Three Ways of Doing Philosophy of the City




applied philosophy, philosophy of the urban sciences, right to the city, urban epistemology, urban normative theory


In this paper, I propose to subdivide philosophy of the city into three more specific areas of study. First, philosophy of the city as urban epistemology and philosophy of the urban sciences focusses on problems of experiencing and knowing cities and of generating scientific knowledge about cities (sect. 2). Second, philosophy of the city as urban normative theory seeks to interpret and spell out the central categories of practical philosophy—the right, the good, the aesthetic, the democratic etc.—for urban contexts (sect. 3). Third, applied philosophy of the city aims to combine philosophical analysis with the search for practical solutions and concrete possibilities for change (sect. 4). The benefit of such a subdivision of the field is twofold. On the one hand, this systematization clarifies the mutual relations between philosophy of the city, other branches of philosophy, and other urban sciences. On the other hand, it helps identifying open question and blind spots within the current debate and, thereby, opens up new directions for future research in philosophy of the city.