Aesthetics of Nature

Malcolm Budd

in The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780199279456
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Aesthetics of Nature

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The long period of stagnation into which the aesthetics of nature fell after Hegel's relegation of natural beauty to a status inferior to the beauty of art was ended by Ronald Hepburn's ground-breaking paper (1966). In this essay, which offers a diagnosis of the causes of philosophy's neglect of the aesthetics of nature, Hepburn describes a number of kinds of aesthetic experience of nature that exhibit a variety of features distinguishing the aesthetic experience of nature from that of art and endowing it with values different from those characteristic of the arts, thus making plain the harmful consequences of the neglect of natural beauty. The subtlety of Hepburn's thought precludes simple summary, and this article does no more than enumerate a few of his themes that have been taken up and developed in the now flourishing literature on the aesthetics of nature (although not always with the nuanced treatment accorded them by Hepburn).

Keywords: aesthetics of nature; natural beauty; Ronald Hepburn; aesthetic experience; beauty of art; Hepburn

Article.  9261 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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