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Environmental Values

Nature Connoisseurship

Allan Greenbaum

Environmental Values 14(2005): 389-407. doi: 10.3197/096327105774434477

Environmentalists who seek to protect wild nature, biodiversity and so on for its own sake manifest a disposition to value the interesting at least on par with the useful. This disposition toward the interesting, which provides the affective and cognitive context for the discovery of intrinsic values in nature and the elaboration of ecocentric ethics, does not arise simply from learning about nature but is part of a more general socially inculcated cultural system. Nature connoisseurship exhibits formal parallels with art connoisseurship. The abstraction-oriented cultural system which prizes 'disinterested interest' is characteristic of culturally rich fractions (or subdivisions) of the middle class in modern Western societies. Valuing nature for its own sake (like valuing, for its own sake, the domination of nature) is not a 'natural' response to nature but a disciplined cultural accomplishment.


KEYWORDS: Nature preservation, taste, connoisseurship, Hargrove, Bourdieu

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Ethics and Values in Environmental Policy: The Said and the UNCED Paul P. Craig, Harold Glasser and Willett Kempton

Environmental Thought as Cosmological Intervention. Allan Greenbaum

Nature is Already Sacred. Kay Milton

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Aesthetic and Other Values in the Rural Landscape. John Benson


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