Nature’s Meanings, by Simon James

It is widely acknowledged that many parts of the natural world should be protected from harm or restored to health or in some other way looked after, if not for their own sakes, then simply for ours, and if not for moral reasons, then for reasons of prudence, say, or because of their aesthetic value.…

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Why does Beauty Matter?, by Ian Ground

This paper is motivated by the value of rendering the philosophical tradition of thought about beauty as an intelligible and useful theoretical framework for empirical research into aesthetic experience. The discussion re-articulates and defends against some objections, four theses about our experience of beauty: 1.      The Distinctiveness Thesis. Beauty is a distinctive aesthetic phenomenon. It is…

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Aesthetic Value, Ethics, and Climate Change, by Emily Brady

While there is a growing literature on ethics and climate change, the role of aesthetics has been largely ignored. This paper addresses the complex issues at the intersection of aesthetics and ethics in relation to current and predicted environmental change resulting from global warming, and explores a set of questions: What kinds of new challenges does climate change…

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Monism and Pluralism in the Philosophy of Architecture, by Paul Guyer

The history of modern aesthetics has been marked by a tension between a monistic, essentially cognitivist or intellectualist view of the importance of aesthetic experience, and more pluralistic views, which allow room for the free play of emotions and imagination as well as for the possibility of knowledge through art. Architecture would seem to be…

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Re-making the Matterhorn, by Andrew Ballantyne

This paper is concerned with the cultural appropriation of landscape, and uses the example of the Matterhorn to show how a natural formation can become a cultural entity, and how the patterns of thought that are invested in it can be invested equally in built works. The examples of appropriation move from Michael Frayn’s treatment…

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Intention and Architecture, by Carolyn Fahey

If ethics and aesthetics can indeed hold the same pursuit as Wittgenstein suggests when he remarks they are “one and the same”, how exactly do ethical concerns come into play with those of aesthetics (and vice versa)? To probe the interrelationship, I look to Stanley Cavell’s investigations into agreement and morality in The Claim of Reason as a framework for…

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The Gravity of Desire, by Ron Henderson

The contemporary Japanese architect, Toyoo Ito, described ohanami (the Japanese cherry blossom festival) as the quintessential Japanese construction. A blanket is laid on the ground to define areas of action and performance. Following the descent of the cherry blossoms, the blankets are removed – and act that signals the end of the architecture as well.  This framework of performative…

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Human Landscapes, Virtue and Beauty, by David E. Cooper

By ‘human landscapes’, is meant parks, gardens, farmland and other landscapes that patently bear the impress of human intervention, including building. Many questions concerning the relation of ethical to aesthetic considerations about human landscapes can be raised. For example, is ‘aesthetic pollution’ of an environment also a moral offence? The question addressed in this paper is how, if at…

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Landscape, Imagination and Morality, Ian Thompson

This paper explores the agency of ‘landscape imaginaries’.  The notion of a landscape imaginary is related to the philosopher Charles Taylor’s use of the term ‘social imaginary’ to refer to ‘the way in which our contemporaries imagine the societies they inhabit and sustain’.   Imaginaries are not expressed in theoretical terms but are carried in images, stories and legends.  From the…

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