Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, André Breton, Rousseau, Simone de Beauvoir: who could imagine a better group of walking companions? In this engaging and invigorating book, Bruce Baugh takes us on a philosophical tour, following in the footsteps and thoughts of some great philosophers and thinkers.
How does walking reveal space and place and provide a heightened sense of embodied consciousness? Can walking in André Breton’s footsteps enable us to "remember" Breton’s experiences? A chapter on Sartre and Beauvoir investigates walking in relation to anxiety and our different ways of responding to our bodies. Walking in the Quantocks, Baugh seeks out the connection between Coleridge’s walking and his poetic imagination. With Rousseau and Nietzsche, he examines the link between solitary mountain walks and great thoughts; with Kierkegaard, he looks at the urban flâneur and the disjunction between outward appearances and spiritual inwardness. Finally, in Sussex and London, Baugh explores how Virginia Woolf transposed a Romantic nature pantheism to London in Mrs. Dalloway.
Philosophers’ Walks provides a fresh and imaginative reading of great philosophers, offering a new way of understanding some of their major works and ideas.
Table of Contents
1. Getting to know the neighbourhood
2. Ambulo, ergo sum: The mind-body problem in Gassendi and Descartes
3. Walking in André and Nadja’s footsteps: a reminiscence
4. A closer walk with Sartre and Beauvoir: the exemplarity of walking in Being and Nothingness
5. Coleridge, or the ambulatory imagination
6. Kierkegaard, the flâneur of Copenhagen
7. Rousseau and Nietzsche: solitude and the pathos of distance
8. Virginia Woolf, a country rambler in London
9. Coda: Ambulo ergo sum (reprise).
Bruce Baugh is Professor Emeritus in of Philosophy at Thompson Rivers University, Canada. His books include French Hegel: From Surrealism to Postmodernism (Routledge, 2003), and a translation of Benjamin Fondane’s Existential Monday. Philosophical Essays (2016).
"… [A] stimulating complex of scholarship and imaginative travelogue. …Baugh employs an approach even more engaging for the degree to which it is open and expansive, as if the very breezes that blow through some of his nature walks blow through his writing. … There is enough in the breadth of topics and ideas that the book could be read with pleasure by just about anyone with an active and curious mind." - Theo Dombrowski, The Ormsby Review
"This is a big book, despite being less than 240 pages. The thoughts come so densely, and any respite in the minutiae of described wanders is drenched in thinking too." - Phil Smith, University of Plymouth, UK
"This is a marvelous book! It’s literate, engaging, philosophically sophisticated, and intellectually expansive. The culmination of long, thoughtful, and passionate intellectual labor, it is deeply grounded in texts, in personae, in places, and in philosophical ideas. I can see myself returning to it again and again." - Peter S. Fosl, Transylvania University, USA
"We know that walking stimulates meditative thought, and we know that many great thinkers have been committed walkers. Baugh is walking, too, both literally in his native Kamloops and metaphorically through a remarkable range of important texts. His work is personal, without compromising on scholarship. This is a book to be read and re-read, and tucked into a backpack before setting out from home."
- Jeffrey Bloechl, Boston College, USA