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date: 01 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses key issues and questions about aesthetic experience and valuing of natural objects, processes, and phenomena. It begins by exploring the character of environmental, multisensory aesthetic appreciation and then examines the central debate between “scientific cognitivism” and “noncognitivism” in contemporary environmental aesthetics. In assessing this debate and the place of knowledge, imagination, and emotion in aesthetic valuing, it is argued that non-cognitive approaches have the advantage of supporting a critical pluralism that recognizes the variety and breadth of aesthetic engagement with nature. Interactions between aesthetic and ethical values are also discussed, especially with respect to their role in philosophical positions such as “aesthetic preservationism” and the call for developing aesthetic theories that are consistent with environmentalism.

Keywords: aesthetic value, aesthetic judgment, non-instrumental value, environmental aesthetics, scientific cognitivism, noncognitivism, critical pluralism, natural beauty, ugliness, appreciative virtues

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