Aesthetics for Conservation
Recently a number of environmental philosophers, realizing the importance of aesthetic appreciation in our relationship with the natural environment, have claimed that, as one prominent environmental philosopher puts it: “a sound natural aesthetics is crucial to sound conservation policy and land management.” In light of such claims, the question of the nature of “a sound natural aesthetics” warrants consideration. The question has been addressed by several different accounts, ranging from time-honored approaches such as the picturesque tradition and landscape formalism to more recent points of view. This presentation will examine these different positions, arguing that, concerning the question “What is a sound natural aesthetics for conservation policy and land management?”, some approaches are more promising than others.
Carlson's research interests are environmental philosophy, aesthetics, and especially the aesthetics of nature and landscape. He has published numerous articles and several books, including Aesthetics and the Environment: The Appreciation of Nature, Art and Architecture (Routledge), Nature and Landscape: An Introduction to Environmental Aesthetics (Columbia), and, with Glenn Parsons, Functional Beauty (Oxford).