Deep Ecology – The Mislabeling of an Ontology

For nearly four decades Deep Ecology has featured prominently in Environmental Ethics as one of the key players in the movement to raise environmental consciousness and change the way people behave. But it has unfortunately been maligned as “just another holistic ecology” which seeks to make radical changes in the way humans and human culture interact with the natural environment. It has been tarred as being closely aligned with the non-anthropocentric ethics of nature which opened it to a series of “broadsides” from Murray Bookchin (1988) in the late 1980's which left the movement intellectually crippled. But the attacks launched by Bookchin center on holistic ethics and non-anthropocentrism of which Deep Ecology as it was originally conceived cites neither as being doctrinal to Deep Ecological thought (Naess 1973). (keep reading)

The Initial Experience of Things – Perception and Aesthetics

There have been many different answers to the question of what conditions are required to constitute an aesthetic experience. Be it Kant’s disinterested contemplation, imaginative free play, or Hume’s concept of the ideal observer. All seem to be focused on a relatively restricted set of conditions in which the experience can be said to allow for an accurate aesthetic judgement. Within a certain set of conditions, it may be true enough, though the merit of aesthetic judgement itself is not our concern here. Instead let us turn attention towards the initial conditions and components of involved aesthetic experience prior to aesthetic judgement. (keep reading)

Understanding How to Reshape Our Worldview (Part 2)

Aesthetics and aesthetic judgments are a source of significant contention in philosophy and each thinker on this topic has their own view on the meaning of the term. As such we will take things back to a basic formulation which is largely non-contentious. For our purposes here, the term is much more broadly encompassing going beyond any school of aesthetic thought and are instead zooming out and looking beyond art and nature into the realm of perception itself. In general, aesthetics in this context refers to the relationship between the person perceiving and the object being perceived, referring specifically to how we view the world around us. (keep reading)

Turning the Lens on Ourselves

It is clear in natural aesthetics that our senses move us in our world view and our perspectives, but in what direction must be guided in some sense towards the reality of nature. With this understanding and with respect to nature, it is so important for many authors such as Carlson (1891) and Rolston (2002) for this experience to be positioned within a scientific lens and scientific appreciation. But not all experiences are going to be pleasant in nature and therefore aesthetics differs so distinctly from our hedonistic pursuit of pleasure, indeed at times it can induce experiences of terror, disgust and ugliness (Brady 1998). (keep reading)

Aesthetic Normativity

The whole field of aesthetics has become significantly less fashionable in recent years as it has continued to encounter scepticism over whether aesthetic judgements are anything other than an individual’s subjective judgement. On this view, aesthetic judgements tell us nothing about the object in question as a matter of fact and speaks solely to the disposition and preference of the individual making the judgement “x is beautiful”. Such judgements on this view are nothing more than opinion, and that there is no relationship whatsoever between human experience and of cold empirical objective reality – “x is beautiful” on this view is the same as saying “I like x”. However, when we put the sceptical view of aesthetics under pressure, it quickly begins to crack and unravel, particularly as one soon finds that scepticism of this kind is deeply rooted in an ideology of extreme toleration bound up with post-modernist thought. (keep reading)