Gardening - Philosophy for Everyone: Cultivating Wisdom

Gardening - Philosophy for Everyone: Cultivating Wisdom

by Dan O'Brien
     
 

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Gardens and contemplation have been closely connected since the dawn of philosophy, with many drawing on their beauty and peace for philosophical inspiration. Gardens in turn give rise to a broad spectrum of philosophical questions. For the green-fingered thinker, this book unearths a whole host of fascinating philosophical themes, including:

  • Epicurus

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Overview

Gardens and contemplation have been closely connected since the dawn of philosophy, with many drawing on their beauty and peace for philosophical inspiration. Gardens in turn give rise to a broad spectrum of philosophical questions. For the green-fingered thinker, this book unearths a whole host of fascinating philosophical themes, including:

  • Epicurus and gardens for happiness
  • Plato and gardening as the care of the soul
  • The philosophy of Central Park
  • Kitchen gardens and the history of self-sufficiency
  • The aesthetic and ethical dimensions of gardens

Gardening – Philosophy for Everyone proffers intriguing insights into the historical and continuing deep-rooted connection between philosophy and gardens.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Intriguing ideas combined with a philosophical method of inquiry bring the benefits of gardening into the 21st century.  Gardening Philosophy for Everyone: Cultivating Wisdomproduces what the title suggests – it cultivates and grows the body of knowledge about gardening, exploring the value of gardening past and present for multiple disciplines.”  (Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture, 1 November 2012)

"So pull up a chair, relax under a shady canopy and delve into the fascinating garden-related philosophies contained in this most interesting read." (Australian Horticulture, 1 March 2011)"A good mix of topics, ideas and arguments - a very good and meaty read." (Gardensandpeople.co.uk, 1 March 2011)

"Reading this book has been an experience so enchanting, that I am eager to revisit each of the essays, to re submerge myself in their expertise. If one is a gardener, this is a publication reserved for cold winter nights or long plane rides; for the non-gardener, it is an engaging private symposium. One might also call it "variations on a theme of gardening", enriched by diverse intellectual disciplines and unexpected perspectives of the contributing authors." (Gardenguru, 29 March 2011)

"Reading this book has been an experience so enchanting, that I am eager to revisit each of the essays, to re submerge myself in their expertise. If one is a gardener, this is a publication reserved for cold winter nights or long plane rides; for the non-gardener, it is an engaging private symposium. One might also call it "variations on a theme of gardening", enriched by diverse intellectual disciplines and unexpected perspectives of the contributing writers." (Bookpleasures.com, 26 March 2011)

"There's nothing too 'difficult' philosophically in this book, so definitely one for any thoughtful gardeners, philosophers or not." (Wittgenstein's Watering Can, 21 April 2011)

"Finally, we have a book which celebrates and examines the topic of gardens and gardening in a way that involves more than simply helping pick the perfect plant for your shady nook." (A Garden of Possibilities, 18 April 2011)

"The book is comprised of numerous essays by different authors, each with their own unique angle. I am very impressed that Permaculture is mentioned at least once by name, and hunter-gatherers, foragers, and horticulturalists, are discussed in many of the essays. Also, each author brings their own definition of gardening, and some of them are broad enough to include the most cutting edge forest gardens as well as many primitive peoples' land management techniques. Even the essays with a more narrow view of what a garden is had interesting thoughts of our interaction with plants and how that impacts us philosophically." (Nathan Carlos Rupley, 15 April 2011)

"Editor Dan O'Brien has assembled a collection of essays, among which are Mara Miller's reflections upon the many layers of time and change inherent in gardens, and the ways in which they affect persona experiences, which illuminate how these may play into design considerations". (Garden Design Journal, 1 April 2011)

"Gardening is not absent from philosophy; after all, Voltaire's Candide ends with the admonition to ‘cultivate our garden.' This book examines how gardening is like philosophy and vice versa. Much space is also given to political philosophy and some fascinating explorations into the political and philosophical ramifications of historical gardening in London and Aztec Mexico. The series is likely to appeal to armchair philosophers and undergraduates alike, and this volume will give gardeners of an intellectual bent a philosophical justification for their hobby." (Library Journal, March 2011)

"A new book on the philosophy of gardening - edited by Dan O'Brien and Fritz Allhoff - has been written by and for the green-thumbed thinker, the practical gardener, the salad gardener, the architect, the archaeologist, and the artist at work among the ferns". (Horticulture Week, 12 January 2011)

"Either way, it is an engaging and enjoyable read, and readers of the ERB will certainly want to stay tuned for future volumes in this diverse - and apparently all-encompassing - series!". (Englewood Review of Books, 28 December 2010)

"Another essay takes a slightly different slant on Miller's theme, showing how gardens exist as patterns in time, just as music does. Overall, too many of these essays treat of the garden as a metaphor rather than as an actuality. But such books are rarely seen, and this one provides more than enough food for thought amid acres of identikit 'your kitchen-garden' and allotment books." (The Telegraph, 7 December 2010)

Library Journal
The "Philosophy for Everyone" series is made up of new philosophical takes on subjects not usually addressed from the philosophical perspective. Gardening is not absent from philosophy; after all, Voltaire's Candide ends with the admonition to "cultivate our garden." This book examines how gardening is like philosophy and vice versa. As might be expected, aesthetics is a major focus of the essays, with forays to Central Park and the garden at Dumbarton Oaks. Much space is also given to political philosophy and some fascinating explorations into the political and philosophical ramifications of historical gardening in London and Aztec Mexico. Virtue ethics are another important aspect of the philosophy of gardening: the consensus among philosophers is that one way or another, cultivating a garden also cultivates the body and soul to the betterment of both. The authors of the essays gathered here by O'Brien (research fellow, Oxford Brookes Univ.) are scholars of philosophy, art history, and landscape design, and many of them are gardeners. VERDICT The series is likely to appeal to armchair philosophers and undergraduates alike, and this volume will give gardeners of an intellectual bent a philosophical justification for their hobby.—Margaret Heller, Dominican Univ. Lib., River Forest, IL

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781444330212
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
02/22/2011
Series:
Philosophy for Everyone Series, #20
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

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