This article is a response to yuriko saito's "is there a correct aesthetic appreciation of nature?" (jae 18:4) which challenges the position on the aesthetic appreciation of nature that i develop in a series of recent articles. i here consider saito's arguments, concluding that they neither establish the correctness of a wide range of kinds of aesthetic appreciations of nature nor undercut the grounds for the prominence i grant to scientific considerations in such appreciation.
Since aesthetic experience is vital for the protection of nature, I address the relationship between environmental aesthetics and environmentalism. I first review two traditional positions, the picturesque approach and formalism. Some environmentalists fault the modes of aesthetic appreciation associated with these views, charging they are anthropocentric, scenery-obsessed, superficial, subjective, and/or morally vacuous. In light of these apparent failings of traditional aesthetics of nature, I suggest five requirements of environmentalism: that aesthetic appreciation of nature should be acentric, environment-focused, serious, objective and (...) morally engaged. I then examine two contemporary positions concerning appropriate aesthetic appreciation of nature, the aesthetics of engagement and scientific cognitivism, assessing each in terms of the requirements of environmentalism. (shrink)
The development and nature of environmental aesthetics -- Aesthetic appreciation and the natural environment -- The requirements for an adequate aesthetics of nature -- Aesthetic appreciation and the human environment -- Appreciation of the human environment under different conceptions -- Aesthetic appreciation and the agricultural landscape -- What is the correct way to aesthetically appreciate landscapes?
This essay presents a methodological framework for assessing the adequacy of philosophical accounts of the aesthetic appreciation of nature. The framework involves five requirements, each of which is labeled after a philosopher who has defended it. They are called Ziff's Anything Viewed Doctrine, Budd's As Nature Constraint, Berleant's Unified Aesthetics Requirement, Hepburn's Serious Beauty Intuition, and Thompson's Objectivity Desideratum. The conclusion of the essay is that most contemporary treatments of the aesthetics of nature fail to comply with one or more (...) of these requirements and that only Scientific Cognitivism satisfies the framework consisting of all five. (shrink)
This essay is a critical notice of Malcolm Budd's _The Aesthetics of Nature (Oxford, 2002) and Emily Brady's _Aesthetics of the Natural Environment (Edinburgh, 2003). I argue that, although each of the volumes makes an important contribution to our understanding of the aesthetic experience of nature, the accounts of aesthetic appreciation of nature that are developed by Budd and Brady are each somewhat defective in that neither grants an adequate role to knowledge in such appreciation, and specifically to scientific knowledge.
Recently, several authors have defended a new version of formalism in the aesthetics of nature and attempted to refute earlier arguments against the doctrine. In this essay, we assess this new formalism by reconsidering the force of antiformalist arguments against both traditional formalism and new formalism. While we find that these arguments remain effective against traditional formalism, new formalism falls largely beyond their scope. We therefore provide a novel line of argument for the insignificance of the formal appreciation of nature. (...) This argument suggests that new formalism is inadequate as a theory of the aesthetics of nature. (shrink)
In this essay I attempt to move the aesthetics of human environments away from what I call the designer landscape approach. This approach to appreciating human environments involves a cluster of ideas and assumptions such as: that human environments are usefully construed as being in general ''deliberately designed'' and worthy of aesthetic consideration only in so far as they are so designed, that human environments are in this way importantly similar to works of art, and that the aesthetics of human (...) environments thus has much in common with the aesthetics of art. As an alternative to the designer landscape approach, I suggest that the aesthetics of human environments should be understood as a major area of the aesthetics of everyday life. To facilitate this shift I develop the idea of an ecological approach to the aesthetics of human environments and the related notion of functional fit. The ecological approach employs an analogy with natural ecosystems and, by stressing the role of functional fit in each, facilitates the appreciation of both natural and human environments in a way that I characterize as ''looking as they should.'' The upshot, I maintain, is a set of appreciative consequences constituting a more satisfying aesthetic experience of our everyday human environments. (shrink)
Aesthetics and the Environment presents fresh and fascinating insights into our interpretation of the environment. Traditional aesthetics is often associated with the appreciation of art, but Allen Carlson shows how much of our aesthetic experience does not encompass art but nature--in our response to sunsets, mountains or horizons or more mundane surroundings, like gardens or the view from our window. Carlson argues that knowledge of what it is we are appreciating is essential to having an appropriate aesthetic experience and that (...) a scientific understanding of nature can enhance our appreciation of it, rather than denigrate it. (shrink)
Positive aesthetics holds that the natural environment, insofar as it is unaffected by man, has only positive aesthetic qualities and value-that virgin nature is essentially beautiful. In spite of the initial implausibility of this position, it is nonetheless suggested by many individuals who have given serious thought to the natural environment and to environmental philosophy. Certain attempts to defend theposition involve claiming either that it is not implausible because our appreciation of nature is not genuinely aesthetic, or that the position (...) is justified in virtue of man’s limited control and understanding of the natural world or in virtue of the natural world’s divine design and origin. Such attempts are inadequate; they neither justify the position nor explain its acceptance. In order to account for positive aesthetics,we must note the intimate connection between nature appreciation and the development of natural science. An understanding of the role of scientific knowledge in the aesthetic appreciation of nature not only sheds light on the acceptance of the positive aesthetics position, but also suggests a means by which to justify it. (shrink)