From The European Urban Knowledge Network: "Introduction
"The common purpose of the city is human flourishing", Aristotle once wrote. We may not think of it every day, but philosophy and the city are strongly related. That is the main message of the book 'Philosophy and the city', edited by Sharon M. Meagher. She rightly shows that even today's belief that the problems of cities are too great to solve demonstrates the importance and influence of philosophy on our cities. After all, "anti-urban attitudes are shaped by a system of philosophical thought", she says. In this book, Meagher takes the reader through the history of the relationship between philosophy and the city. It provides food for thought for those practitioners, academics or students who would like to view urban issues from a different perspective." for full review, click here
David Gordon - Library Journal
Ever since Socrates, philosophy and the city have been in close but troubled relations. In this useful anthology, Meagher (philosophy, Univ. of Scranton) provides a number of selections, ranging from classical to modern writers, that explore these relations. Plato and Aristotle described what they took to be the ideal city, but, as the example of Socrates shows, the city was not always disposed to listen to the philosophers. In modern times, Heidegger's concept of dwelling has proved influential, and Robert Mugerauer has applied Heidegger's concept to urban planning. Henri Lefebvre, by contrast, contends that Heidegger's views understate the importance of the city. Lewis Mumford argues that the modern city must endeavor to re-create the drama of the ancient polis. Other philosophers, such as Iris Marion Young, look to the city to provide a normative ideal for ethics. Friedrich Hayek criticizes government intervention in urban affairs, arguing that such measures often fail to achieve their intended aims. Meagher offers suggestions on how to use her book in courses on philosophy and the city, and her book promises to be a useful tool in such courses.
I'm a philosopher by training. All my work now involves civic engagement or civic education (broadly defined). And I have always lived in and loved cities. Thus I am the perfect person to appreciate Sharon Meagher's website (and book) entitled Philosophy and the City. I learned about this project from Meagher herself, when she spoke yesterday at a conference called Beyond the Academy: Engaging Public Life. Meagher has her students investigate, explore, and appreciate Scranton, where they are enrolled as undergraduates. In the process, these young people (mostly from suburbs) think about cities: what they mean; how they are linked to virtues and vices (both in stereotypes and in reality); what defines citizenship of a city, and other great philosophical questions-- June 11, 2008.
My friend and colleague in philosophy, Sharon Meagher, is starting up a really great project on philosophy and the city. The premise is that philosophy is at its best bound up with the public affairs of a particular place. Meagher argues that the philosophical pretense to adopt a “view from nowhere” ignores the ways in which philosophy is entangled with the problems of the world, and the problems of our own communities, increasingly large urban places. One of the innovations of Meagher’s work is the idea of a philosophical walking tour of a city. Imagine taking your students on such a tour, pausing at the places that caused major social upheaval, other places in which new social relations and ideas were worked out. Meagher’s site is still under construction, so check it out now as well as later for new ideas on how to engage philosophy students in the problems of the world.--November 27, 2007. McAfee's blog: Gone Public: Philosophy, Politics, & Public Life.
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