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Environmental Values

Aesthetics in Practice: Valuing the Natural World

Emily Brady

Environmental Values 15(2006): 277-291. doi: 10.3197/096327106778226202


Aesthetic value, often viewed as subjective and even trivial compared to other environmental values, is commonly given low priority in policy debates. In this paper I argue that the seriousness and importance of aesthetic value cannot be denied when we recognise the ways that aesthetic experience is already embedded in a range of human practices. The first area of human practice considered involves the complex relationship between aesthetic experience and the development of an ethical attitude towards the environment. I then discuss how aesthetics has played a role in scientific study and the use of evaluative aesthetic concepts in science, such as variety and diversity. The final section shows the connection between the beneficial effects of aesthetic engagement with nature and the restorative value of nature for human well-being.

KEYWORDS: Aesthetic value, aesthetic experience, ethics, nature, well-being

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Response to Brady, Phillips and Rolston. Susan Stewart

Editorial. John O'Neill

Editorial: Ronald Hepburn and the humanising of Environmental Aesthetics. Isis Brook

The Land Aesthetic, Holmes Rolston's Insight. Maria José Varandas

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