by a linear and identitarian principle of
network of concepts formed by this concept with
formation, whilst the other is constituted by a more
the notions of the minimal initial system, description
open-ended and non-linear principle – in what might
retrieval and morphic language. The concept of the
be seen as an attempt to reinvent structural anthro-
inverted genotype designates a deep morphologi-
pology from within. Their method is to first seize the
cal tendency (or shape) in which a series of individu-
stochastic principle of morphogenesis originally
als participate. It is this relationship between deep
developed with respect to social structures, then
archetype and individual instance that leads Hillier
transpose it to the discussion of structure in architec-
and Hanson to the problematic territory of biologi-
tural form. It is however less certain whether such a
cal analogy, i.e. that the morphological tendency
transposition is in fact compliant with the principles
is a ‘genotype’ and the individual manifestation its
of structural anthropology. If structural anthropology
‘phenotype’ (see Steadman, 1982, for a critique
asserts a certain principle of stochasticity operating
of biological analogy in architecture) 3. Unlike the
within the genesis of marital relations, it crucially
genotypes theorised in biology, however, the formal
does not extend this to the world of material things.
principle that Hillier and Hanson have in mind is not
This omission has to do with the relationship that
internal to the architectural object, at least not in the
exists between social fact and artefact – between
sense that a string of DNA may be said to be internal
society and its material reifications – in structuralism.
to a cell in the biological body. Neither, however, is it
One of the fundamental tenets of the structuralist
located on the outside of the object; if that were the
model is that social fact and artefact stand in an
case the explanatory models of structural anthropol-
asymmetrical relationship to each other; the former
ogy would be valid.4 Their original resolution to the
inscribing itself, as it were, in the latter2. It is therefore
problem points to a non-hereditary kind of internal
not dynamical conditions or non-linearity that are
principle; one that emerges from an ‘outside’ and
foreign to structural anthropology, but the very idea
is then internalised in an ‘inside’.
See also Hillier (1996, chapter 7).
Hillier and Hanson (1984,
p.203-205) themselves discuss this – see in particular
their section on ‘abstract
materialism’ – but without
drawing the necessary conclusions.
See also Bafna (2012),
Griffiths (2011) and Hanna
(2011) for contrasting theoretical considerations of
the syntactical concepts
of genotype and inverted
Hillier in fact disavows
such ‘Lamarckian’ design
principles on numerous occasions (e.g. Hillier and
Leaman, 1973, p.507; Hillier,
1996, p.297-301).
of extending these principles to non-anthropic enti-
This ‘outside-to-inside’ process may only be
ties. It follows that if an open-ended and dynamic
explained when comprehending the notion of the
principle may be introduced by structural anthropol-
genotype alongside a series of other concepts with
ogy in the realm of social relations, it cannot simply
which it makes up a shared proposition or doctrine.
be extended to artefacts since to do so necessarily
The first of these is the notion of ‘morphic languages’
undermines this asymmetrical relationship.
(Hillier et al., 1976, p.149-153; Hillier and Hanson,
1984, p.45-49); a concept which designates a
The genotype doctrine: Morphic languages, minimal initial systems and the open-ended exploration of spatial realities
group of languages characterised by their more or
If the reworked structuralist model deployed by
passes any kind of system where such patterns
Hillier and Hanson is contradictory, can another
may be discerned. A morphic language thus may
theoretical principle be found which better explains
be a particular structure of social relationships, but
the manifestation and perpetuation of formal order in
it also may be a particular pattern of spatial rela-
non-representational architectural entities? Answer-
tions. The broadness of the notion may be seen as
ing this question demands taking a closer look at
problematic, but it also points to a crucial element
less discernible structural or ‘syntactic’ patterns.
The term is quite generic, and effectively encom-
The Journal of
Space Syntax
Volume 6 • Issue 1
in space syntax theory inasmuch as it reflects the
The concepts of the minimal initial system, the
fundamental syntactic conjecture that society is
morphic language and description retrieval make
spatial just as (architectural) space is social. It there-
up the preconditions for the establishment of the
fore designates the common ground that society
architectural genotype. Taken together, they define
and space must be able to pass through in order
a process of formation in which forms emerge spon-
for space to have a social logic and vice versa. Sig-
taneously from the stochastic encounters of bodies
nificantly, morphic languages are of such a nature
and are then selected or ignored by a given social
that they may be ‘retrieved’ from a particular con-
group. In this way, the desired movement from a
figurational reality and then reinvested in another.
preformal outside to a formal-architectural inside
This process – known as ‘description retrieval’ – is
is achieved in a manner that bypasses anthropo-
important insofar as it allows a given pattern to be
centric models of representation. Unlike structural-
retrieved, redeployed and perpetuated thereby
ism, where forms radiate from a social to a spatial
engendering a new type. Description retrieval thus
reality, the genotype doctrine thus affirms a kind of
facilitates the movement from experimental pheno-
expressive tendency inherent to the architectural
type to obdurate genotype.
reality itself. Space, as Hillier and Hanson write, is
Morphic languages must not be thought of as
not ‘a by-product of something else whose exist-
representing a particular idea or form that comes
ence is anterior to [...] and determinate of it’ (Hillier
before them. Rather, they are emergent phenomena
and Hanson, 1984, p.5; emphasis added). Rather,
that constitute that particular reality. They therefore
it is a profoundly productive material state-of-affairs
draw on no prior model, expressing instead a series
which carries within itself the principles of formal
of material events whose otherwise heterogenous
genesis, thereby making building types something
logics they subsume and bring to order (if only mo-
else and something more than the docile recipients
mentarily). Such an emergent logic may be more or
of a structural form. Crucially, the genotype doctrine
less rule-bound, but according to Hillier and Hanson
is no marriage structure. It is a morphic structure, a
is ultimately guaranteed by a random process of
concept that extends to both social and artefactual
aggregation and subtraction operating from no prior
reality while privileging neither. As such, it concerns
guiding principle. This ‘random, ongoing process’
a problematic much wider in scope than the struc-
(Hillier and Hanson, 1984, p.205) – sometimes re-
turalist enquiry may support.
ferred to as ‘the minimum setup’ (Hillier et al., 1976,
p.150), sometimes as ‘the minimal initial system’
The question of form and matter in space syntax
(Hillier and Hanson, 1984, p.49) – is imagined as
This characterisation of architectural morpho-
a pure state of formation in which material bodies
genesis as the spontaneous emergence of form
(both human and architectural) collide, with tentative
from an open-ended process of formation opens
formal arrangements arising from these collisions.
a second front for space syntax: namely against
The minimal initial system is, in this sense, a driver of
end-governed design-principles. Such principles
formal genesis even if the forms that it produces are
are primarily known from Aristotle – and it is exclu-
only solidified at a later stage, namely in the constitu-
sively his formal philosophy that is discussed by
tion and reproduction of a genotype. In this sense
space syntax (cf. Hillier et al., 1976, p.151; Hillier
it is likeable to an ideal ‘preformal state’ in which
and Hanson, 1984, p.205-206; and Hillier, 1996,
the random collision of bodies is the norm and the
chapter 10) – yet the principle of end-governed
emergence of metastable patterns the exception.
creation is an integral part of the whole peripatetic
After structure
Weissenborn, F.
tradition stretching from Aristotle via the Neoplaton-
rationale behind it seems to be that the principle
ists to medieval scholasticism. If end-governedness
constitutes a kind of causal-mechanical interac-
or ‘teleology’ forms a crucial counterpoint to the
tion that is compatible with the design principle
doctrine of the inverted genotype it is because it
described by the genotype doctrine because it is
invokes an ontology in which things strive towards
not grounded in either a substantial form or a final
a predetermined end – for example, the way the
principle. Newton’s universe thus is not governed
acorn strives for its realisation in a tree, or Man for
by ends – i.e. metaphysical goals or purposes –
coexistence in society – with this end effectively
but by mechanical movement and the stochastic
guiding the formation of the thing. The ‘end’, then,
encounters to which these may give rise.
is a dynamic but also immutable principle driving
There are, however, at least two problems with
individuation. Devoid of a principle of formal experi-
using Newtonian inertia as a model for the design
mentation, it invokes a ‘final cause’ that guides the
principle that Hillier has in mind. Firstly, it is never
ontogenetic process the way a blueprint guides a
explained how the concept of inertia – a principle
builder. Whilst a certain level of material efficacy is
of movement – may be translated into a principle
acknowledged in this process – a tree for instance
of formation or design. At a push, mechanical col-
cannot grow where there is no sun, or where the
lisions may be employed in explaining the momen-
soil is not fertile – it is as a reactive rather than ac-
tary emergence of a form but this cannot explain
tive principle. This demotes the efficacy of material
its perpetuation over time. The principle of inertia
causes, and the genera and species that Aristotle
might thus explain how a given form materialises
discusses are therefore locked in rigid schemas of
from the random material collision of a series of
development determined by their final causes (e.g.
bodies at a time, t1, but not how this form retains its
Aristotle, 1984, p.338-358).
shape from t1 to t2 . In order to explain this, it would
It is easy to see why space syntax finds itself in
be necessary to introduce an emergent ordering
opposition to this ontology. Aristotelian teleology is
principle that could compel the different bodies to
fundamentally incompatible with the open-ended
retain the global shape over time, thereby bestowing
process of the minimal initial system which, for its
on the form a principle of endurance. It is effectively
part, explores a principle of formation closer in logic
the emergence of such an ordering principle that
to those found in various ‘materialist’ enquiries,
characterises the movement from outside to inside
e.g. the materialist philosophy of ancient Atomists
described earlier, yet one searches in vain for such
(e.g. Lucretius, 2007), the expressive philosophy
a principle in the Principia. What is more, Newton’s
of Spinoza (1996) and the more recent philosophy
discussion of the problem of design surely would
of difference associated with Gilles Deleuze (1968)
disappoint Hillier. A ‘Natural Philosopher’, Newton
and Gilbert Simondon (1964). It would have been
subscribes to a deist cosmology which ultimately
interesting if space syntax had drawn on these phi-
sees the order of the universe guaranteed by a
losophies in contextualising the genotype doctrine,
divine and benevolent agent (see for instance his
but Hillier prefers a much less obvious source of in-
correspondence with Bentley (1756)). This squares
spiration: Newtonian physics, more specifically, the
rather awkwardly with Hillier’s random genesis of
principle of inertia (Hillier et al., 1976, p.151; Hillier
form and his disavowal of the ‘unmoved mover’
and Hanson, 1984, p.205; Hillier, 1996, p.296-305).
evoked by Aristotle (Hillier, 1996, p.294-297). Sec-
This is an odd choice seeing as the principle of
ondly, it is uncertain why the principle of inertia is
inertia concerns movement rather than form. The
deemed to be better suited for the job than other
The Journal of
Space Syntax
Volume 6 • Issue 1
similar principles. Newton, in fact, is not the first
resolution exists to this problem and that it is to be
to describe a universe of mechanical collisions. A
found in the writings of Spinoza.
whole series of philosophers and scientists pre-
More specifically, it will try to show that the in-
dating him have described similar scenarios – in
verted genotype may be likened to a ‘mode’ in the
physics: Buridan, Benedetti, Kepler, Galileo; in
Spinozist sense of the term, and that the particular
philosophy: Democritus, Epicurus, Lucretius – yet
form of modal individuation that Spinoza discusses
these are neither mentioned nor discussed by Hillier.
in Parts I and II of the Ethics5 offers a satisfactory
model for the description of the movement from
Spinozism and architectural form: The genotype
as mode
outside (minimal initial system) to inside (genotype)
Taking stock of the theoretical landscape in which
these points, the paper will first have to introduce
the genotype doctrine is situated, several paradoxes
and mobilise certain key terms from the Spinozist
thus emerge. There is the paradox of the designa-
lexicon – substance, attributes, modes – even if
tion itself, with the principle stipulated by the doc-
such an introduction can only be cursory. This is
trine in fact going against the biological definition of
a necessary exercise as it is impossible to under-
genotypes. There is then the unsatisfactory discus-
stand modal individuation without first grasping
sion that space syntax engages in with structuralism
how substance relates to the attributes and the
and the meagre results that this engagement yields.
attributes to the modes. Only once the relationship
Lastly, there is the problem of defining a credible
between these concepts has been defined can the
anti-Aristotelian position; one which may account
paper establish in more detail their relevance to the
for the emergence and perpetuation of forms from
particular problem of form and formation. This task
mechanical encounters. It is clear that what Hillier
is undertaken in the sections that follow.
that the genotype doctrine implies. In order to make
and Hanson have in mind is a formal principle that
ing random process. ‘Without the anteriority of an
De Deo: From the infinite power of God or Nature
to the partial power of his modal expressions
unordered reality,’ they write, ‘we would be forced
The first part of the Ethics is entitled de Deo. It
into an Aristotelian stance, assuming as natural that
discusses God – an infinitely powerful being that
which needs to be explained’ (Hillier and Hanson,
Spinoza equates with ‘substance’ (EId6; EIp11)
1984, p.205). But the claim that the principle of
– and prepares the ground for the detailed ex-
inertia ‘allows a formal theory to emerge unencum-
plication of modal individuation and interaction
bered by the metaphysics of ultimate causes and
that follows in the subsequent parts. Substance is
unmoved movers’ (Hillier and Hanson, 1984, p.205)
characterised by its uniqueness (there can only be
is unconvincing.
one substance), its absolute infinity, and its eternal
can describe the emergence of forms from an ongo-
Ultimately, this is the central problematic around
nature (EIp11-14). Significantly, substance also
which the whole of the genotype doctrine turns: how
exists necessarily (EIp11dem; EIp17corol1), which
can the process of formation give rise to certain
is to say that it cannot be created or extinguished
forms without taking these forms away from the
by any other thing (EIp6). As nothing can cause
random variations of the minimal initial system?
substance to exist or to cease existing, it is said that
How can one have both formal variation and per-
the essence of substance involves existence (EIp7;
petuation, difference and repetition, without the one
EIp7dem). This being so, substance must be the
compromising the other? This paper believes that a
cause of itself or causa sui (EId1), and it therefore is
The Ethics consists of five
parts, each divided into
‘Definitions’, ’Axioms’, ‘Propositions’, ‘Demonstrations’,
‘Corollaries’ and ‘Scholia’.
In what follows, I will reference the various sections of
the Ethics using the format
followed by most Spinoza
scholars. This format first
identifies the part of the Ethics under consideration by
adding a roman numeral to
the letter ‘E’ (e.g. ‘EI’ for Part
I; ‘EII’ for Part II, etc.). Following this, the Definition/
Axiom/Proposition is identified with a non-capitalised
letter along with an arabic
numeral (e.g. ‘d1’ for definition 1; ‘a2’ for axiom 2; ‘p15’
for proposition 15, etc.).
An accompanying Demonstration/Corollary/Scholium
may sometimes also be
referenced. When this is the
case, it is identified with a
non-capitalised abbreviation and an arabic numeral
(e.g. ‘dem1’ for demonstration 1; ‘schol2’ for scholium
2, etc.). To the extent that
Spinoza’s correspondence
is referenced, it will be referenced as ‘Ep.’ with the number of the letter provided in
roman numerals. Spinoza’s
fourth letter (to Oldenburg)
thus is referenced as ‘Ep.
IV’. All citations and references from the Ethics are
taken from Curley’s translation (Spinoza, 1996). All references to Spinoza’s letters
are from Shirley’s translation
(Spinoza, 2002).
After structure
Weissenborn, F.
understood to cause or produce itself. God’s ability
perspectives. In this sense, a mode expressed in
The question of essential
causality is a contentious
issue in Spinozism. Spinoza
in fact seems to contradict
himself on the matter. From
EIp21-23 it is clear that essences cannot stand in a
causal relationship to each
other. The same is affirmed
in Spinoza’s letter to Schuller (Ep. LXIV). However, in
EIIp9dem Spinoza states
that ‘[…] the cause of one
singular idea is another
idea, or God, insofar as he
is considered to be affected
by another idea; and of this
also [God is the cause], insofar as he is affected by
another, and so on, to infinity, q.e.d.’ The demonstration
underscores the parallelism
between essential and corporeal reality but squares
awkwardly with the characteristics of essential reality
and represents something
of an unresolved – even paradoxical – issue in Spinoza’s
philosophy. This paper will
maintain that essences do
not sensu stricto stand in a
causal relationship to each
other. This is also the reading of Deleuze who asserts
that ‘if all essences agree,
this is just because they
are not causes one of another, but all have God as
their cause’ (Deleuze, 1968,
p.194; emphasis added).
to cause himself may be seen as an expression of
the attribute of Extension (a body) will have a mode
his infinite power (EIp11dem). Indeed, the essence
that corresponds to it in the attribute of Thought (an
of God, Spinoza writes at the end of de Deo, is
essence), and indeed in every other attribute. Whilst
identical to his power (EIp34). This has led some,
the attributes express the same thing, the way they
e.g. Matheron, to theorise Spinoza’s philosophy as
express themselves – their modi operandi – differ
Note here that what Spinoza calls ‘the mind of God’
is caused just like everything
else in Nature. The necessity
of God’s production thus precedes his intellection. God
produces before he understands. This is important as
it prevents Spinozism from
relapsing into a teleological
discourse like the one found
in Aristotelianism. See Gueroult (1968, p.269-85).
‘an ontology of power’ (Matheron, 2000, p.197) and
fundamentally. God thus produces differently in
the notion of power is indeed central to the treatise.
the different attributes. The attribute of Extension
Above all, this power is a causal or productive
expresses itself in an infinite causal chain where
power and God or substance in a sense becomes
extended bodies collide with and recoil from each
a byword for pure productivity. Participating in God
other; this is sometimes referred to as ‘the common
or substance therefore means participating in an
order of Nature’ (e.g. EIIp29corol). The attribute of
ongoing process of production; a process which,
Thought, on the other hand, is expressed in a non-
according to Spinoza (Ep. XII), has no starting point
causal noetic reality in which an infinity of thoughts
or end point (it is an infinite series), something which
are implicated with one another in what constitutes
subverts the idea that God – or anything else – may
the mind of God6.
be a first mover. ‘All the things’, writes Gueroult,
If an attribute is something that expresses God
‘are in God which is to say in a state of productive
or substance in a distinct but nevertheless infinite
causality [cause productrice]’ (Gueroult, 1968,
way, the ‘finite modes’ express the power of God
p.341; this author’s translation; cf. Carraud, 2002,
in a finite and determinate form (EIId1; EIId7). The
p.472-473; Lærke, 2008, p.642-650).
limitation of its nature means that the mode is differ-
Attributes express a particular and distinct as-
ent to God or substance on several counts. Unlike
pect of substance (EId6; EIp10schol). By EId6, there
God or substance, the essence of a mode does not
is an infinity of attributes, yet Man only has access to
imply existence (EIp24). Existence therefore does
phenomena unfolding in two of these: the attribute
not pertain to the essence of the mode as it does to
of Extension and the attribute of Thought. The latter
substance. Rather, the mode must be determined
expresses all the ‘thoughts’ in nature (the notion of
into existence by another force. Ultimately, this
thought referring to both a cognitive phenomenon
determination comes from God or substance who
and a modal essence) and outside of it there can
is the principal (but not ‘primary’ in the aristotelian
be no thoughts or essences; the attribute therefore
sense) cause of all things (EIp16corrol.3). Yet the
is said to be infinite in its own kind. Similarly, the at-
way the mode is determined differs from attribute
tribute of Extension expresses all bodies in nature,
to attribute. A mode expressed by the attribute of
as well designating a phenomenon infinite in its own
Thought is determined immediately, that is, with-
kind. Whilst the attributes are distinct, they explicate
out a mediating cause. Substance simply causes
or express the same thing: God’s power. For this
it to appear in the infinite mind of God through a
reason, the attributes may be said to express paral-
process that involves no intermodal causation7.
lel realities in which the power of God is explicated
A mode expressed by the attribute of Extension,
in distinct but corresponding ways, e.g. as bodies
however, is very much involved in a causal reality.
and thoughts. That the realities that they express are
Unlike a thought, the existing mode is determined
parallel simply means that the attributes explicate
into existence by the infinite series of causal events
the same cause from different but corresponding
unfolding in the common order of Nature. It is thus
The Journal of
Space Syntax
Volume 6 • Issue 1
brought into existence by another mode, which itself
in the ‘little physics’ inserted in Part II of the Ethics,
was brought into existence by another mode, and
a body is characterised by a particular relationship
so on to infinity (see EIp28). As such, it is produced
of ‘movement and rest’ that it imposes on certain
mediately – by way of an infinity of other extensive
other bodies (EIIp13lemma1). This relationship
modes – rather than immediately.
corresponds to its essence insofar as it constitutes
The means of production is not the only difference between the modes. Modal existences
‘that without which the thing can neither be nor be
conceived’ (EIId2; emphasis added).
or bodies ‘endure’ which is to say that they have
An existing mode will aspire to express to the
duration and are finite. More specifically, they are
fullest extent possible its own essence as if it were
engendered in the common order of Nature in which
unaffected by other bodies. This, however, is not
they exist until they are annihilated. Modal essences
always possible. The existing mode is constantly
are not involved in such a causal reality and thus
brought into contact with other modes which influ-
are characterised not by transience but by eternity
ence and destabilise it. Insofar as such changes
or ‘sempiternity’ (cf. Gueroult, 1968, p.309).
to the mode are not brought about by its proper
essence, they are qualified as ‘passions’, i.e. as
Essence and existence: Thought, body and conatus
something the mode must suffer. Broadly put, a
Having provided a brief overview of the most
passion designates an alteration of the relation-
important concepts of the Ethics, it is necessary
ship between modal essence and modal existence
to further explicate the relationship between the
brought on by a corporeal encounter. When two
essential mode and the existing mode. As was just
existing modes collide in the common order of Na-
shown, the two are parallel – expressing the same
ture their bodies may either agree or disagree with
thing (God’s power) under different attributes – but
each other. If the latter is the case, they will reject,
how do they relate to each other? Spinoza explains
impair or consume each other causing sadness in
that essences are thoughts or ideas that an exist-
the modes or outright annihilation. But a mode does
ing mode or body has of its own being (EIIp13;
not just suffer; it also has a capacity for rejoicing.
EIIp13dem.; EIIp13schol.). Following the principle
Joy occurs when the body manages to subsume
of parallelism, one may say that an idea implies
within itself other bodies, or when it manages to
noetically what the body expresses corporeally. But
engage in mutually beneficial relations with other
this is still too abstract. A better way to conceptu-
modes (IIP7). When the latter occurs, new modal
alise the relationship is to reaffirm that the modal
relationships are explored. When the former hap-
thought is in fact an essence that corresponds to
pens, the mode brings external bodies under its
the modal body. More specifically, the essence or
control, enslaving these according to a principle
thought may be said to designate an abstract pat-
that agrees with its proper nature or essence. The
tern or structure [fabrica] that the body strives to
mode may thus enslave other modes – something
realise and stabilise in the common order of Nature.
which amounts to exerting a kind of force or power
Given that a body will be made up of other bodies,
[vis] on its immediate surroundings.
the essence of the body may thus be defined as
The identification of essence and power points
a particular relationship [ratio] between bodies.
to a central truth in the philosophy of Spinoza,
This resembles a morphological syntax of sorts, if
one to which both mode and substance adhere.
by ‘syntax’ one understands a particular relational
An essence – whether substantial or modal – ex-
state. This is an apt comparison. As Spinoza asserts
presses a power, and more specifically, a power
After structure
Weissenborn, F.
of causation. In this there is no difference between
derstand the different kinds of knowledge that the
the essence of God and the essence of things and
Ethics mobilises. In EIIp40schol.2, Spinoza defines
Spinozism thus takes on a ‘fractal’ characteristic.
three kinds of knowledge which he calls Imagination
However, while substance cannot be caused by
(knowledge of the first kind), Reason (knowledge
anything but itself, the existing mode – submerged
of the second kind) and Intuition (knowledge of the
in the common order of Nature – can and is. In this
third kind). As Deleuze has forcefully shown (1969,
the two differ radically. What the essence of God
p.273-288; 1988, p.54-58), it is in comprehending
expresses is a necessary existence – a power that
the relationship between these different kinds of
is infinite and eternal. Conversely, what the modal
knowledge that the modal affirmation of a new es-
essence expresses is a power of existence that is
sence (or ‘thought’) must be understood.
not necessary and that is finite and transient. Its
Imagination designates the cognitive outcome
power, rather, designates a form of perseverance
of the more or less random encounters that might
(conatus) that pertains to the finite existing mode
befall the existing mode, these encounters cor-
as long as it endures in existence (EIIIp3-6). This
responding to passions or ‘images’ in its mind.
finite modal power might express little more than a
Whether they provoke sadness or joy in the mode,
small part of God’s infinite power and it might have
such imaginations do not provide the mode with
received the vital impulse that brought it into exist-
an accurate comprehension of the mode that it
ence from another mode (and ultimately from God).
encounters, nor do they express its own essence
But in the end its essence is its own. It is a power
in a clear and distinct way. They therefore do not
that derives from its own nature and it continues to
constitute an adequate form of knowledge, either of
order the bodies that it subsumes according to this
the mode encountered or of the mode itself, and so
nature as long as it endures.
a more permanent relationship between the modes
is excluded (by EIIp25; EIIp25dem; EIIp26corol.).
Beatitude: Modal individuation and the three
kinds of knowledge
Reason operates in a radically different way. It
Modal power is thus central to the understanding
principle – known as a ‘common notion’ [notione
of the mode’s persistence in duration. But it is also
communes] (EIIp37-40) – that these bodies may
what enables the mode to engage in constructive
agree in. One may think of the common notion as the
encounters with other modes should their es-
platform on which the premises for an ordered rela-
sences agree. This second aspect of modal power
tion can be tentatively established between modes.
concerns not the perpetuation of already existing
It thus constitutes a zone of modal experimentation.
corporeal relationships but the spontaneous crea-
A common notion may be simply that the two bodies
tion of new ones. How does this occur? Perhaps
agree in the fact that both are existing modes and
surprisingly, the answer to this seemingly ontological
therefore are i) extended things, and ii) subsume
question is epistemological, that is to say, it involves
within themselves other bodies. But a common
different orders of knowledge. This in fact should
notion also may be more specific, thereby making
not be surprising inasmuch as the thing that is be-
possible a less general (and more durable) kind of
ing affirmed is a thought, yet the complexity of this
agreement between the modes. When this is the
phenomenon necessitates a closer examination. In
case, the bodies will begin to adapt themselves to
order to adequately comprehend the way a modal
one another, thereby gradually entering into a rela-
essence is affirmed in existence, one must first un-
tion of composition which will be more or less stable
establishes between bodies a common ground or
The Journal of
Space Syntax
Volume 6 • Issue 1
depending on the agreement between the modes
In this way, the transition from an external state to
and other local variations in the common order of
an internal state is facilitated. This is a beatific or joy-
Nature. In this way, an embryonic form of modal
ful moment, but the joy that the mode experiences
relationality is explored. However, at this moment
is not a passive joy as this may be experienced in
it still is a matter of discrete bodies standing in an
the passions. It is – to the extent that it ensures the
external if beneficial relation to each other and so
expression of a new mode – an active joy; one that
an essential mode still is not actualised.
proceeds from and corresponds to that mode’s es-
The moment a new mode is actualised only
sence or power. Crucially, such an active joy is not
occurs with the transition to the third kind of knowl-
imposed from without but radiates from within the
edge, Intuition. Like Reason, Intuition concerns
mode itself. Action thereby amounts to the spon-
adequate ideas but unlike Reason these ideas are
taneous affirmation of a new essential relation in
not general nor are they submerged in the common
duration. The journey from Imagination via Reason
order of Nature. Where Reason concerns bodies,
to Intuition, then, is a journey of comprehension but
intuition concerns an essence, i.e. a powerful
also of modal individuation and affirmation. It de-
relational schema particular to an existing mode.
scribes a movement from passions to actions; that
The affirmation of an intuition signals the actualisa-
is, from affections that are still imposed from without
tion of an essence in duration; that is, the passing
(passion) to joys that radiate from within the essential
into existence of particular relational schema. The
nature of a mode (action). But it also describes the
common notion paves the way for this actualisation,
moment a new modal relation is realised in duration.
but it is only with an intuition that an experimental
If this is said to constitute a ‘beatific’ or ‘blessed’
external relation is solidified in an essential and
thing, it is because it manifests a link between the
internal principle. When this occurs, the powers
temporality of the common order of Nature and the
that pertain to the essences of the modes converge
eternity of Divine thought. ‘The word blessedness’,
spontaneously and a new essence is actualised.
as Deleuze writes, ‘should be reserved for these
At this particular moment, the modes cease be-
active joys: they appear to conquer and extend
ing external to each other and they are subsumed
themselves within duration, like the passive joys, but
in a communal body which integrates them like
in fact they are eternal and are no longer explained
parts in a whole. It is Deleuze who has described
by duration; they no longer imply transitions and
this process of spontaneous modal individuation
passages, but express themselves and one another
the most accurately. ‘When the mode passes into
in an eternal mode, together with the adequate ideas
existence,’ he writes, ‘an infinity of extensive parts
from which they issue’ (Deleuze, 1988, p.51).
are determined from without to come under the
This, then, is the significance of beatitude in
relation corresponding to [the mode’s] essence
Spinozism: from the more or less random material
or its degree of power’ (Deleuze, 1998, p.98). The
collisions unfolding in the common order of Nature
phase ‘from without’ here refers to the modes that
– animated as they are by the pervasive productiv-
are being subjugated; to them it is indeed accurate
ity that characterises Spinoza’s God – an ordering
to speak of an external force that dominates them.
principle spontaneously emerges between a series
Yet for the existing mode itself – composed as it is
of existing modes. This ordering principle is an es-
of these modes or parts – it is a force from within: a
sence, and it expresses the infinite power of God in
force of corporeal subjugation that corresponds to
a finite and determinate way. Whilst qualified as an
its incorporeal essence.
essence, the ordering principle in fact does not refer
After structure
Weissenborn, F.
to a prior principle or ‘end’ but rather to a principle
designated as the ‘morphic language/phenotype’; in
that emerges from the collective work of the modes
Spinozism, it is known as the ‘common notion’. From
themselves. Nevertheless, it enslaves these modes
such probing attempts, a ‘form’ is finally affirmed,
in a mutual relation until some material event causes
the latter thereby beginning to act in existence as
this relationship to break down thereby bringing to
an active principle of individuation. In space syntax,
an end the existence of the mode. Individuation
this occurs when the syntactic logic is retrieved
therefore occurs when an eternal essence begins
and perpetuated first in a phenotype, then across
to express itself in duration, thereby actualising a
a series of phenotypes thus engendering a geno-
new relation of movement and rest between bodies.
type; in Spinozism, it is when an eternal essence
affirms and expresses itself in existence, thereby
Expression and built form
actualising a metaphysical principle (the essence,
Having discussed the processes involved in modal
understood here as a power) in the physical world
individuation and perpetuation, the paper may
(the extended body). Strictly speaking, there thus
now return to its initial problem; that of outlining a
are two aspects of expression. There is an indi-
conceptual framework for form and formation more
viduating aspect, whereby a relationship between
congruent with the genotype doctrine. This frame-
bodies emerges. And there is a ‘conatic’ aspect,
work needs to demonstrate that its explanatory po-
whereby that relationship is perpetuated in dura-
tential exceeds that of structural anthropology and
tion. Both of these aspects are relevant to space
anthropocentric models of representation. It also
syntax. Together, they ensure that the movement
must allow for the emergence of a formal principle
from an experimental outside (the minimal initial
from a random series of corporeal collisions and
system) to an expressive inside (the genotypical
provide an explanation for corporeal perpetuation
drive expressed in the phenotype) is accomplished
once a form has been actualised. Lastly, this must
and consolidated so that the bodies that once were
be achieved without inventing new formal principles
external to each other come together in a relation
or appropriating such principles from doctrines
that both endures and is entirely the architectural
that in fact are not amenable to a discussion of
mode’s own.
form and formation. The argument advanced here
To say that this formal relation is the mode’s own
is that the Spinozistic doctrine of modal expres-
– that in fact it arises with it and pertains to it – is to
sion provides exactly such a framework. Indeed, I
say that the mode does not receive its form from an
believe it describes the formative process defined
outside agent, whether that agent be ‘society’ or
in the genotype doctrine more clearly than other
some other force. In fact, if there is any force at stake,
doctrines in the philosophy of form. The contours
it is the mode’s own; this force being identical to its
of an expressive logic of architectural form and
essence and corresponding to a particular way of
formation may thus be outlined.
ordering material relations that emerges in the actuali-
This logic begins with the random collisions of
sation of the mode itself. A Spinozist essence then is
bodies. In space syntax, this is the activity known
an autopoietic essence: it arises from a material pro-
from the ‘minimal initial system’; in Spinozism, it
cess that – spontaneously – it comes to dominate and
constitutes ‘the common order of Nature’. From
order. Of course, this does not mean that the mode is
these collisions, the tentative (but still unfulfilled)
not influenced by other forces. Being immersed in the
formation of a relationship between a series of
common order of Nature, it is in a perpetual struggle
bodies then takes place. In space syntax, this is
with other modes – each of which expresses a force
The Journal of
Space Syntax
Volume 6 • Issue 1
of their own – and it only is able to exist as long as
that constantly unfolds within it. Not directly, but by
its existence is not in some way contradicted either
influencing patterns of movement and interaction
by the network of modes that surrounds it or by the
which in themselves hold a sociogenetic potential.
one that it subsumes. Ultimately, this is a question
A dual form of expressivity thus takes place: that of
of distributed modal power-struggles and the emer-
the urban spatial system, and that of the urban social
gent material resolutions to which these give rise. In
system. Ultimately, these are systems gravitating
the individual mode, such struggles may manifest
around each other without the one being reducible
themselves internally (disintegration or corruption)
to the other, and foregrounding either therefore con-
or externally (consumption or annihilation), and its
stitutes an analytical error. This complex relationship
continued existence depends on its ability to resolve
between society and space perhaps constitutes
such issues.
the key insight of space syntax; one that this author
Whilst the Spinozist notion of modality may be
finds conveyed neatly in the expressive logic of
employed with respect to a variety of syntactic no-
Spinozism where modes adapt to each other in an
tions (e.g. genotypes in housing, the beady ring),
open-ended process.
it is in fact a particularly apt analogy for cities as
It is debatable whether this complex expressive
space syntax conceptualises them. According to
logic is pursued in a satisfactory manner in the
Hillier, the ‘fundamental settlement process’ that is
Durkheimian brand of sociology currently being
manifested in cities results from the implementation
revived by space syntax scholars (e.g. Marcus,
of a formal principle that emerges in and begins
2015) 8. Durkheim, of course, holds an important
to express itself through the formal process itself
place in the space syntax pantheon, his ideas be-
(Hillier, 1996, p.264). Urban structures thus emerge
ing discussed by Hillier and Hanson with respect to
from an ‘aggregative process in which built forms
encounter patterns and social organisation. There
progressively construct patterns of open space’
even are sections in his manuscripts that discuss
(Hillier, 1996, p.282). In this sense, the actualisation
‘the geographical space that society appropriates’
of a global urban form may be said to arise sponta-
(Durkheim, quoted in Marcus, 2015, p.4). But there
neously from an explorative formal process which
are also limitations to the Durkheimian approach
it comes to dominate. Such systems are not stable
to space. Most problematically, there seems to be
and must constantly adapt to changes arising either
no concepts for describing the open-ended formal
internally in the configuration of their street-systems
process that leads to the establishment of different
or in their external environment (e.g. the regional
morphological types. One therefore ends up ex-
hinterland). The resilience that cities show to such
ploring the morphological influence on encounter
challenges is a demonstration of their essential
patterns without an understanding of the morpho-
power; that is, of their ability to sustain a relation
genetic process that informs it. Durkheim’s habitual
of corporeal movement and rest that corresponds
foregrounding of what is known as the ‘social fact’
to their essence. Local changes will be influenced
makes the affirmation of such a spontaneous arte-
by local and regional planning policies – that is,
factual principle difficult, and one searches in vain
to measures implemented by society – but the
for principles of artefactual autopoiesis in his oeuvre.
way the city resolves such issues is not reducible
The argument advanced in this paper is consistent
to a social logic, sensu stricto. What is more, the
with the position of Leroi-Gourhan – one of the great
way the city resolves local problems will have an
thinkers of the relationship between technology and
impact on the ongoing formation of social relations
society – in his critique of the way technology is
See also Liebst, L. (forthcoming) ‘Reassembling the
Durkheimian sociology of
space’ in S. Griffiths and A.
von Lünen, Spatial Cultures:
Towards a New Social Morphology of Cities Past and
Present. Farnham, Ashgate.
After structure
Weissenborn, F.
perceived in conventional sociology. With explicit
of built form impossible, provided that architectural
reference to Durkheim and Mauss, he writes: ‘While
forms are treated as artefacts and not social facts.
Durkheim and Mauss cavalierly [luxueusement]
Such a thought may even have been on Hillier and
defend “the total social fact” they have merely as-
Hanson’s (collaborative) mind when they wrote The
sumed the existing techno-economic infra-structure’
Social Logic of Space, the epigraph of which is a
(Leroi-Gourhan, 1964, p.210; this author’s transla-
quote by Leroi-Gourhan9. I am of the opinion that
tion). I would expand on this statement by asserting
considerable rewards may be reaped from further
that theoreticians of the social fact tend to ignore
exploration of the link between space syntax and
the theorisation of the artefact – i.e. the particular
Leroi-Gourhan (see Weissenborn, forthcoming). So
logic that it expresses – with a tendency to make
far, however, this epigraph remains the only refer-
their analyses one-dimensional and unsatisfactory.
ence to this important philosopher of artefacts in
The quote, rendered in
the original French by Hillier
and Hanson (1984), reads:
‘The foremost human trait is
perhaps less the creation of
tools than the domestication
of time and space, which
is to say, the creation of a
human time and a human
space’ (Hillier and Hanson, 1984, p.i; this author’s
To those interested in exploring the complex
the space syntax literature.
relationship between artefact and social fact, Leroi-
This paper has pointed out some of the deficien-
Gourhan’s own Gesture and Speech I & II (1964;
cies concerning the theoretical context in which
1965) provides a contrasting perspective to that of
the notion of the inverted genotype is developed
Durkheim. In this two-volume work, Leroi-Gourhan
by Hillier and Hanson (1984), and it has tried to
describes the many material and technological
establish whether a more satisfactory conceptual
processes involved in the production of an artefact
framework could be found in Spinoza’s doctrine of
(Tome I: Technics and Language), and the way ar-
modal expressivity. The paper found that the for-
tefacts act back onto the ongoing formation of the
mal principle of modal expression accommodates
social group without its proper logic being in any
the genotype doctrine better than the theoretical
way reducible to it (Tome II: Memory and Rhythm).
architecture currently associated with it (e.g. struc-
There are in fact many commonalities between his
turalism, Newtonian physics), thereby highlighting
account and that of Hillier and Hanson (1984) as
aspects of this concept that are often neglected.
regards the theory of the architectural artefact. In
More specifically, the process of architectural mor-
Leroi-Gourhan, each technology or artefact is thus
phogenesis was found to be congruent with the
said to pertain to a given ‘technical lineage’ whose
beatific process of modal individuation as this is
logic they express, just like Hillier and Hanson’s
imagined by Spinoza. The problem of morphogen-
architectural phenotypes are said to participate in
esis, however, only constitutes one of several fronts
a genotype. Technical lineages furthermore express
where space syntax and Spinozism may engage in
a certain ‘rhythmic potential’, a concept which is
fruitful dialogue. Putting processes of architectural
congruent with the space syntax concern for ‘natural
formation to one side, Spinozism also has much to
movement’ (Hillier et al., 1993). Given the uncom-
say regarding the effect that the architectural entity
mon nature of his account, it is no small irony that
asserts on human movement and sociogenesis.
Leroi-Gourhan’s description of urban artefacts – i.e.
This is significant inasmuch as it constitutes the
settlements, cities – is in alignment with the most
other aspect of the problematic that space syntax
representative accounts available. Indeed, the only
deals with, viz. the social logic that space exerts
kinds of built form that Leroi-Gourhan investigates
on society. Spinozism thus offers a fully-fledged
are those that represent a prior cosmological or a
alternative to the theoretical models currently in
social fact. However, this does not make an exten-
space syntax theory whether those be structuralist,
sion of his artefactual philosophy to the philosophy
Newtonian or Durkheimian.
The Journal of
Space Syntax
Volume 6 • Issue 1
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([email protected] is is a completing research student with
the Bartlett School of Architecture. His research
concerns the philosophy of
built form and takes space
syntax theory as its point of
departure. Frederik holds
degrees from the Bartlett,
University of the Arts London, Sciences Po Paris
and Copenhagen Business
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About the author:
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