Aesthetics of the Natural Environment
A new statement of how "beauty" in nature is understood and appreciated.
Aesthetic experience is one of the fundamental ways that we develop a relationship to our natural surroundings. Emily Brady provides a comprehensive study of this type of experience and the central philosophical issues related to it, developing her own original theory of aesthetic appreciation of nature. She provides useful background to the current debate and an up-to-date critical appraisal of contemporary theories.
The context of the contemporary debate is laid out through a discussion of aesthetic experience and aesthetic qualities; early theories of aesthetic appreciation of nature, including the beautiful, the sublime, and the picturesque; and differences between artistic and environmental appreciation and interpretation. Brady situates her own approach in relation to a set of noncognitive accounts of appreciation. Her "integrated aesthetic" brings together various features of appreciation, including the senses, emotion, and imagination, with a reappraisal of the concept of disinterestedness. These ideas are further developed within the more practical domains of aesthetic judgment and education of the environment and through an examination of the role of aesthetic value in environmental conservation.
Arnold Berleant of Long Island University, a pioneer in this area of research, has declared Brady's work, "admirably comprehensive coverage of the subject." Julie C. Van Camp of California State University, Long Beach, has said, "The bibliography is priceless. . . . The discussions of such philosophers as Kant and Dewey seem plausible and understandable to an audience of students and the educated public." This book will be valuable to readers interested in such wide-ranging subjects as philosophy, aesthetics, ethics, ecology, conservation, environmental policy-making, geography, and landscape architecture.