Environmental Ethics

Volume 24, Issue 1, Spring 2002

Emily Brady
Pages 75-91

Aesthetic Character and Aesthetic Integrity in Environmental Conservation

Aesthetics plays an important role in environmental conservation. In this paper, I pin down two key concepts for understanding this role, aesthetic character and aesthetic integrity. Aesthetic character describes the particularity of an environment based on its aesthetic and nonaesthetic qualities. In the first part, I give an account of aesthetic character through a discussion of its subjective and objective bases, and I argue for an awareness of the dynamic nature of this character. In the second part, I consider aesthetic character in a conservation context. I develop the diachronic concept of aesthetic integrity to guide decisions about how to manage change to aesthetic character. My argument is illustrated with a case study of the proposal for a superquarry on the remote isle of Harris in Scotland.