Philosophy of Place

Last week at the East-West Centre University of Hawaii was the Philosophers’ Place conference

I have not been to a Philosophy conference for around 25 years but it was a warm and inviting conference in a magnificient I. M. Pei designed venue with its own Japanese garden.

To be honest, a big reason to go was to hear Edward Casey speak. I learnt a great deal about Confucius and to lesser extent Laozi or Lao Tsu (not so much about place) but one question from CHENG Chung-ying (University of Hawai’i) really got me thinking: what exactly is virtuality?

Another big question or two lying in wait is what is philosophy? Do traditional non-western cultures have philosophy. Obviously to the Eastern philosophers there the answer is yes but how each saw as fundamental elements of philosophy was left unsaid.

A third issue, especially for ‘rationalist’ and western-trained philosophers was whether they should spend any time examining mythical beliefs, that was an interesting question at one panel I attended.

As to place and the design of place? I met a few designers and one architect interested in the question, but the majority of attendees seemed happy to just talk about it as if place was a given. Oh well.

Anyway, I recall a visualisation professor telling me he hated humanities conferences because they read full papers! Remembering this, I had a sudden dreadful suspicion I had to also write and read from a full paper when the panel chair emailed and suggested we share our papers first. Now I, being the idiot that I am, thought I had to write and read from a paper as well as deliver slides. I won’t bore you with the slides, but I wrote and sent a 6000 word paper, trying to explain why I was there. And that was to get feedback on hermeneutic environments and phenomenology for the evaluation of virtual places.

So that is what the draft paper circles around. I believe there will be proceedings so I may be asked to complete the paper. But someone may be interested in the draft paper and give me feedback in the meantime! Oh and the other speakers did not write or speak from or distribute written speeches. So I just talked to my slides.. 🙂

So here is the draft paper






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