The essays collected in Aesthetics and Environment comprise a set of variations on art and culture guided by the theme of environment. The essays deal with the physical reality of environment such as the city, the shore, the water and the garden, but also with the virtual environment and the social one. Environmental aesthetics is a theme whose variations are as endless as the possibilities of the human performers and conditions from which it is fashioned. This enticing set of essays testifies to Berleant's special talent in moving easily between both natural and human environments and opens out the contemporary discussion beyond that of the wilderness to the cultural and social environment. Berleant argues that neither the natural nor human environment stands alone and both are best understood as distinctions that are in experience coextensive, that one can only speak of environment in relation to human experience. The theme of this book is that such experience suffuses the so-called natural world and shapes the human world. It maintains the idea that in as much as people are embedded in these worlds, relationships, including human relationships, are part of them. The melding of these two worlds leads Berleant to defend ultimately what he has termed 'social aesthetics' .
Contents: Preface; Part I Environmental Aesthetics: A phenomenological aesthetics of environment; Aesthetic dimensions of environmental design; Down the garden path; The wilderness city: a study of metaphorical experience; An aesthetics of the coastal environment; The world from the water; Is there life in virtual space?; Is Greasy Lake a place?; Embodied music. Part II Social Aesthetics: The idea of a cultural aesthetic; The social evaluation of art; Subsidization of art as social policy; Morality and the artist: toward an ethics of art; Getting along beautifully: ideas for a social aesthetics. Index.