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French philosopher of science and phenomenologist Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962) trained originally as a scientist and as a philosopher, before developing a strong interest in phenomenology and the theory of the imagination. The seeds of his subsequent theorization can be found in his early work on the philosophy of science. Bachelard stressed the dialectical relationship between rationalism (the world of thinking) and realism (the empirical world). Critical of the Cartesian drive towards simplicity, he emphasized instead complexity. In this Bachelard was heavily influenced by psychoanalysis and surrealism. He developed the concept of 'surrationalism', by which he sought to reinvigorate our understanding of the rational, by emphasizing the complexity of its material situation, rather as surrealism sought to invigorate realism by playing upon the dream world. In his later work, the influence of psychoanalysis and the role of the imagination became increasingly dominant.

Information courtesy of Rethinking Architecture, ed. Neil Leach

See also: Poetics of Space This is Bachelard's most well-known and influential work, and a very good read as well.

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