My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Full of potential in the title, falls short of reality
As someone who took philosophy classes as part of an undergraduate major and minor, and in graduate school, and who's familiar with the idea of "field philosophy," I was very much looking forward to this book when I saw it.
That's doubly true as someone who is an environmentalist, who has serious concerns about fracking, and who used to live in various locations in and around the DFW Metroplex, and has reported as a journalist on gas well permitting at edges of the Barnett Shale.
Unfortunately, in various ways, the reality of the book fell short of the title on both the issue of field philosophy in general, and on the issue of fracking.
On the philosophy side, he could have brought more to bear on ethics, such as issues of civil disobedience as discussed, and even espoused by, philosophers in the past. He probably also could have had more of a philosophical look at things like cost-benefit analysis, as well as related issues such as whether or not some things can even be priced, and from there gone into issues of political and economic philosophy.
There are useful tools to apply to field philosophy in general in this book. However, Briggle wasn't writing about field philosophy in general, he was writing about field philosophy as applied to a very specific issue.
On the activism side, his lateness to accept that a fracking ban, not just greater control, as being what Denton needed, is a bit disconcerting. I don't know if he was trying to "fit in" with Denton, even though he'd clearly already lived there, and contra one reviewer on Amazon, is a Denton resident and a part of Denton just as much as other Denton residents, or he generally has that non-confrontational of a personality, or what.
But, at the point the Denton City Council rejected even moderately tighter controls on fracking by a 6-1 vote, it should have been clear what was needed next.
Shortcomings on just one of the two sides of the coin wouldn't have been too serious, and I would have given the book a fourth star. But, the shortcomings on both sides cost a second star.
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To expand on my Goodreads review, and focus on Briggle's take on field philosophy issues in general, Briggle starts by narrowing down his field philosophy issues of political philosophy. (Some of this may be incorporated into a longer piece at a philosophy and culture webzine.)
“To 'see both sides' of a problem is the surest way to prevent its complete solution. Because there are always more than two sides.”