Environmental Aesthetics: Crossing Divides and Breaking Ground

Environmental Aesthetics: Crossing Divides and Breaking Ground

Martin Drenthen
Jozef Keulartz
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Fordham University Press
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Environmental Aesthetics: Crossing Divides and Breaking Ground
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-5453-8
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)
    Martin Drenthen and Jozef Keulartz

    Environmental aesthetics has a long history. During the period of Enlightenment and early Romanticism, nature was seen astheparadigm of aesthetic experience and judgment. This gradually changed in the nineteenth century when the focus of philosophical aesthetics gradually shifted from nature to art. This changed again in the late 1960s when environmental aesthetics emerged as a new discipline in reaction to the growing popular and political concerns over environmental degradation and destruction.

    However, from the start the new discipline of environmental aesthetics displays a split personality, a Janus face with an empirical and a philosophical side that seem to...

  5. Part I. Coming of Age
    • CHAPTER 1 Ten Steps in the Development of Western Environmental Aesthetics
      (pp. 13-24)
      Allen Carlson

      In 1967 Richard Rorty published a seminal collection of essays calledThe 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 previous thirty years or so. However, Rorty’s introduction is no simple historical account. Rather Rorty focused on the interrelationships among the major figures, the key publications, and the accompanying theoretical commitments that gave shape to the linguist turn, thereby making evident how it was not simply a series of philosophical Ideas and theories but rather a movement within philosophy. I...

    • CHAPTER 2 Future Directions for Environmental Aesthetics
      (pp. 25-40)
      Yuriko Saito

      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 new chapter of twentieth-century Western aesthetics that had been dominated by discussion of art.¹ Around the same time, Arnold Berleant was exploring the phenomenologically oriented aesthetics through the notions of aesthetic field and aesthetic engagement, focusing on the interaction between us and the object of our aesthetic experience. These works by the founding fathers of environmental aesthetics paved the way for...

    • CHAPTER 3 On Universalism and Cultural Historicism in Environmental Aesthetics
      (pp. 41-58)
      Jonathan Maskit

      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 call it “the heyday,” however, is somewhat misleading, as at this time there was no such thing as environmental aesthetics at all. Instead, there was only philosophical aesthetics, which was far more concerned with questions about aesthetic judgment and the responses of human subjects to aesthetic experience than it was with the ontology of aesthetic objectives, and thus...

  6. Part II. Rethinking Relationships
    • CHAPTER 4 The Cultural Aesthetics of Environment
      (pp. 61-72)
      Arnold Berleant

      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 during subsequent decades in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, and more insistently and intensively in Finland. Beginning in the 1990s, the aesthetics of environment gained wide attention in China. Environmental aesthetics can now be considered an established domain of inquiry that is international in scope and that draws on and influences several disciplines. It appears most prominently in philosophical aesthetics, environmental psychology, and landscape...

    • CHAPTER 5 Toward an Aesthetics of Respect: Kant’s Contribution to Environmental Aesthetics
      (pp. 73-86)
      Denis Dumas

      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 an environmental philosophy founded on humanist or post-metaphysical anthropocentrism. Next, I will analyze the concept of respect in Kant’s ethics. Finally, I will show that beginning from Kant’s aesthetics, it is possible to construct a concept of respect for the aesthetic value of nature.

      A distinction should be made between two types of anthropocentrism, which I callclassical anthropocentrismandhumanist,...

    • CHAPTER 6 From Theoretical to Applied Environmental Aesthetics: Academic Aesthetics Meets Real-World Demands
      (pp. 87-98)
      Yrjö Sepänmaa

      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 as being in vogue, and important. In his concluding speech at the 15th International Congress of Aesthetics in Tokyo in 2001, Sasaki, the president of the event, raised the environment as one of the points of emphasis in aesthetics and one of its most promising lines of development.¹

      The authority of environmental aesthetics has continued...

  7. Part III. Nature, Art, and the Power of Imagination
    • CHAPTER 7 Environmental Art and Ecological Citizenship
      (pp. 101-117)
      Jason B. Simus

      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, such as the social, cultural, and ecological contributions artists, critics, and audiences make in creating, evaluating, and appreciating environmental art, have been largely neglected. This is unfortunate because the ethical and aesthetic qualities of environmental artworks are to some extent a function of the broader social, cultural, and ecological contexts they inhabit. Artists, critics, and audiences, of course,...

    • CHAPTER 8 Can Only Art Save Us Now?
      (pp. 118-134)
      David Wood

      In the movieThe 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 and genesis of climate change. For these people, the jury is still out. I do not share these doubts. Despite real uncertainty about what precisely awaits us, they merely block access to the big philosophical and political questions: our responsibility to future generations, the adequacy...

    • CHAPTER 9 Landscapes of the Environmental Imagination: Ranging from NASA and Cuyahoga Images to Kiefer and O’Keeffe Paintings
      (pp. 135-154)
      Irene J. Klaver

      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, flowing through a rapidly industrializing Cleveland, Ohio, caught fire basically every decade. This strange phenomenon, however, never sparked an outrage, not even much amazement, until the summer of 1969. Why was that? What had changed by then, which primed people to see a counter-elemental event of “water-catching-fire” as a matter of concern? I will trace this back to a crucial change in the American cultural imagination that...

  8. Part IV. Wind Farms, Shopping Malls, and Wild Animals
    • CHAPTER 10 Beauty or Bane: Advancing an Aesthetic Appreciation of Wind Turbine Farms
      (pp. 157-173)
      Tyson-Lord Gray

      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 April 2010, concluded that U.S. megawatt sales had increased 15 percent from 2008 to 2009 and that global megawatt sales had increased 10 percent.¹ A closer look at the report, however, revealed that although wind turbine megawatt sales in the United States had grown, the actual wind turbine unit sales had suffered a 5 percent decline.


    • CHAPTER 11 Thinking Like a Mall
      (pp. 174-187)
      Steven Vogel

      In a famous passage inA 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. He writes that he scrambled down in time “to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes,” and to realize, too late, that there was something “known only to her and to the mountain” that he had heretofore not understood. This hidden truth, he says, became clear in...

    • CHAPTER 12 Aesthetic Value and Wild Animals
      (pp. 188-200)
      Emily Brady

      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, insects, and marine life are part of our everyday and not-so-everyday lives, in the flesh and featuring as subjects in the visual arts, literature, and even music. Beyond this, the aesthetic appeal of animals is widely used in animal welfare campaigns, conservation, and more generally in the media. It is certainly not an understatement to say that the polar bear has come to symbolize...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 201-240)
  10. List of Contributors
    (pp. 241-246)
  11. Index
    (pp. 247-252)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 253-256)