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Professor Introduces Students to the Philosophy of Walking

by Sue Kropp


David Macauley

MAY 14, 2002--For David Macauley, walking is more than a way to get from place to place. Macauley, a visiting assistant professor of environmental studies and philosophy, has focused much of his work on how our movement over, about, around, and even within the earth affects the study of environmental practice.

Blending his love of philosophy with a growing interest in environmental issues eventually led Macauley to consider the relationship between walking and environmentalism. Concerned that environmental philosophy too often focused on matters related to place and displacement in its treatment of plants, animals, and land at the expense of the motion of people through these regions, Macauley poured over philosophical writings to better understand the meaning of motion.

"Walking is an activity that can reconnect us with nature and with ourselves," Macauley says. "We can use walking as a way to reanimate our senses and to see the natural world. Philosophical naturalists like Thoreau recognized this--as did Taoist and Zen Buddhist monks--and understood the elemental relationship of our bodies to the earth. Being aware of this relationship can help us as we look for solutions to current environmental crises."

More on David Macauley

A Q&A with David Macauley:

Before Oberlin
Current Course Offerings
Next Year's Classes
Research Interests
Published Books
Oberlin Students and Environmental Studies

 

 

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