Positive Aesthetics : claims and problems

Enrahonar: Quaderns de Filosofía 45 (1):15-25 (2010)
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In this paper I present an overview of the doctrine known as Positive Aesthetics regarding aesthetic judgements about nature. According to this view, all pristine nature is always beautiful and, generally, although not necessarily, human intervention tends to introduce ugliness in nature. One of the strong practical motivations behind this claim is an attempt to ground our reasons to preserve natural environments in aesthetic reasons. Positive Aesthetics has been defended within contrary approaches to nature appreciation such as the cognitivists and the anti-cognitivist. Recently, the possibility of real ugliness in nature has been defended; at the same time, it is argued that the presence of ugly items in nature does not lead necessarily to the idea that they are not aesthetically valuable. Hence, natural ugliness can be a reason to preserve nature. In this sense, the denial of the Positive Aesthetics claim is shown to be compatible with the appeal to aesthetic negative qualities as a source of reasons for preserving natural environments.

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María José Alcaraz León
Universidad de Murcia


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