Abstract

This paper evaluates positive aesthetics (PA), the idea that--to the extent it is not influenced by humans--all of nature is beautiful. Versions of PA considered include the no negative judgment thesis, the equal beauty thesis, Hargrove’s no negative aesthetic qualities, Parsons’s beauty-making defense, Carlson’s science-is-aesthetics argument, Parsons and Carlson’s abiotic PA, and Rolston’s nature aesthetic holism. The paper distinguishes between individualistic and holistic versions of PA and argues that Rolston’s holism best meets four adequacy conditions. PA should (1) accommodate the existence of negative aesthetics in nature; (2) articulate a conception of nature’s beauty inapplicable to the rest of the world, including art; (3) be dependent on the actual contingent characteristics of nature; and (4) not undermine the role of natural aesthetics in the conservation of nature. Rolston’s version of PA makes a strong case for the idea that nature is specially and predominantly beautiful.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-7809
Print ISSN
0021-8510
Pages
pp. 26-41
Launched on MUSE
2017-08-30
Open Access
No
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