Journal of Philosophical Investigations

Document Type : Research Paper


1 M.A in philosophy of art, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran. Iran.

2 Assistant professor of philosophy Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran.Iran


This paper examines the relationship between the environmental aesthetics approach backed by knowledge (ecological aesthetics) and the possibility of doing an action in favor of environmental conservation. It seems that even having such an approach towards the environment fails to sufficiently motivate people to protect the environment and nature, since there is a tension between the course of daily life and scientifically supported environmental aesthetics. In order to explain such tension, we tend to examine and critique ecological aesthetics (which is in some respects overlapped with environmental ethics) from the viewpoint of the philosophy of Wittgenstein, particularly with reference to his later work including the concept of formal life. Based on this concept, ecological aesthetics can be criticized and examined on three grounds: First, aesthetics is not able to create understanding or appreciation that leads to action. Second, the ecological concept added to reinforce the aesthetics, cannot support aesthetics in this regard and can even make things worse; ecological aesthetics, in fact, diverts aesthetics from its purpose (the purpose with regards to the environment, which is to motivate people to preserve nature) by trying to give it a strong objectivity. Third, the role of ethics in its current form in environmental conservation cannot be an active role.


Main Subjects

  • Berleant, Arnold. (2010) The aesthetics of environment, Temple University Press,
  • Borchelt, R. E. (2001). “Communicating the future: report of the research roadmap panel for public communication of science and technology in the twenty-first century”. Science Communication, 23(2), 194-211.
  • Brady, Emily. (2014). “Aesthetic value, ethics and climate change”. Environmental Values, 23(5), 551-570.
  • Carlson, Allen, & Lintott, S. (Eds.). (2008). Nature, aesthetics, and environmentalism: From beauty to duty. Columbia University Press.
  • Carlson, Allen. (1979 ). "Appreciation and the natural environment." The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 37, no. 3. 267-275.
  • Carlson, Allen. (2007). “Environmental aesthetics”.
  • Carlson, Allen. (1995). “Nature, aesthetic appreciation, and knowledge”. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 53(4), 393-400.- Hansen, Anders. & Cox, R. (2015). In The Routledge handbook of environment and communication (pp. 21-30). Routledge.
  • Carlson, Allen. (1979) "Appreciation and the natural environment." The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism” 37, no. 3 267-275.
  • Hansen, Anders., & Cox, R. (Eds.). (2015). The Routledge handbook of environment and communication. Routledge.
  • Hepburn, Ronald. (1966). “Contemporary aesthetics and the neglect of natural beauty”. British analytical philosophy, 285-310.- Horkheimer, M., Adorno, T. W., & Noeri, G. (2002). Dialectic of enlightenment. Stanford University Press.Horkheimer, M., Adorno, T. W., & Noeri, G. (2002). Dialectic of enlightenment: Stanford University Press.
  • Kant, Immanuel. (1914). Kant's Critique of judgement. Createspace Independent Publishing Platform. Createspace Independent Publishing Platform.
  • Kreisel, Georg. (1958). Wittgenstein's Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics.
  • Leopold, Aldo. (1970). A Sand County almanac: With other essays on conservation from Round River. Outdoor Essays & Reflections. - North, D. C. (1981). Structure and change in economic history. Norton.
  • North, Douglass Cecil. ( 1981). Structure and change in economic history. Norton.
  • Pinkard, T. (2002). German Philosophy 1760-1860: the legacy of idealism. Cambridge University Press.
  • Jenkins, W. J., Tucker, M. E., & Grim, J. (Eds.). (2016). Routledge handbook of religion and ecology.
  • Wittgenstein, Ludwig. (1992). Logico-Philosophicus, T. (1922). translated by CK Ogden. Major Works: Selected. Project Gutenberg
  • Wittgenstein, L.(1980) von Wright, G. H., Nyman, H., & Winch, P. Culture and value: Ludwig Blackwell.