Colloquium _ Making philosophy matter

I take my lead from Aristotle and Thucydides – and emphatically not from Socrates and Plato – in a tradition that runs via Machiavelli and Nietzsche to Foucault and Bourdieu. Instead of trying to emulate the natural sciences, I argue that philosophy and social science must cut their own path to relevance.

The real strength of philosophy and social science lies not in their ability to produce theory, but in their rich, reflexive analysis of values and power in specific domains of social praxis, including technology policy and management. I shall argue that such analysis – and its contribution to public deliberation – is essential to the social, economic, and environmental development in any democracy. I illustrate my argument with examples from my own studies of urban policy and of mega-projects.

About Bent Flyvbjerg

Bent Flyvbjerg [’bent ‘fliuwbjI] is Professor of Planning at the Department of Development and Planning at Aalborg University, Denmark. He holds a concurrent position as Chair in Infrastructure Policy and Planning at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands and is an affiliate member of 3TU.Ethics.

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