Proportion: Science, Philosophy, Architecture
Of the many arguments for proportion systems in architecture the most ancient and compelling is that the natural world is an intelligible, mathematically ordered whole, and the artifacts we place in it, as extensions of nature, should obey the same laws. Although this was still the argument of Le Corbusier - as earlier of Alberti - it was profoundly shaken by post-Renaissance science and the empiricist philosophy which flowed from it.
In Proportion, Richard Padovan looks at the problem from a new angle, taking empiricism as a starting-point. In order to know anything about the world, we have to discover regularities in it. These regularities can be explained, not by assuming that they are inherrent in nature and that nature impresses them on the mind but they are inherent in the mind and the mind impresses them on nature. Our perception of the world, our scientific hypotheses, are therefore artifacts, no less than our buildings and other works of art. Both science and art are ways of making the world intelligible; that is to say, of making in intelligible world. And in art as in science the key to intelligibility is mathematical order.
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