Shane Epting, Ph.D.
Philosopher of the City
Shane Epting is an assistant professor of philosophy at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. His research focuses on sustainability, transportation, environmental justice, and urban futures.
Cities’ transportation systems affect people, nonhuman life, urban artifacts, and could impact future generations, increasing tensions through what appear to be conflicting interests at times. Ethically addressing these concerns requires dealing with the problem of moral prioritization. Shane Epting illustrates how “moral ordering” benefits this issue. Examining these matters provides conceptual advantages for thinking through the ethical dimensions of urban mobility in an everchanging world. Along with these insights, this book reveals how exploring transportation philosophically deepens our understanding of what it means to move about the city.
In discussing the morality of urban mobility, this book confronts a question that is otherwise as inescapable as it is difficult. For beyond the more obvious technological and logistical concerns, urban mobility indeed is fundamentally and ultimately a question of justice. Who gets to move within the city? And how? How can we develop a culture, indeed the moral basis, for ensuring that infrastructures, institutions, policies, as well as technologies all work together in granting everyone, including non-humans, a place to dwell and flourish in the city? Shane Epting helps us face these questions rigorously, courageously, and honestly.
— Remmon E. Barbaza, associate professor of philosophy, Ateneo de Manila University
This book makes the case that several urban technologies contribute to wicked problems such as climate change and vast social and economic inequalities. Such situations often create unfavorable conditions for mental life in cities. These conditions force us to expand the taxonomy of technology to include new designations: “wicked” and “saving” technologies. Epting holds that the latter can support worthwhile goals such as socially just urban sustainability. Along with fleshing out this view, he provides concrete examples of saving technologies, which include cohousing initiatives, ariel cable cars, participatory budgeting, and car-free zones/cities.