What is the explanatory power of space syntax theory? the application of modal logics from theory of science

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    This contribution shows various approaches from the theory of science for revealing the explanatory power of the Space Syntax. In this contribution Bhaskar's critical realistic model of science and Georg Henrik von Wright's account of explanation and understanding are used to assess the explanatory power of Space Syntax research. In essence subsequent considerations distinguishes between a theory able to offer an explanation of phenomena and a theory proposing an understanding thereof. It will lead to the conclusion that the theory of the natural movement effect can offer an explanation of changes in a built environment in terms of cause and effect, while research related to social rationality, archaeology or historical research, space and crime or anti-social behavior, cognitive aspects aims at an understanding of the culture or meaning associated with the causes at issue. Moreover, research concerning how activities in society affects urban space requires a hermeneutic approach, whereas research concerning how a spatial layout can affect activities in society requires both a positivistic as well as a hermeneutic approach. Seemingly, human behaviour as an effect on spatial structure depends on the type of rationality of human intentions and behaviour the research is focusing on. Marked rationality can use positivistic explanation models, whereas other kinds of rationality rely on hermeneutic ones.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th International Space Syntax Symposium (SSS 2017)
    Place of PublicationLisbon
    PublisherInstituto Superior Técnico
    ISBN (Electronic)978-972-98994-4-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    EventXI SSS: 11th International Space Syntax Symposium 2017 - University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
    Duration: 3 Jul 20177 Jul 2017


    ConferenceXI SSS: 11th International Space Syntax Symposium 2017


    • Explanations
    • Hermeneutics
    • Modal logics
    • Positivism
    • Space Syntax theory
    • Theory building

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