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natural history and science are available to play the role in securing the objectiv-
ity of aesthetic judgments of nature in a way that is analogous to the service per-
formed by art historical categories for art.
Thus, for epistemological reasons, we are driven to the view of nature appre-
ciation as a species of natural history. Effectively, it is advanced as the only way to
support our initial intuitions that some aesthetic judgments of nature can be
objective. Moreover, any competing picture of nature appreciation, if it is to be
taken seriously, must have comparable means to those of the natural environment
model for solving the problem of the objectivity of nature appreciation.
Of course, I do not wish to advance the “being moved by nature” view as
competing with the natural environment approach. Rather, I prefer to think of it
as a coexisting model. But even as a coexisting model, it must be able to solve the
problem of objectivity. However, the solution to the problem is quite straightfor-
ward when it comes to being emotionally moved by nature.
For, being emotionally moved by nature is just a subclass of being emotion-
ally moved. And on the view of the emotions that I, among many others, hold,
an emotion can be assessed as either appropriate or inappropriate. In order to
be afraid, I must be afraid of something, say an oncoming tank. My emotion “
fear in this case “ is directed; it takes a particular object. Moreover, if my fear in
a given case is appropriate, then the particular object of my emotional state
must meet certain criteria, or what are called “formal objects” in various philo-
sophical idioms.
For example, the formal object of fear is the dangerous. Or, to put the point in
less stilted language: if my fear of the tank (the particular object of my emotion) is
appropriate, then it must satisfy the criterion that I believe the tank to be danger-
ous to me. If, for instance, I say that I am afraid of chicken soup, but also that I do
not believe that chicken soup is dangerous, then my fear of chicken soup is inap-
propriate. C. D. Broad writes:“It is appropriate to cognize what one takes to be a
threatening object with some degree of fear. It is inappropriate to cognize what
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one takes to be a fellow man in undeserved pain or distress with satisfaction or
with amusement.”24
Of course, if emotions can be assessed with respect to appropriateness and
inappropriateness, then they are open to cognitive appraisal. Ronald deSousa says,
for example, that “appropriateness is the truth of the emotions.”25 We can assess
the appropriateness of the emotion of fear for an emoter in terms of whether or
not she believes that the particular object of her emotion is dangerous. We can,
furthermore, assess whether the appropriateness of her fear ought to be shared by
others by asking whether the beliefs, thoughts, or patterns of attention that under-
pin her emotions are the sorts of beliefs, thoughts, or patterns of attention that it
is reasonable for others to share.Thus we can determine whether her fear of the
tank is objective in virtue of whether her beliefs about the dangerousness of the
tank, in the case at hand, are reasonable beliefs for the rest of us to hold.
Turning from tanks to nature, we may be emotionally moved by a natural
expanse “ excited, for instance, by the grandeur of a towering waterfall.All things
being equal, being excited by the grandeur of something that one believes to be
of a large scale is an appropriate emotional response. Moreover, if the belief in the
large scale of the cascade is one that is true for others as well, then the emotional
response of being excited by the grandeur of the waterfall is an objective one. It is
not subjective, distorted, or wayward. If someone denies being moved by the
waterfall, but agrees that the waterfall is large scale and says nothing else, we are
apt to suspect that his response, as well as any judgments issued on the basis of that
response, are inappropriate. If he does not agree that the waterfall is of a large
scale, and does not say why, we will suspect him either of not understanding how
to use the notion of large scale, or of irrationality. If he disagrees that the waterfall
is of a large scale because the galaxy is much much larger, then we will try to con-
vince him that he has the wrong comparison class “ urging, perhaps, that he
should gauge the scale of the waterfall in relation to human scale.
In introducing the notion of the “wrong comparison class,” it may seem that I
have opened the door to Carlson™s arguments. But I do not think that I have. For
it is not clear that in order to establish the relevant comparison class for an emo-
tional response to nature one must resort to scientific categories. For example, we
may be excited by the grandeur of a blue whale. I may be moved by its size, its
force, the amount of water it displaces, etc., but I may think that it is a fish. Nev-
ertheless, my being moved by the grandeur of the blue whale is not inappropriate.
Indeed, we may be moved by the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex without knowing
whether it is the skeleton of a reptile, a bird, or a mammal.We can be moved by
such encounters, without knowing the natural history of the thing encountered,
on the basis of its scale, along with other things, relative to ourselves.
Such arousals may or may not be appropriate for us and for others. Moreover,
judgments based on such emotional responses “ like “that whale excites
grandeur” or “The Grand Tetons are majestic” “ can be objective. Insofar as being
moved by nature is a customary form of appreciating nature, then it can account
for the objectivity of some of our aesthetic judgments of nature.Thus, it satisfies
380 ALTERNATIVE TOPICS

the epistemological challenge whose solution Carlson appears to believe favors
only his natural environment model for the aesthetic appreciation of nature. Or, to
put it another way, being moved by nature remains a way of appreciating nature
that may coexist with the natural environment model.
At one point, Carlson concedes that we can simply enjoy nature “ “we can, of
course, approach nature as we sometimes approach art, that is, we can simply enjoy its
forms and colors or enjoy perceiving it however we may happen to.”26 But this is not
a very deep level of appreciation for Carlson, for, on his view, depth would appear to
require objectivity. Perhaps what Carlson would say about my defense of being
moved by nature is that being emotionally aroused by nature falls into the category of
merely enjoying nature and, as an instance of that category, it isn™t really very deep.
Undoubtedly, being moved by nature may be a way of enjoying nature. How-
ever, insofar as being moved by nature is a matter of being moved by appropriate
objects, it is not dismissable as enjoying nature in whatever way we please. Fur-
thermore, if the test of whether our appreciation of nature is deep is whether the
corresponding judgments are susceptible to objective, cognitive appraisal, I think I
have shown that some cases can pass this test. Is there any reason to think that
being moved by nature must be any less deep a response than attending to nature
with the eyes of the naturalist?
I would be very suspicious of an affirmative answer to this question. Of
course, part of the problem is that what makes an appreciative response to nature
shallow or deep is obscure. Obviously, a naturalist™s appreciation of nature could be
deep in the sense that it might go on and on as the naturalist learns more and
more about nature, whereas a case of emotional arousal with respect to nature
might be more consummatory. Is the former case deeper than the latter? Are the
two cases even commensurable? Clearly, time alone cannot be a measure of depth.
But how exactly are we to compare appreciative stances with respect to depth?
Maybe there is no way. But if the depth of a response is figured in terms of our
intensity of involvement and its “thorough goingness,”27 then there is no reason to
suppose that being moved by nature constitutes a shallower form of appreciation
than does appreciating nature scientifically.The Kantian apprehension of sublim-
ity28 “ and its corresponding aesthetic judgment “ though it may last for a delim-
ited duration, need not be any less deep than a protracted teleological judgment.
Again, it is not my intention to dispute the kind of appreciation that Carlson
defends under the title of the natural environment model. It is only to defend the
legitimacy of an already well-entrenched mode of nature appreciation that I call
being moved by nature.This mode of nature appreciation can pay the epistemo-
logical bill that Carlson presupposes any adequate model of nature appreciation
should accommodate. It need not be reducible to scientific appreciation, nor must
it be regarded as any less deep than appreciation informed by natural history.
Of course, it may seem odd that we can appreciate nature objectively this way
when it seems that a comparable form of appreciation is not available to art. But
the oddity here vanishes when we realize that to a certain extent we are able to
appreciate art and render objective aesthetic judgments of artworks without refer-
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ence to precise art historical categories. One may find a fanfare in a piece of music
stirring and objectively assert that it is stirring without any knowledge of music
history and its categories. Being emotionally aroused by nature in at least certain
cases need be no different.
Carlson may be disposed to question whether being emotionally moved by
nature is really a matter of responding to nature as nature. Perhaps he takes it to be
something like a conceptual truth that, given the culture we inhabit, attending to
nature as nature can only involve attending to it scientifically. However, if I am
taken with the grace of a group of deer vaulting a stream, I see no reason to sup-
pose that I am not responding to nature as nature. Moreover, any attempt to regi-
ment the notion of responding to nature as nature so that it only strictly applies to
scientific understanding appears to me to beg the question.

I V. O R D E R A P P R E C I AT I O N

The most recent argument that Carlson has advanced in favor of the natural envi-
ronmental model of nature appreciation is what might be called the order argu-
ment.29 In certain respects, it is reminiscent of his earlier arguments, but it does
add certain new considerations that are worth our attention. Like his previous
arguments, Carlson™s order argument proceeds by carefully comparing the form of
nature appreciation with that of art appreciation.
One paradigmatic form of art appreciation is design appreciation. Design
appreciation presupposes that the artwork has a creator who embodies the design
in an object or a performance, and that the design embodied in the artwork indi-
cates how we are to take it. However, this model of appreciation is clearly inap-
propriate for nature appreciation since nature lacks a designer.
Nevertheless, there is another sort of art appreciation that has been devised in
order to negotiate much of the avant-garde art of the twentieth century. Carlson
calls this type of appreciation order appreciation.When, for example, we are con-
fronted by something like Duchamp™s Fountain, the design of the object does not
tell us how to take it or appreciate it. Instead, we rely on certain stories about how
the object came to be selected by Duchamp in order to make a point.These sto-
ries inform us of the ideas and beliefs that lead an avant-garde artist to produce or
to select (in the case of a found object) the artwork.
These stories direct us in the appropriate manner of appreciating the object; they
guide us in our selection of the relevant features of the work for the purposes of
appreciation. They do the work with unconventional, experimental art that design
does with more traditional art. For example, our knowledge, given a certain art his-
torical narrative, of Surrealism™s commitment to revealing the unconscious, alerts us
to the importance of incongruous, dreamlike juxtapositions in paintings by Dali.
For Carlson, design appreciation is obviously ill suited to nature appreciation.
On the other hand, something like order appreciation appears to fit the case of
nature appreciation. We can appreciate nature in terms of the forces that bring
natural configurations about, and we can be guided to the relevant features of
382 ALTERNATIVE TOPICS

nature by stories. But where do these stories come from? At an earlier stage in our
culture, they may have come from mythology. But at this late date, they come
from the sciences, including astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, genetics, mete-
orology, geology and so on. These sciences, and the natural histories they afford,
guide our attention to the relevant forces that account for the features of nature
worthy of attention.
Basically, Carlson™s most recent argument is that art appreciation affords two pos-
sible models for nature appreciation: design appreciation and order appreciation.
Design appreciation, however, is clearly inadmissable.That leaves us with order appre-
ciation. However, the source of the guiding stories pertinent to the order apprecia-
tion of nature differ from those that shape order appreciation with respect to art.The
source of the latter is art history while the source of the former is natural history.
But once again Carlson™s argument is open to the charge that he has not canvased
all the actual alternatives. One™s appreciation of art need not fall into either the cate-
gory of design appreciation or order appreciation.We can sometimes appreciate art
appropriately by being moved by it. Moreover, this is true of the avant-garde art that
Carlson suggests requires order appreciation as well as of more traditional art.
For example, Man Ray™s The Gift is an ordinary iron with pointed nails affixed
to its smooth bottom. Even if one does not know that it is a specimen of Dada,
and even if one lacks the art-historical story that tells one the ideology of Dada,
reflecting on The Gift one may readily surmise that the object is at odds with itself
“ you cannot press trousers with it “ in a way that is brutally sardonic and that
arouses dark amusement. Similarly, one can detect the insult in Duchamp™s Foun-
tain without knowing the intricate dialectics of art history, just as one may find
certain Surrealist paintings haunting without knowing the metaphysical, psycho-
logical, and political aims of the Surrealist movement.
As it is sometimes with art, so is it with nature. In both cases, we may be emo-
tionally moved by what we encounter without any really detailed background in
art history or natural history. With respect to both art and nature, emotional
arousal can be a mode of appreciation, and it is possible, in a large number of cases,
to determine whether the emotional arousal is appropriate or inappropriate with-
out reference to any particularly specific stories of either the art-historical or the
natural-history varieties.
A parade or a sunset may move us, and this level of response, though tradition-
ally well-known, need not be reduced to either design appreciation or order
appreciation, nor must it be guided by art history or by natural history. Insofar as
Carlson™s approach to both art and nature appears wedded to certain types of
“professional” knowledge as requisite for appreciation, he seems to be unduly
hasty in closing off certain common forms of aesthetic appreciation. This is not
said in order to reject the sort of informed appreciation Carlson advocates, but
only to suggest that certain more naive forms of emotive, appreciative responses
may be legitimate as well.30
I have argued that one form of nature appreciation is a matter of being aroused
emotionally by the appropriate natural objects. This talk of the emotions, how-
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ever, may seem suspicious to some. Does it really seem reasonable to be emotion-
ally moved by nature? If we feel a sense of security when we scan a natural
expanse, doesn™t that sound just too mystical? Perhaps, our feeling, as Diffey has
suggested, is some form of displaced religious sentiment. Maybe being moved by
nature is some sort of delusional state worthy of psychoanalysis or demystification.
Of course, many emotional responses to nature “ such as being frightened by
a tiger “ are anything but mystical. But it may seem that others “ particularly those
that are traditionally exemplary of aesthetic appreciation, like finding a landscape
to be serene “ are more unfathomable and perhaps shaped by repressed religious
associations. However, I think that there is reliable evidence that many of our
emotional responses to nature have a straightforwardly secular basis.
For example, in his classic The Experience of Landscape,31 and in subsequent
articles,32 Jay Appleton has defended the view that our responses to landscape are
connected to certain broadly evolutionary interests that we take in landscapes.
Appleton singles out two significant variables in our attention to landscape “ what
he calls prospect (a landscape opportunity for keeping open the channels of per-
ception) and refuge (a landscape opportunity for achieving concealment).
That is, given that we are the kind of animal we are, we take a survival interest
in certain features of landscapes: open vistas give us a sense of security insofar as
we can see there is no threat approaching, while enclosed spaces reassure us that
there are places in which to hide. We need not be as theoretically restrictive as
Appleton is and maintain that these are the major foci of our attention to land-
scape. But we can agree that features of landscape like prospect and refuge may
cause our humanly emotional responses to natural expanses in terms of the way
they address our deep-seated, perhaps tacit, interests in the environment as a
potential theatre of survival.
Thus, when we find a natural environment serene, part of the cause of that
sense of serenity might be its openness “ the fact that nothing can approach us
unexpectedly across its terrain. And such a response need not be thought to be
mystical nor a matter of displaced religion, if it is connected to information pro-
cessing molded by our long-term evolution as animals.
Other researchers have tried to isolate further features of landscape “ such as
mystery and legibility33 “ that shape our responses to natural expanses in terms of
a sense, however intuitive and unconscious, of the sorts of experiences we would
have “ such as ease of locomotion, of orientation, of exploration and so on “ in
the environment viewed.That is, our perhaps instinctive sense of how it would be
to function in a given natural environment may be part of the cause of our emo-
tional arousal with respect to it. A landscape that is very legible “ articulated
throughout with neat subdivisions “ may strike us as hospitable and attractive in
part because it imparts such a strong sense of how we might move around and
orient ourselves inside of it.
Earlier I sketched a scene in which we found ourselves in an arbor, carpeted by
layers of decaying foliage and moss. I imagined that in such a situation we might feel
a sense of solace, repose, and homeyness. And such an emotional state might be
384 ALTERNATIVE TOPICS

caused by our tacit recognition of its refuge potential. On this view, I am not saying
that we consciously realize that the arbor is a suitable refuge and appreciate it as such.
Rather the fact that it is a suitable refuge acts to causally trigger our emotional

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