Environmental aesthetics

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-M047-2
Version: v2,  Published online: 2011
Retrieved June 16, 2024, from

1. What is environmental aesthetics?

Aesthetics is the field of philosophy that studies the ways in which humans experience the world through their senses. It is especially concerned with the appreciation of particular objects when they strike the senses in a pleasing manner. For this reason aesthetics most frequently focuses on works of art and other similar objects that are explicitly designed for human sensory enjoyment. However, aesthetic appreciation is not limited to art; it is frequently directed towards the world at large. This is the world that surrounds humans in their day-to-day existence and thus constitutes the everyday environment: the world in which people work, play and live. The aesthetic experience of this world is the subject matter of environmental aesthetics. This area of aesthetics focuses on philosophical questions concerning appreciation of the world at large and, moreover, that world as it is constituted not simply by particular objects but also by environments themselves. Therefore, environmental aesthetics extends beyond the narrow confines of the art world and beyond the appreciation of works of art to the aesthetic appreciation of human-influenced and human-constructed as well as natural environments.

Citing this article:
Carlson, Allen. What is environmental aesthetics?. Environmental aesthetics, 2011, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-M047-2. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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