Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 6, Issue 3/4, Fall/Winter 1999

Noel E. Boulting
Pages 21-34

The Aesthetics of Nature

Three paradigms for making sense of the aesthetic experience of nature---Specularism, Scientific Exemplarism and Perspectivalism---are found in the literature on the aesthetics of nature. The first focuses on seeing nature as a picture, the second on grasping aesthetic experience through the categories of scientific enquiry and the third emphasizes a more phenomenological relation between the experienced and the experiencer. After the historical development which fashioned Specularism’s approach to aesthetics has been indicated and the ahistorical nature of Scientific Exemplarism has been explained, the relative strengths of these three paradigms are explored before the implications of the third are related to a possible spiritual view of nature.