Reading the ninth chapter of City of Rhetoric, was a good way to tie up everything I learned throughout the book. David Fleming finalizes the book restating many of the claims he developed throughout it. He begins the final chapter calling for the readers to have “humility toward the built world”. In other words, Fleming makes a call for his readers to view environments as places crucial for human development. Nowadays, the majority of people see environments as minor and not determinant for human flourishing.
Following the call for a change of perspective for built environments, Fleming proceeds to one of the greatest parts of this book in my opinion. He narrates an ancient Greek myth about the Gods giving cities humans as a compensation for their lack of abilities. Fleming himself writes, “In time, the city became humans chief competitive advantage over nature, chance and other animals, as well as the home of civilization itself.” (196) Basically, Fleming considers cities as the most important advancement humanity has made and that all of the others are due to it.
Fleming advocates for more public support for cities in the United States, the same way the government does to suburbs, more powerful regions and “civic” education for students. Fleming quotes utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill views on political education, “raised the intellectual standard of the average citizen beyond anything known since.” In other words, Fleming continues to advocate for the importance of public education and the way “cities teach us.”
(Cover of Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill)