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Environmental Values

The Land Aesthetic, Holmes Rolston's Insight

Maria José Varandas

Environmental Values 24 (2015): 209-226. doi: 10.3197/096327115X14247121957607


This paper focuses on natural aesthetics as it relates to an ecological ethics informed by Aldo Leopold and by two contemporary environmental ethicists inspired by him: Callicott and Rolston. By contrast to Callicott, Rolston's work emphasises the distinctive character of natural beauty and gives reasons to understand such beauty as foundational for acting morally in the natural world. This paper argues, on these theoretical grounds, that an informed natural aesthetics is a requirement of an environmental ethics on account of the co-relational link between the integrity, balance and beauty of the biotic community. This more objective foundation can better support conservationist movements in practice, bringing together natural beauty and duty in the pursuit of a closer harmony between humankind and the natural world.


Land ethics, environmental aesthetics, environmental ethics, Holmes Rolston III, J. Baird Callicott, science-based aesthetics, planetary citizenship

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Aesthetics in Practice: Valuing the Natural World. Emily Brady

Editorial: Ronald Hepburn and the humanising of Environmental Aesthetics. Isis Brook

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Depending on Something Bigger. Simon Hailwood

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