The application of narrative to the conservation of historic buildings
The paper is a dialogue between a conservation architect who works on medieval churches and an analytic aesthetician interested in the principles underlying restoration and conservation. The focus of the debate is the explanatory role of narrative in understanding and justifying elective changes to historic buildings. For the architect this is a fruitful model and offers a basis for a genuinely new approach to a philosophy of conservation. The philosopher, however, has been sceptical about appeals to narrative in other contexts (for example, self-identity), and rehearses some reasons for this scepticism. The dialogue explores the pros and cons of the narrative approach to conservation and seeks to forge a compromise that acknowledges concerns about inflated claims for narrative while pursuing the merits of this particular application.