Diderot, Implicit Knowledge and Architecture

The Experience of Analogy
  • Marian Hobson
Part of the Artificial Intelligence and Society book series (HCS)


Diderot was famous for his digressions: one commentator claims to have sat and listened to an uncontrollable stream which he satirizes in a manner not entirely unconvincing.2 This paper is going to end by suggesting that Diderot’s digressive practice is deeply related to his notion of analogy, as found in his art criticism, that he is developing a notion of analogy which will become precisely what links experience in a synthesis (and which is perhaps a preparation of Kant and ‘die Analogien der Erfahrung’ in The Critique of Pure Reason). Such analogy will both regulate the artist’s treatment of the beautiful and anchor it to notions of the functionally dynamic. But — like Diderot — this paper will first move through what seems a digression about Diderot’s digressions on architecture, asking what the relation between the ideas he is chasing is, and why he harps on about the great church of Saint Peter’s in Rome.


Implicit Knowledge Pure Reason Practical Philosophy Illusive Effect True Line 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 8.
    de Brosses, Charles, Lettres familières sur l’Italie, ed. Yvonne Brizard, Paris, 1931, vol. ii, p. 159.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    Carlo Fontana, Templum Vaticanum et ipsius origo, cum œdificiis maxime conspicuis, Editum abequite Carolo Fontana. Romae, 1694.Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    Ackerman, James, The Architecture of Michaelangelo, London, 1961, pp. 98–101.Google Scholar
  4. 15.
    Heyman, Jacques, “The crossing piers of the French Panthéon”, The Structural Engineer, 63, 1985, pp. 230–234. Heyman shows that the cracking was actually caused by inadequate workmanship in the preparation of the bedding faces of the stones. Patte’s real disagreement with Soufflot was over the problem of the allowance to be made in constructions for the illusion of overhang.Google Scholar
  5. 23.
    Diderot, D’Alemhert’s Dream, in Oeuvres complètes, ed. Roger Lewinter, Paris, 15 vols., 1971, vol. Vni, p. 72: “If a certain phenomenon known in nature is followed by a certain other phenomenon known in nature, what will be the fourth phenomenon consequent on a third, wither given by nature, or imagined in imitation of nature”.Google Scholar
  6. 25.
    Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, translated Norman Kemp Smith, London, 1970, [1929] p. 211, A 180/B222.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marian Hobson

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations