restricted access 4. The Cultural Aesthetics of Environment

Arnold Berleant, who is known for his “aesthetics of engagement”, attempts to reconcile the need for cooperative environmental action in the face of environmental degradation and destruction with the existence of cultural and historic differences. The first part of this essay is conceptual and proposes a common understanding of ‘environment,’ ‘ecology,’ and ‘aesthetics.’ The second part develops the aesthetic side of the matter by identifying some representative cultural patterns of sensibility. It considers whether and how these patterns may be reconciled in order to enhance the effectiveness of our responses to environmental issues.