Emily Brady, Aesthetics of the Natural Environment
Environmental Philosophy, Fall 05
Essays (One of these-or some version of one of these-will be the essay question on the exam.
For further details on these questions see the more specific questions below. I am still thinking that the exam will be closed book. But please bring your book to the exam in any case.)
- Objectivity in env. aesthetics. Is such objectivity possible? What is meant by
objectivity? (Consider Eaton's view that "objectivity not a matter of reducing things to
numeric formula; but grounding one's claims in evidence in such a way that interpersonal
agreement or disagreement is meaningful.") Compare objectivity in environmental
aesthetics to objectivity in art. Compare Carlson and Brady's views on this issue. Does
Brady believe in objectivity? What is her view concerning the idea that any aesthetic
response or judgement is as good as any other? What would Brady rule out? Give
examples. Assess Brady's views on this position from own perspective. Why does
Brady care that aesthetic of nature not be purely subjective?
- Imagination in env. aes: Describe two of Brady's examples of different (appropriate)
uses of imagination in aesthetic appreciation of nature. Now describe two examples
Brady discusses of inappropriate uses of imagination. Explain how Brady attempts to
distinguish between the two. Do you think she is successful? What do you think Brady
would say about the appropriateness of imagining that the lakes in Minnesota ("the land
of 10,000 lakes") were created by Paul Bunyan's blue ox Babe tromping around
- Role of aesthetics in conservation: What sort of a role does aesthetics typically play in
environmental conservation, according to Brady? What sort of a role should it play, on
Brady's account? Do you agree with Brady's view on this? Why or why not? Is
aesthetics of nature too unimportant, too subjective, and too idiosyncratic to be of
significant use in environmental conservation? Describe the main concept(s) that Brady
develops in her account of the role of aesthetics in environmental conservation. Does her
use of these concept(s) provide for a successful role for aesthetics in environmental
- Relation between aesthetics and ethics: What account of this relationship does Brady
give? Place your description of her views in the context of the range of possible positions
on this issue. Illustrate Brady's view with her position on the pollution sunset case (but
don't ignore that the issue also arises in art appreciation). Consider some criticisms of her
view on the pollution sunset case. What is your own position on this relationship and on
Brady's position concerning it? (What is your view, and what is Brady's, on the idea that
a moral defect can be an aesthetic defect, and on the idea that moral dimensions can be
relevant to aesthetic qualities.)
- What is Paul Ziff's "anything viewed doctrine?" Does Brady accept it? Do you? Why or
- Explain the problem of "aesthetic vacuum."
- In what does aesthetic appreciation consist for Brady? What is it to aesthetically
- What are some examples of aesthetic value/disvalue (or qualities) other than
beauty/ugliness? List 4 positive and 4 negative.
- Explain the idea of aesthetic supervenience. What is suppose to supervene on what?
Does Brady accept this notion?
- Explain in what way Brady thinks aesthetic qualities are like secondary qualities. (Make
sure you explain what secondary qualities are and contrast them with primary qualities.)
Do you agree with Brady on this? Why or why not?
- What does it mean to say aesthetic value is anthropogenic but not anthropocentric.
Explain using an example. Does Brady agree with this idea? Do you? Why?
- Is aesthetic valuing intrinsic or instrumental for Brady. Give examples of each and
explain why Brady thinks aesthetic valuing is the kind of valuing she thinks it is.
- Explain what Brady thinks is the relation between aesthetic appreciation and sensory
- Explain what Brady thinks is the relation between aesthetic appreciation and pleasure.
- How does Brady respond to the objection that aesthetic appreciation of nature involves an
instrumental use of nature as a means to pleasure.
- For Brady, is aesthetic appreciation objective or subjective?
- Explain in what sense aesthetic appreciation is and is not subjective for Brady. Explain in
what sense it is and is not objective for Brady.
- Describe some of the differences between the sublime, the picturesque and classical
beauty in landscape tastes.
- Does Brady approve or disapprove of the picturesque as a model of landscape
appreciation? Why or why not? Does she approve of the contemporary scenic
orientation to appreciating landscapes (the phenomenon of appreciating nature--landscapes--as scenery). Do you agree with Brady's views on this? Why or why not?
- Discuss Brady's views on (1) whether the distinction between nature and culture is an
important one, (2) whether humans are part of nature, and (3) whether nature is a social
- Explain three differences that Brady identifies between the aesthetic appreciation of
nature and that of art.
- For Brady, what is the point of interpretation in the aesthetic appreciation of nature?
Using an example, discuss the role of scientific information and myth in this
interpretation of nature. Assess Brady's position on these issues from your own
- Articulate Brady's distinction between cognitive and non-cognitive approaches to
aesthetic appreciation of nature. Which of these approaches does Brady accept and why?
- Describe in some detail Allen Carlson's account of the appropriate aesthetic appreciation
of nature. (Describe how Carlson adapts Walton's view of art appreciation for nature
appreciation.) Give an example of an inappropriate aesthetic response to nature on
Carlson's view and explain why he thinks it would be inappropriate. What is Brady's
assessment of Carlson's view? What is your own position on the issues between Brady
- Noel Carroll's arousal theory of the aesthetic appreciation of nature involves a notion of
"objective" emotions. In what ways might emotions be objective on his account? Give an
example to illustrate his views.
- Using an example, explain why someone might think that aesthetic appreciation of nature
that is not based on knowledge of nature is likely to lead to undesirable environmental
consequences? Do you think this is a good argument for cognitivism?
- Should it matter to one's aesthetic response to a burned forest whether it was a lightning-caused burn or the work of a vandal? What is Brady's view of this? What is your view?
Do you agree with Brady? Why or why not?
- Is Brady a monist or a pluralist in aesthetic appreciation of nature? What is the
difference between these two accounts? How does this distinction fit with the idea that
"anything goes" in the aesthetic appreciation of nature. Does Brady accept this latter
idea? Why or why not?
- Give an example of what Brady would consider an appropriate use/role for knowledge in
the aesthetic appreciation of nature and then an example that is not appropriate on her
view. Explain why she would think one is and the other is not appropriate. In general,
what is Brady's view of the role of knowledge in the aesthetic appreciation of nature?
- Brady's integrated aesthetic involves (at least ) four aspects or dimensions. What are
they? What are the four main faculties of the mind we used in aesthetic appreciation
according to Brady? (Same question as previous one.)
- What does Brady's "integrated aesthetic" integrate?
- Brady suggest there are better and worse ways to use sensation in the aesthetic
appreciation of nature. Describe what type of uses of the senses are better (and worse) for
- What does disinterestedness involve according to Brady? What does it not involve (in
other words, what conceptions of disinterestedness does she rule out)? Does Brady think
disinterestedness is important for aesthetic appreciation? Why or why not?
- How does Brady use the example of the juror to explain what sorts of personal responses
are and are not allowed by disinterested aesthetic (and moral) appreciation?
- What is formalism? Is Brady a formalist? Why or why not?
- In appreciating landscapes that have been significantly modified by humans, Brady
weakens (takes back) one of her claims about what disinterestedness appreciation rules
out of consideration. What consideration is given a more prominent place in appreciating
human modified lands (as compared with pristine nature).
- What is an example of imagination that does not involve in a central way mental images?
What is an example of the use of imagination in ethics?
- Does imagination involve believing false things? Why or why not? Give examples to
illustrate your answer.
- Describe two of Brady's examples of different (appropriate) uses of imagination in
aesthetic appreciation of nature. Now describe two examples Brady gives of
inappropriate uses of imagination. Explain how Brady attempts to distinguish between
the two. Do you think she is successful? What do you think Brady would say about
imagining that the lakes in Minnesota were created by Babe (Paul Bunyan's blue ox)?
- Give two examples of expressive qualities of nature. Describe one attempt to account for
how nature has expressive qualities that Brady thinks fails. Now describe one account
that Brady thinks succeeds.
- What is Brady's "simple argument" to show that aesthetic judgement is not simply an
expression of personal taste. Assess this argument from your own perspective.
- Explain the notion of "critical pluralism" concerning the objectivity of aesthetic
judgments. What does Brady mean when she says she is a critical pluralist?
- In what way does Brady provide for objectivity in aesthetic judgments about nature?
Describe her views on this. What type of objectivity does she not embrace? (Hint: See
Eaton's account of objectivity in Chapter Eight: "objectivity not a matter of reducing
things to numeric formula; but grounding one's claims in evidence in such a way that
interpersonal agreement or disagreement is meaningful" ) From your own perspective
does Brady provide a useful account of objectivity in environmental aesthetics?
- Describe a three reasons Brady gives for why there might be disagreement in aesthetic
judgements about nature.
- Brady thinks there is a tension between how we value nature and how we protect it.
Explain this tension (or seeming inconsistency). From your own perspective, is it really
- What sort of a role does aesthetics typically play in environmental conservation,
according to Brady? What sort of a role should it play, on Brady's account? Do you
agree with Brady's view on this? Why or why not?
- Is aesthetics of nature too unimportant, too subjective, and too idiosyncratic to be of
significant use in environmental conservation? Use Eaton's account of objectivity to help
you think about this ("Objectivity not a matter of reducing things to numeric formula; but
grounding one's claims in evidence in such a way that interpersonal agreement or
disagreement is meaningful")
- What does Brady mean by the "aesthetic character" and the "aesthetic integrity" of a
landscape? Does she accept a static or developing view of these notions? Using the
Harris Superquarry example, explain how Brady proposes to use these notions in
environmental conservation. Is Brady's use of these concepts helpful in the
environmental conservation context, in your opinion? Defend your view. Make sure you
identify one strength and one weakness of her use of these concepts in env. conservation.
- What are the implications for Brady's use of aesthetic character in environmental
conservation for erasing the evidences of human impacts on the land? For environmental
- Give an example that Brady uses of the conflict between aesthetic value of the
environment and our moral obligations to nature.
- Explain the difference between autonomism and moralism concerning the relation
between aesthetic and moral values. What is Brady's view on this debate?
- What does it mean to say that a moral defect can be an aesthetic defect. Give an example
to explain this view. Do you agree with this idea or not? Explain why.
- What is the difference between saying that moral content is relevant to aesthetic qualities
& judgments (think of the Snape killing Dumbledore example) and saying moral defects
can affect aesthetic quality/value. Explain how one can affirm the former without
accepting the later.
- Give an example that illustrates why someone might think a moral defect can be an
- Describe how Brady accounts for the pollution sunset case and relate it to the issue of the
relevance of moral considerations to aesthetic ones. Do you agree with Brady's treatment
of this example? Why or why not? (Make sure you consider and address some of the
objections to this treatment in the class notes.)
- Does Brady allow any relationship between aesthetics and ethics? For example, what
does she think about the idea that "aesthetics is the mother of ethics" (and what does this