What is straight cannot fall: Gothic architecture, Scholasticism, and dynamics

Steven A. Walton, Thomas Boothby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

It has long been shown that medieval builders primarily used geometrical constructions to design medieval architecture. The thought processes involved, however, have been considered to be remote from the natural philosophical speculations of the Scholastics, who, following Aristotle, had taken the basis of physics to be the study of dynamics, or change. However, investigations of the Expertises of Chartres, Florence, Milan, and other documents related to medieval building suggest that medieval architects, in speaking of their work, resort to recognizable dynamic arguments, structured similarly to the speculations of Scholastic philosophers. These dynamic explanations of structural behaviour persist at least into the 17th century, but thereafter lost out to the arguments based on statics made by modern scholars attempting to explain the endurance of these structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-376
Number of pages30
JournalHistory of Science
Volume52
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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