A growing literature testifies to the persistence of place as an incorrigible aspect of human experience, identity, and morality. Place is a common ground for thought and action, a community of experienced particulars that avoids solipsism and universalism. It draws us into the philosophy of the ordinary, into familiarity as a form of knowledge, into the wisdom of proximity. Each of these essays offers a philosophy of place, and reminds us that such philosophies ultimately decide how we make, use, and (...) understand places, whether as accidents, instruments, or fields of care. (shrink)
The eighteenth century notion of the “picturesque” has been misunderstood by many contemporary environmental aestheticians. This has contributed both to amisunderstanding of the history of environmental aesthetics and, within the discipline, to a misunderstanding of English garden design. This essay contains a discussion of the term as it appears in environmental aesthetics literature and an examination of the history of the term as used in eighteenth-century garden design literature. This history is used to contest the account of the term as (...) used by contemporary environmental aestheticians and to develop a philosophically more interesting interpretation of it. (shrink)
This essay examines the possibility of developing a more complete evolutionary aesthetics that can be used to appraise both natural landscapes and works of landscape architects. For the purpose of this essay, an “evolutionary aesthetics” is an aesthetic theory that is closely connected to Darwin’s theory of evolution. Two types of Darwinian evolutionary aesthetics seem possible; a theory of evolved tastes, such as that developed by Dennis Dutton, and an aesthetics of evolving nature based on Carlson’s positive aesthetics. After, exploring (...) both theories, I argue that, while the two positions approach aesthetics from different directions, they support similar aesthetic judgments concerning landscapes, and this suggests that the two positions might be incorporated into a broader theory of evolutionary aesthetics. That theory is briefly outlined and applied to both natural landscapes and parks. (shrink)
According to Aristotle, both urban planning and political philosophy originated in the work of one man, Hippodamus of Miletus. If Aristotle is right, then the study of Hippodamus's work should help us understand their history as interrelated fields. Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine with any degree of precision exactly what Hippodamus's contributions were to these two fields when the two fields are studied separately. In urban planning, Hippodamus was traditionally credited with having invented the ''grid pattern'' in which straight (...) streets intersect each other at right angles to form regular city blocks. However, as grid patterned cities have been discovered that were built before Hippodamus's birth, this traditional attribution must be false. In political philosophy, Hippodamus was credited with having written the first utopian ''constitution''. However, Aristotle's account of this constitution is so brief that it is difficult to determine what philosophical position lies behind it and, as that account makes clear, several of the laws governing Hippodamus's ideal city seem contradictory. In this paper, I argue that Hippodamus did significant work in both fields but that his intentions can only be seen clearly if his philosophical and architectural works are read together. This reading not only makes clear the unique contribution that Hippodamus made to both disciplines, but it shows how they were-and perhaps how they should be-related. (shrink)
A multi-disciplinary study of the house that the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein built for his sister in Vienna between 1926 and 1928, this book weaves together ideas taken from a number of disciplines_sociology, political science, aesthetics, architecture, urban planning, and philosophy_to develop a complex, multifaceted interpretation of the purpose and design of the house, which, in turn, is used to ground a new interpretation of Wittgenstein's philosophical works emphasizing their mystical nature and practical purpose.
According to Kuhn a new scientific discipline comes into existence when a group of scientists adopt a common paradigm within which to conduct research. The adoption of this paradigm senes to focus the attention of the group’s members on a common explanatory task-at-hand and leads them to adopt similar methods and aims, thus making possible the standard puzzle solving activities that allow normal science to advance rapidly. However, Kuhn argues, in pre-paradigm periods and during revolutionary phases, scientists do not engage (...) in such singleminded, puzzle-solving behavior, as the paradigm itself is put into question. Instead, during these periods, they become at least partially self-reflective in that they become interested in understanding the nature of their discipline and its relationships to other disciplines. In this paper, I argue that Philosophical Counseling is in a pre-paradigm period and is in need of a paradigm centered definition if it is to develop an identity and advance rapidly. In an Aristotelian mood, I seek this definition though an examination of the related fiends of psychotherapy and pastoral counseling. (shrink)
This paper outlines a normative/philosophical theory of evolutionary aesthetics, one that differs substantially from existing explanatory/psychological theories, such as Dutton’s. This evolutionary theory is based on Carlson’s scientific cognitivism, but differs in that it is based on evolutionary rather than ecological theory. After offering a short account of Carlson’s theory, I distinguish it from a normative evolutionary aesthetics. I then explore an historically important normative/philosophical theory of the aesthetics of nature that is consistent with Darwin’s theory of natural selection; namely, (...) the theory of the picturesque. Finally, after summarizing Nietzsche’s early theory of tragedy, I discuss how some of his ideas might be incorporated into an evolutionary aesthetics. (shrink)
This paper seeks to discover if urban planning has any 'internal values' which might help guide its practitioners and provide standards with which to judge their works, thereby providing for some disciplinary autonomy. After arguing that such values can best be discovered through an examination of the history of utopian urban planning, I examine one period in that history, the early Renaissance and, in particular, the work of Leon Battista Alberti. Against Susan Lang's thesis that Alberti's work was guided by (...) the fundamental value of beauty, I argue that Alberti was centrally concerned to design cities that would help their citizens develop civic virtue. Against Françoise Choay's thesis that Alberti was not a utopian, I argue that Alberti was a procedural utopian interested in advancing certain political goals. This analysis suggests that urban planning has an internal value structure which includes some specific political values. (shrink)
Beginning with Ronald Hepburn’s path-breaking essay, “Contemporary Aesthetics and the Neglect of Natural Beauty,” which helped establish the modern discipline of environmental aesthetics, philosophers have provided sketches of what, after Hegel, might be called “philosophical histories of the aesthetics of nature.” These histories are remarkably similar and can easily be blended together to create a “received history” of the discipline. This history has subtly influenced work in the field. Unfortunately, it is not completely accurate and, as a result, has had (...) a misleading effect. A more accurate and expanded alternative history calls into question the received history’s view both on the origins of the field in arts-based aesthetic theories and on the nature and value of the aesthetic categories, “the picturesque” and “the sublime.” These categories were not borrowed from philosophy of art and inappropriately applied to nature, but instead were developed to appraise landscapes, which unlike natural objects could only rarely be judged beautiful since they are almost never symmetrical or ordered. (shrink)
Ecotourism has been defined in a number of possibly incompatible ways, such as travel to especially wonderful natural sites, as aform of educational travel, and as sustainable tourism. These various understandings of ecotourism can be used to ground a number of different kinds of natural area policies. In particular they can ground a number of policies concerning the management of the many National Parks in the United States. In this paper, in order to assess these policies, I distinguish several different (...) understandings of “ecotourism” and discuss the kinds of park management programs that might be based on them. In the course of this discussion, I examine the history of tourism in Europe in order to develop other notions of ecotourism, including two based on the idea of pilgrimage. To clarify this last idea of ecotourism, I examine religious pilgrimage and several ideas of nature taken from the Romantic Movement in Europe and the Transcendentalist movement in the United States, as seen in the work of Emerson, Thoreau, Muir, and Ansel Adams. (shrink)
This paper argues against evolutionary accounts of aesthetics by defending the idea that our fundamental aesthetic categories have undergone great changes in the last two millennia, in particular, during an “artistic revolution” that lasted from 1680 to 1830. This revolution was made possible by the development of a number of technologies of art that created a separate cultural space for this new invention. The attempt to extend this revolution to include the aesthetic appreciation of the natural environment is aided by (...) a new set of technologies that help make an aesthetic object out of natural environments. This even morerecent development is further evidence against an evolutionary explanation of art. (shrink)
Discussions of green design and sustainable architecture have become common in the architectural profession, but not in philosophy. This is unfortunate, as philosophers could make important contributions to this discussion, given that these terms rife with ambiguities and that the relationships between these ideas and the traditional Vitruvian values of architecture (beauty, structure, and utility) are unclear. In a recent article, Tom Spector addresses some of these issues to assess whether the notion of sustainability could underpin an entire design philosophy. (...) He concludes that it cannot. I argue that Spector’s argumentsare flawed. After discussing the history of green design, I connect a number of theories in the new field of environmental aesthetics to the question of architectural aesthetics to show how sustainability might inform architecture. (shrink)
Wagner is thought to be one of the first Modern Architects, yet a number of writers have argued that his most famous Modern building, the “Postsparkasse,” violates the most basic principles of Modern Architecture; principles that Wagner himself helped develop. This essay develops a new interpretation of this building by placing it in the context of fin de sicle Viennese culture. This interpretation shows that the “Postsparkasse” is a Modern building, but it also shows that the common understanding of “Modern (...) Architecture” needs to be revised. It also suggests a new role for architecture in the contemporary world. (shrink)
The practice of preserving various parts of urban landscapes for historical purposes raises a variety of normative, metaphysical, and conceptual questions that invite philosophical analysis. The normative questions are particularly interesting. Why should we preserve historical sites? What sites are worth preserving? How should they be preserved and interpreted?1 In this essay, I apply Nietzsche’s theories of history and culture as found in the first two Untimely Meditations to provide a fresh critical framework to some normative questions raised by a (...) particularly difficult instance of historical preservation; namely, the preservation of Confederate monuments. This framework allows me to argue that some monuments should be removed from their prominent public sites, while others should be retained and reinterpreted. (shrink)
The subtitle of this book raises the question of what cognitive science can teach ethics. The answer, I believe, is "very little" or at least "little that ethics doesn't know already." This can be seen in the fact that, with one important exception, the authors to which Johnson most often refers are not cognitive scientists, but are instead those moral philosophers engaged in developing fundamental criticisms of "modern" or "enlightenment" morality, philosophers such as Taylor, Williams, and MacIntyre. What Johnson does (...) take from cognitive science is a set of terms, a general viewpoint, and a methodology which leads him to look at how ordinary people actually go about solving moral problems. Fortunately, this methodology yields some interesting results. (shrink)
Communitarians have argued that liberalism somehow causes or leads to a consumer society. Moreover, they have argued that consumer society is somehow morally suspect. Given the connection between liberalism and consumerism, they have argued that the moral problems they have found in consumer society give reason to oppose liberalism. In this paper, after defining “consumerism” and “liberalism,” I examine the various communitarian arguments against consumerism, and the various arguments that seek to connect liberalism to consumerism. I argue that only one (...) of these arguments has any hope of establishing this connection. (shrink)
By some of the top philosophers in the field of aesthetics as well as those in the architectural profession, essays in this book related architecture to other artforms such as photography. literature and painting. relates architecture to other artforms such as photography, literature and painting contains essays by some of the world's top philosophers works with a diversity of architectural concepts and issues philosophical discussions are generated by professionally designed architectural projects as well as vernacular ones extends the bounds of (...) architectural issues presently discussed by philosophers. (shrink)
This is an elegantly written, but ultimately unsatisfying book. In it, Hampshire says a number of intelligent things about a variety of subjects central to political philosophy, but it is not clear that these remarks ever coalesce into a consistent position. This may not be a problem for Hampshire, however, as he begins his book with the claim that it is “a mistake to look for a moral theory, or a set of propositions, that could serve as a justification, or (...) foundation, of... political loyalties and opinions”. Hampshire offers a number of reasons in support of this metaethical claim, but the most important among them is the claim that conflict is inevitable in the political domain. Hampshire’s focus on conflict connects his thought to that of Heraclitus, from whom he took his title, while simultaneously placing it in opposition to Plato’s theory that justice is a kind of harmony in the state and in the soul. Hampshire argues that Plato misunderstood both the nature of reason and the role it plays in resolving conflict. Differing conceptions of the good life, on Hampshire’s view, are constantly generated by the moral imagination. Because these conceptions included both views on the relative importance of different values and differing substantive theories of justice, the fecundity of the moral imagination guarantees both that moral conflict will be ubiquitous and that reason, understood in terms of Plato’s paradigm of mathematical proof, will be incapable of resolving it. (shrink)
Although this book is devoted primarily to the development of a philosophical critique of moral relativism, fully a third of it is dedicated to an examination of the role that relativism has played in anthropology. As a result, this book should be of interest to both philosophers and anthropologists.
I am grateful for the extraordinarily kind comments that Professors Nancy Snow and Joseph Wagner have made about my essay. I find their criticisms useful as they point to some important weaknesses in that essay. Fortunately, I believe that these weaknesses lie mainly in the exposition of my argument and not in its substance. As anyone who has read even a few works in the vast secondary literature on utopianism will attest, “utopia” is an extremely difficult word to define. It (...) seems that, despite my best efforts, this difficulty has caused problems in my essay, too, as I believe that the objections raised by Snow and Wagner are based on my failure to be clear about my views on the nature of “utopia” and “utopianism.” In these comments, I will try to clarify what I mean by each term. Then, I will argue that, given my definitions, my arguments are untouched by my colleagues’ objections. (shrink)
A number of different types of arguments have been advanced against the use of Utopian speculation in Political Philosophy. In this essay I examine what I call "political arguments against utopianism." I limit my discussion to those arguments made by liberals. These arguments hold that there is some essential incompatibility between liberalism and utopianism. I argue that this is not the case. After examining these arguments in detail, I attempt to define "utopianism." This leads me to argue that there is (...) a type of utopianism, which I call "political utopianism," which escapes the political arguments advanced by liberals. I end by urging that liberals should spend more time developing Utopian conceptions of liberal society. (shrink)
Title: Michel Foucault Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan ISBN: 0312531664 Author: Mark Cousins and Athar Hussain Title: Michel Foucault and the Subversion of Intellect Publisher: Cornell University Press ISBN: 0801415721 Author: Karlis Racevskis.
Communitarians have offered a number of arguments against liberalism that connect liberalism to consumerism. In this paper, I examine an argument to this effect developed by Michael Sandel. I argue that Sandel’s argument fails to undenmne liberalism, but that it does demonstrate that many contemporary liberals have placed too great an emphasis on the principle of political neutrality. I argue that liberalism, properly understood, requires both limited neutrality and an emphasis on democratic deliberation. If this is the case, then Sandel’s (...) argument misses its target. However, it does point out how contemporary liberalism needs to be reformed. By emphasizing more local democratic control over the economy, liberalism would not only become more theoretically consistent, but it would distance itself from consumerism. (shrink)
The purpose of this book is to develop a critique of ethical theory grounded in what Flanagan calls "psychological realism." This realism requires the rejection of any ethical theory or ideal which prescribes a character, decision-making process, or behavior, that is impossible for "creatures like us". It is Flanagan's view that "the two main models of moral excellence in philosophy"--"the fully virtuous person" imagined in most virtue theories and "the principled reasoner," assumed by both of the main branches of rule (...) theory--are incoherent, the products of misinformed "common sense" and outdated philosophical psychologies. It is his goal to put moral theory on the more solid ground of scientific psychology and contemporary philosophical psychology. (shrink)