chapter  42
16 Pages

ENVIRONMENTAL AESTHETICS

ByALLEN CARLSON

Environmental aesthetics is one of the two or three major new fields of aesthetics to emerge in the second half of the twentieth century. It focuses on philosophical issues concerning aesthetic appreciation of the world at large and, moreover, the world as it is constituted not simply by objects but also by larger environmental units. Thus, environmental aesthetics extends beyond the narrow confines of the art world and our appreciation of works of art to the aesthetic appreciation of environments, not only natural ones, but also our various human-influenced and human-constructed environments. However, although the field has come into its own only recently and treats human as well as natural environments, it has historical roots in earlier work on the aesthetics of nature. To understand the current state of the field, it is useful to briefly examine this historical background and the developments that followed from it.