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Environmental Aesthetics

Crossing Divides and Breaking Ground

Martin Drenthen is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands).

Publication Year: 2014

Environmental aesthetics crosses several commonly recognized divides: between analytic and continental philosophy, Eastern and Western traditions, universalizing and historicizing approaches, and theoretical and practical concerns. This volume sets out to show how these,perspectives can be brought into conversation with one another. The first part surveys the development of the field and discusses some important future directions. The second part explains how widening the scope of environmental aesthetics demands a continual rethinking of the relationship between aesthetics and other fields. How does environmental aesthetics relate to ethics? Does aesthetic appreciation of the environment entail an attitude of respect? What is the relationship between the theory and practice? The third part is devoted to the relationship between the aesthetics of nature and the aesthetics of art. Can art help “save the Earth”? The final part illustrates the emergence of practical applications from theoretical studies by focusing on concrete case studies.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Series: Groundworks: Ecological Issues in Philosophy and Theology

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

The field of environmental philosophy has its base primarily in North America, and many of its central topics and approaches clearly reflect a North American perspective on environmental issues, for instance regarding the importance of the concept of wilderness...

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pp. 1-10

Environmental aesthetics has a long history. During the period of Enlightenment and early Romanticism, nature was seen as the paradigm of aesthetic experience and judgment. This gradually changed in the nineteenth century when the focus of philosophical aesthetics...

Part I: Coming of Age

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1. Ten Steps in the Development of Western Environmental Aesthetics

Allen Carlson

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pp. 13-24

In 1967 Richard Rorty published a seminal collection of essays called The Linguistic Turn.1 The volume has a masterful introduction in which Rorty told the story of the obsession with language that had developed within Western analytic philosophy over the...

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2. Future Directions for Environmental Aesthetics

Yuriko Saito

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pp. 25-40

Within the Western philosophical discourse, environmental aesthetics is a relatively new, but now firmly established, discipline. It started with the late Ronald Hepburn’s 1966 essay on the neglect of natural beauty in contemporary aesthetics. This essay ushered in a...

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3. On Universalism and Cultural Historicism in Environmental Aesthetics

Jonathan Maskit

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pp. 41-58

While the history of environmental aesthetics has yet to be written, this history, it seems, should be divided into three periods. The first of these occurred during the eighteenth century and constituted what we might term “the heyday of environmental aesthetics.” To...

Part II: Rethinking Relationships

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4. The Cultural Aesthetics of Environment

Arnold Berleant

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pp. 61-72

Considering environment aesthetically is a comparatively recent development. The focus on the aesthetic dimension of environment began in the 1970s and gained increasing prominence. Appearing sporadically at first, interest in environmental aesthetics developed...

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5. Toward an Aesthetics of Respect

Denis Dumas

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pp. 73-86

Kantian aesthetics represents the culmination of eighteenth-century nature aesthetics. I will attempt to show that it can be fruitfully deployed in the field of contemporary environmental ethics. First, I will present the general context of this meditation, which is...

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6. From Theoretical to Applied Environmental Aesthetics

Yrjö Sepänmaa

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pp. 87-98

At the XXII World Congress of Philosophy in Seoul (August 5, 2008), Professor Ken-ichi Sasaki recalled our first meeting in Nottingham in 1988. He said that he thought at that time, twenty years ago, environmental aesthetics was a strange field, but now he regarded it...

Part III: Nature, Art, and the Power of Imagination

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7. Environmental Art and Ecological Citizenship

Jason B. Simus

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pp. 101-117

Environmental art has received a lot of attention recently.1 Most of the attention has been focused on evaluating the ethical and aesthetic qualities of the art object—how such works might constitute aesthetic affronts to nature, for example.2 Issues just as important...

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8. Can Only Art Save Us Now?

David Wood

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pp. 118-134

In the movie The Day After Tomorrow, one of the tipping points of climate change has happened: New York is under water, the Eastern seaboard iced over, and the Hobbesian world of the war of all against all has revealed its true colors.1 In the minds of some, there are lingering doubts about the reality...

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9. Landscapes of the Environmental Imagination

Irene J. Klaver

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pp. 135-154

Why did it take until 1969 before the burning of the Cuyahoga River ignited a public outcry? For a century, since the beginning of its industrial development in the 1860s, the Cuyahoga River, fl owing through a rapidly industrializing Cleveland, Ohio, caught fire basically every...

Part IV: Wind Farms, Shopping Malls,and Wild Animals

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10. Beauty or Bane

Tyson-Lord Gray

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pp. 157-173

In 2009 the American Wind Energy Association conducted a survey of small wind turbine sales aimed at assessing the market’s rate of incline or decline from the years 2007 to 2009. The final report, “AWEA Small Wind Turbine Global Market Study,” published in...

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11. Thinking Like a Mall

Steven Vogel

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pp. 174-187

In a famous passage in A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold tells of the time he and some others, “young and full of trigger-itch,” spotted a wolf and her cubs from a rim rock and shot at them, hitting one of the cubs in the leg and mortally wounding the mother...

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12. Aesthetic Value and Wild Animals

Emily Brady

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pp. 188-200

Animals commonly feature in our aesthetic experience, from our interactions with companion animals to the attention given to iconic species and “charismatic megafauna,” yet it is surprising how neglected they are in philosophical aesthetics. Mammals, birds...


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pp. 201-240


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pp. 241-246


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pp. 247-252

Series Page

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E-ISBN-13: 9780823254538
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823254491

Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 5 b/w
Publication Year: 2014

Edition: Cloth
Series Title: Groundworks: Ecological Issues in Philosophy and Theology
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OCLC Number: 878130641
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Environmental Aesthetics