Environmental Aesthetics: Crossing Divides and Breaking Ground

Environmental Aesthetics: Crossing Divides and Breaking Ground

Environmental Aesthetics: Crossing Divides and Breaking Ground

Environmental Aesthetics: Crossing Divides and Breaking Ground


Environmental aesthetics crosses several commonly recognized divides: between analytic and continental philosophy, Eastern and Western traditions, universalizing and historicizing approaches, and theoretical and practical concerns. This volume sets out to show how these,perspectives can be brought into conversation with one another. The first part surveys the development of the field and discusses some important future directions. The second part explains how widening the scope of environmental aesthetics demands a continual rethinking of the relationship between aesthetics and other fields. How does environmental aesthetics relate to ethics? Does aesthetic appreciation of the environment entail an attitude of respect? What is the relationship between the theory and practice? The third part is devoted to the relationship between the aesthetics of nature and the aesthetics of art. Can art help "save the Earth"? The final part illustrates the emergence of practical applications from theoretical studies by focusing on concrete case studies.


The field of environmental philosophy has its base primarily in North America, and many of its central topics and approaches clearly reflect a North American perspective on environmental issues, for instance regarding the importance of the concept of wilderness, a concept the relevance of which is not obvious in Old World contexts such as Europe.

Since 2004, the International Society for Environmental Ethics and the International Association for Environmental Philosophy organize their annual joint meeting in Allenspark, USA, in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The Rockies are a beautiful location for an environmental philosophy conference, but locations tend to direct the attention to certain issues while ignoring others. Therefore, in 2010 it was decided that henceforth, the meeting should be held biannually on alternating locations.

The intended establishment of a European Network for Environmental Ethics in 2011 provided an excellent opportunity for us to volunteer and organize the 2011 joint meeting in The Netherlands. We hoped the conference would result in a stronger involvement of European environmental philosophers to the field. The central theme of the conference was “Old World and New World Perspectives on Environmental Philosophy.”

Luckily, the choice for Europe as a location did not put off many US-based scholars. On the contrary, the location proved to be one of the factors that made this into one of the largest and most diverse environmental philosophy conferences of the last few years.

The city of Nijmegen, in the Netherlands, is over two thousand years old and lies close to the German border at the borders of the . . .

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