Ecology, Evolution, and Aesthetics: Towards an Evolutionary Aesthetics of Nature

British Journal of Aesthetics 52 (2):123-139 (2012)
Allen Carlson has argued that a proper aesthetics of nature must judge nature for ‘what it is’, and that such judgements must be informed by a scientific understanding of nature, in particular, one shaped by the science of ecology. Carlson uses these claims to support his theory of positive aesthetics. This paper argues that there are problems in this view. First, it misunderstands ecology, thereby adopting a view of the natural world that holds it to be much more integrated than it is. Second, it ignores an even more fundamental science of nature, evolution. Thus, it misunderstands both ecology and nature. An alternative to this view would be an aesthetics based on an evolutionary understanding of nature, which holds that, although there are many functional wholes in nature, there is also significant conflict, disintegration, and incongruent scales. A proper aesthetics of nature must take these conflicts into account. The paper ends with a sketch of an aesthetic theory based on the science of evolution.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/aesthj/ays001
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,904
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Malcolm Budd (1996). The Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature. British Journal of Aesthetics 36 (3):207-222.
Noel E. Boulting (1999). The Aesthetics of Nature. Philosophy in the Contemporary World 6 (3/4):21-34.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

14 ( #180,241 of 1,725,417 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #349,420 of 1,725,417 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.