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Leonidas Koutsoumpos completed his PhD thesis entitled: «Inhabiting Ethics: Educational Praxis in the Design Studio, the Music Class and the Dojo» at department of «Arts, Culture and Environment» of the University of Edinburgh, under the sponsorship of the State Scholarships Foundation (SSF), in 2009.

The PhD thesis received an award, in 2009, by the «Royal Institute of British Architects" (RIBA). Reviews commented about the PhD thesis that it has been a remarkable project attempting to offer answers to the difficult nevertheless important question of whether ethics can be taught at the schools of architecture".

More specifically, the thesis examines whether it is possible for ethical issues to be taught in the teaching of architectural design. Research starts from the philosophical conclusion that ethics can not be taught (Plato) nor can it be communicated through speech (Wittgenstein).

Can ethics be taught in architectural design?


The philosophy of Plato and Wittgenstein on which the research was based, in the thesis «Inhabiting Ethics: Educational Praxis in the Design Studio, the Music Class and the Dojo» is in principle theoretical pitfall. In order to overcome him methodologically the researcher, through the tactics of ethnomethodology investigates the way that participants in each practice produce situations of Ethics in each of the three cases: (i) An architectural design studio, (ii) a music class and (iii) and a dojo (the place of education in the traditional Japanese martial arts. These three examples are selected because gradually are based less and less on speech as a main element of teaching. Especially in the martial arts the teaching often happens in absolute silence conditions.

Philosophically speaking the ethics concept is related to the distinction between morality and ethics. Morality is characterized by ethical issues raised by external rules while ethics is characterized by practical judgements, based on internal habits.

Finally, two complex terms are employed to analyze the production of morality and ethics in the case studies. There it is found that morality is produced through situations that interrupt an ongoing educational process (reflective disruption) and ethic is produced by repetitive imitation actions (repetitive mimesis).


Department of Architecture, School of Engineering, University of Patras & School of ‘Arts, Culture and Environment’, University of Edinburgh

The PhD thesis of Leonidas Koutsoumpos was funded by the State Scholarships Foundation and received an award from the «Royal Institute of British Architects" (RIBA) under the title 'RIBA President's Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis' in 2009.

The RIBA awards encourage and support research in architecture since 2005. Their goal is to promote high quality research scientists involved in it. At the same time, they aim at emphasizing on the research 'gaps' of innovative and strategic sectors in the field of architecture.


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Lecturer (Presidential Decree: 407/80) Department of Architecture, School of Engineering, University of Patras.