Don't Eat the Daisies: Disinterestedness and the Situated Aesthetic

Environmental Values 7 (1):97 - 114 (1998)
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Abstract

In debates about nature conservation, aesthetic appreciation is typically understood in terms of valuing nature as an amenity, something that we value for the pleasure it provides. In this paper I argue that this position, what I call the hedonistic model, rests on a misunderstanding of aesthetic appreciation. To support this claim I put forward an alternative model based on disinterestedness, and I defend disinterestedness against mistaken interpretations of it. Properly understood, disinterestedness defines a standpoint which precludes self-interest and utility, and it does not entail a passive subject abstracted from who they are. This standpoint is compatible with a 'situated aesthetic' in which appreciation of aesthetic qualities is grounded in an embedded subject who is sensitive to the context and narrative of the object. The alternative model provides a conception of aesthetic value which distinguishes it from amenity value, and it also defines a non-instrumental approach that offers the opportunity for enhanced appreciation and attention to nature's value

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Emily Brady
Texas A&M University

Citations of this work

Aesthetic Regard for Nature in Environmental and Land Art.Emily Brady - 2007 - Ethics, Place and Environment 10 (3):287 – 300.
Aesthetic Aspects of Unauthorised Environmental Interventions.Isis Brook - 2007 - Ethics, Place and Environment 10 (3):307 – 318.

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