To be or Not to be Philosophical: A Tiptree Inspector Decides

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From Kathmandu to Toronto, what to do with waste has become a major problem. In the UK this problem is dealt with by public inquiries. These tend to involve emotive issues where human energy becomes embroiled passionately, to satisfy personal desires. The author deals with these issues by introducing the reader to the philosophy of an American scientist and philosopher, Charles Sanders Peirce, whose particular interest was logic - 'the science of drawing conclusions': the greatest need of inquiries! By providing a case study of one such planning inquiry, the author considers aesthetic, instrumental and scientific arguments which are connected to Peirce's three categories: experiencer's feelings (Firstness), actions (Secondness) and thoughts (Thirdness) as these refer to something outside the self. Traditionally the pursuit of philosophy was regarded as leading to wisdom through investigating man's nature and his relationship to the world. Today the call is for relevance, a view captured by John Dewey's insistence on how philosophy can be put to good use within a culture. As a student of Peirce, as well as an educational theorist and philosopher in his own right, Dewey's work has had an important bearing on landscape aesthetics. The author follows his example. He also relates the issues of the inquiry to those in ecological ethics, showing how arguments can be used to defend one's own piece of landscape threatened by developments.