Natural functions and the aesthetic appreciation of inorganic nature

British Journal of Aesthetics 44 (1):44-56 (2004)
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The distinction between organic and inorganic nature receives little attention in contemporary nature aesthetics. Traditionally, however, this distinction was considered to have important aesthetic ramifications. Nick Zangwill has recently suggested that aesthetic differences between organic and inorganic nature arise because natural functions are present only in organic nature (for example, in the parts of organisms). I argue for a different explanation: though inorganic nature too has natural functions, these are metaphysically distinct from those characteristic of organic nature. I defend the claim that this difference in functions is aesthetically significant, and use it to justify a common intuition about the thesis of positive aesthetics for nature.



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Glenn Parsons
Ryerson University

Citations of this work

Sensory Force, Sublime Impact, and Beautiful Form.Eli I. Lichtenstein - 2019 - British Journal of Aesthetics 59 (4):449-464.
Environmental aesthetics.Allen Carlson - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
New formalism and the aesthetic appreciation of nature.Glenn Parsons & Allen Carlson - 2004 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 62 (4):363–376.
The Ugly Truth: Negative Aesthetics and Environment.Emily Brady - 2011 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 69:83-99.

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