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Environmental Values

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Environmental Values

Aesthetic disillusionment: environment, ethics, art

Cheryl Foster

Environmental Values 1(1992): 205-215. doi: 10.3197/096327192776680052

What happens when an object you take to be beautiful or aesthetically pleasing, no longer appears beautiful or pleasing when you learn something new about it? I am assuming a situation in which there is no direct change in the perceptual features of the object, and that what you learn is not the location of some new surface property but rather a bit of non-perceptual information. I classify episodes of dampened appreciation under the heading 'aesthetic disillusionment', and in this paper I explore the relationship between such episodes and the broader issue of ethical constraints on aesthetic activity and appreciation. Does it make sense to say that one should not, or ought not, take pleasure in certain objects or events? I think it does but in a very particular, almost ecological way. The subsequent discussion focuses on ethical constraints as they operate on the aesthetic appreciation of objects and events within the natural environment.

KEYWORDS: environment, philosophy, environmental aesthetics, life-denying processes, life values, nature and art

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles:

Admiring the High Mountains: The Aesthetics of Environment. John Haldane

Future Directions for Environmental Aesthetics. Yuriko Saito

Aesthetic Value, Ethics and Climate Change. Emily Brady

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