Environmental Philosophy

Volume 4, Issue 1/2, Spring/Fall 2007

Special Double Issue: Environmental Aesthetics and Ecological Restoration

Arnold Berleant
Pages 49-58

The Soft Side of Stone
Notes for a Phenomenology of Stone

Stone represents the firmness and intransigence of the world within which we live and act. But beyond the perception and appropriations of stone, diverse meanings lie hidden between the hardness of stone and its uses. At the same time meaning must be grounded in the stabilizing presence of a common world. Yet if all that can be said is not about stone simpliciter but only an aesthetics of its perception, uses, and meanings, have we not gained the whole world but lost its reality? The underlying issue is therefore not aesthetic but ontological.