Looking for a place to call home in his early 20s, Shane Epting took residence at Temple Dog School, a "college in exile" in Anthony, New Mexico, owned by Jim Webb, a former humanities professor from Reed College. They spent their days discussing books, exploring ideas, raising chihuahuas, and watching cacti grow.
There, his interests in philosophy and the nonhuman environment developed, eventually landing him at the University of North Texas, where he studied under the founders of environmental ethics. Epting developed a passion for examining competing interests between humans, nonhumans, future generations, and urban technologies.
He co-founded the Philosophy of the City Research Group to connect with like-minded philosophers during his graduate studies. He continues to serve as a codirector. The group is approaching its 10th anniversary, having held conferences in numerous cities across the globe, including New York City, Bogotá, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Detroit, San Fransisco, Helsinki, Portland, OR, and Porto.
Epting has published four books and twenty-five journal articles, given several keynote lectures, numerous invited talks, and delivered dozens of presentations worldwide.
While Epting's research addresses issues such as those mentioned, the culmination of his thinking on such affairs led to the development of "moral ordering," a theoretical device for easing tensions between several stakeholder groups. The careful study of this process and one's place in it, coupled with examining its dynamics, can help facilitate "urban enlightenment." His recent book, Urban Enlightenment: Multistakeholder Engagement and the City, unpacks these ideas.
He has been a guest on the nationally syndicated radio broadcast, Philosophy Talk - KALW, 91.7 FM, San Francisco, for an episode entitled, "Can Streets Discriminate?" He also was a guest on Dr. Ian Werkheiser's podcast, Thought about Food, for an episode entitled "Philosophy of the City and Food Sovereignty." You can learn more about his research in his recent interviews in Daily Philosophy and with the Interdisciplinary Environmental Association.
Epting is a first-generation college student who is no stranger to challenging work. In the classroom today, he strives to help students gain a philosophical view of the world surrounding them. He has created and taught several courses that facilitate such efforts, including philosophy of the city, transportation justice, and creating future cities. His efforts have earned him the prestigious Miner Alumni Association’s Class of ’42 Excellence in Teaching Award.