"Environment": models of aesthetical reconstruction

Author(s): Liubov Liashko
Subject(s): Anthropology, Aesthetics
Published by: Національна академія керівних кадрів культури і мистецтв
Keywords: aesthetic appreciation; aesthetic value; environment; environmental aesthetics; nature, perception;

Summary/Abstract: Environmental aesthetics was developed in the second half of the twentieth century. It analyzes the forms of symbolic sense and value of the environment as an aesthetic object, determines methods of aesthetic perception of nature and promotes forming of aesthetic consciousness. Environmental aesthetics belongs to the intellectual and cultural evolution of the modern times.This article examines environmental aesthetics as a sphere of aesthetic appreciation of objects of environments. It opens new dimensions of understanding of the unity of the human being and the environment in the aesthetic scope. Besides it fits perfectly into the perception of aesthetics as formation of sensuous human culture. "Environment" is presented as a basic term of the environmental aesthetics as a science. The semantic meaning of the "environment" concept connotational connection with the "nature" concept is analyzed.The "nature" concept is complicated and controversial indeed. The basis for its understanding are "physis" Greek and "natura" Latin terms. In the most general sense "physis" means the process of formation or origin, the phenomenal, clear process of growth and development, the genesis. In the purely philosophical sense, the "nature" concept means a creative force, a principle of every growth, an elementary substance and the creation in general. The "natura" term in Latin means everything that tells about some subject formation according to the birth and development law. The "nature" concept replacing by the "environment" concept is something more than just linguistic and terminological shift: it was a new stage in the transformation of human understanding occured in the twentieth century, when new fields of the Universe study in its diversity appeared.The "environment" word has acquired many meanings. It defines the area that surrounds something in the etymological sense. However, the US philosopher A. Berleant that most of the "environment" meanings retain to some degree the assumption of an object and its surroundings or a self and its setting, bound together in varying degrees of intimacy but ultimately distinct and separate. That dualistic presumption has been challenged increasingly by scientific and philosophical developments in the twentieth century. This formed the basis of environmental aesthetics. The Finnish eco-philosopher Y. Sepanmaa characterized the environment: "the environment is that which surrounds us (in the centre of which we are as observers) which we perceive with our various senses, in the sphere of which we move and have our being". The field of environmental aesthetics initially covered the research of the natural environment, but it has grown, it expanded its purview to the mixed environments: 1) human-influenced environment (e.g., gardens); 2) human-created environment (human-constructed environment) or human environment of everyday life (e.g., yards and houses).Human life is directly connected with the space in which it exists, because there are no clear boundaries separating human society and the environment. From the philosophy point of view an individual’s existence outside the environment considering is unscientific and groundlessly and leads to disastrous practical consequences. The subject doesn’t perceive the environment purely passively and visually only, but he experience it with all his body plunged in this space at this time. A person "engaged" with everything in the surroundings. This engagement is getting of aesthetic experience of environment. "The experience of environment as an inclusive perceptual system includes such factors as space, mass, volume, time, movement, color, light, smell, sound, tactility, kinesthesia, pattern, order, and meaning".The "aesthetic value" term, according to the US philosopher E. Brady, is often used in environmental aesthetics to describe the quality of landscape scenery, sea views and other factors of the environment. Making the environment an aesthetic object, determination its aesthetic value is normally based on a decision of the recipient. He chooses themanner of examination and the object to be examined, delimits it, in place and in time. "Environment" aesthetic value criteria, according to the US philosopher M. Beardsley, are "dependent" or "independent". The US philosopher F. Coleman distributed the environment in the context of its understanding into "easy" and "difficult" from the aesthetics point of view. According to Y. Sepanmaa, the criteria of aesthetic value should consider how it satisfies the needs of the individual.In conclusion it should be admitted that the environment is the source of human aesthetic experience in general and the object of aesthetic appreciation in the environmental aesthetics framework in particular. Environmental aesthetics is a discipline with its own concepts, its own object, and problems, and, what is the most important – with its own contributions in the field of the aesthetic science. The environmental aesthetics main goal is to educate a fully developed community that will exist in harmony with the natural world.