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

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