The roots of environmental aesthetics reach back to the ideas of
eighteenth-century thinkers who found nature an ideal source of
aesthetic experience. Today, having blossomed into a significant
subfield of aesthetics, environmental aesthetics studies and
encourages the appreciation of not just natural environments but
also human-made and human-modified landscapes.
Nature and Landscape is an important introduction to
this rapidly growing area of aesthetic understanding and
appreciation. Allen Carlson begins by tracing the development of
the field's historical background, and then surveys contemporary
positions on the aesthetics of nature, such as scientific
cognitivism, which holds that certain kinds of scientific knowledge
are necessary for a full appreciation of natural environments.
Carlson next turns to environments that have been created or
changed by humans and the dilemmas that are posed by the
appreciation of such landscapes. He examines how to aesthetically
appreciate a variety of urban and rural landscapes and concludes
with a discussion of whether there is, in general, a correct way to
aesthetically experience the environment.
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