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.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 26-41
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.