It strikes me that I have left an essential question unanswered, though I posed it in my post of 11/11/11.
I raised two question at the beginning of that post:
First, what has the tragic outlook to do with ethics in the built environment? Second, what do I mean by 'outlook'?I suggested, very briefly, that
[t]he quick answer to both of these is to say that I propose to consider the city in its cosmological context.At the time, I developed an answer only to the second question:
I take an outlook to be a basic orientation to the cosmos, a basic set of beliefs about how and to what degree the world is ordered, how and to what degree it can be expected to make sense.More specifically, I connect a tragic outlook to a skeptical approach to cosmology:
When considering the city and the cosmos, I am aware of the possibility that things may go very badly wrong, and that there is little reason to believe there are any built-in safeguards against the logical consequences of our folly.Implicit in this is an answer to the first question, regarding the relevance of a tragic outlook to ethics in the built environment: it is a matter of what we expect and what we hope for as we carry out our particular projects in particular places, how prepared we are - as individuals and as communities - to respond to uncertainty, change, and the possibility of loss.