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agree that emotions have a cognitive dimension. Nowdays it is common to argue
that emotions presuppose cognitive elements like belief.To be angry, for example,
presupposes a belief on the part of the percipient that he or she has been wronged.
Thus, insofar as the arousal model maintains that nature appreciation may involve
being moved emotionally, it is committed to the view that the relevant percipients
possess certain beliefs, or, at least, belief-like states. But then, Carlson asks, where
do these cognitive states come from? And his answer is: from science and natural
history, or from their commonsense or folk forebears. Thus, inasmuch as the
390 ALTERNATIVE TOPICS

arousal model is committed to a cognitive theory of the emotions and insofar as
the beliefs pertinent to being moved by nature come from science, the arousal
model all but collapses into the natural environmental model.8
Either the emotional appreciation of nature is cognitive or noncognitive. If it
is cognitive, then it depends ultimately on scientific knowledge. Ex hypothesi, it is
not noncognitive (or not appreciably).9 Therefore, it depends on scientific knowl-
edge.This is the second horn of Carlson™s dilemma.
Of course, I don™t want to deny that emotional responses to nature involve
cognition.The question is whether the nature of the relevant cognitions amounts
to scientific knowledge. The strongest statement of Carlson™s view, repeated in
“Nature, Aesthetic Appreciation and Knowledge,” has been that the beliefs rele-
vant to his version of nature appreciation are represented paradigmatically by the
knowledge provided by the natural sciences. In response to the arousal model,
however, he seems to be willing to weaken that claim to the point where just
about any belief state satisfies the natural environmental model. I worry that by
diluting the cognitive requirements of the natural environmental model Carlson
may be prematurely trading in a very powerful account of one kind of nature
appreciation for a rather dubious and merely apparent dialectical advantage.
According to the arousal model, the percipient is in an emotional state that
involves a cognitive state “ either a belief or a belief-like cognition. Standing
beneath Mt. Cook, I believe that it is a mountain, composed of whatever geolog-
ical stuff mountains are composed of. Does my emotional state rest on scientific
knowledge? I don™t think so and my reference to “whatever geological stuff
mountains are composed of ” should bear me out. This certainly wouldn™t make
the grade on a science exam.
But at this point, Carlson seems to want to extend our conception of scientific
knowledge. It might not count as scientific knowledge, but it counts as scientific
belief.Well, there are beliefs here, but are they scientific? Perhaps not, Carlson will
concede, but they are beliefs of a commonsensical or folk variety that are prede-
cessors to scientific beliefs. But Carlson hasn™t really told us how to tell whether a
belief is a predecessor to a scientific belief. Is any belief such a predecessor?
But can any folk or commonsense belief about nature really be a predecessor
to scientific beliefs? Clearly, whether a belief is false does not preclude its being a
predecessor to a scientific belief. But among those false beliefs are many mytho-
logical ones.Are they all predecessors to scientific beliefs?
Suppose that I believe that water is the blood of the earth god.Thus, when I
perceive a geyser, I believe that I am seeing the blood of the earth god gushing
forth.The force of the explosion moves me; I am absorbed by the heat and force
and smell of it. I am emotionally moved by nature. But my beliefs are about the
blood of the earth god. Does Carlson really want to assimilate my response to the
naturalist™s? Does he actually want to say that my belief belongs to a class of beliefs
paradigmatically represented by scientific knowledge?
Whereas Carlson makes the case for the natural environmental model primarily
on the basis of scientific knowledge, he seems willing to water down the model to
EMOTION, APPRECIATION, NATURE 391
AND


the extent where any sort of belief will do the job.This means that by its own lights
the natural environmental model countenances all manner of pseudo-scientific junk
as a constituent in a legitimate response to nature as long as it is part of some folklore.
Moreover, what Carlson is willing to consider as proto-scientific common
sense and folk wisdom too is quite expansive. If I believed that the geyser was
spouting water, that would also count as a proto-scientific belief. I won™t quibble
that it is a belief. But why is the belief that water is water scientific or even proto-
scientific? Why is it a predecessor to scientific knowledge? Scientific knowledge is
self-consciously systematic and explanatory. But my belief that a geyser is water is
neither. At the very least, Carlson owes us a persuasive criterion to tell which
beliefs count as proto-scientific and which do not. Without such a criterion we
may suspect that he has merely stipulated the comprehensiveness of the natural
environmental model. It does not seem plausible to me to regard any old belief
derived from one™s culture “ such as this is water and that is a flower “ as a nascent
scientific belief, let alone scientific knowledge.
However, even if Carlson retools the natural environmental model so that it
claims the existence of every sort of belief as evidence in its behalf, I still wonder
whether Carlson has succeeded in showing that it can logically swallow the
arousal model without remainder. For emotional responses need not require
beliefs, even if they require belief-like components. I may not believe that I am
about to fall off a precipice, but I may still undergo a surge of fear if I imagine
myself losing my footing. That is, not only beliefs (propositions held before the
mind as asserted), but thoughts (propositions entertained or held before the mind
as unasserted) can generate emotional responses.10
Thus, I may view a cloud formation “ entertaining the metaphor that it is a
mountain range “ and that belief-like state (that imagining) may engender emo-
tions of awe in me, calling my attention to the massive, powerful shapes in the sky.
Nor need this imagining on my part be idiosyncratically subjective. Everyone else
can see why I see it as a mountain range and can agree that my metaphor is appo-
site. Since my metaphor directs my attention to natural features of the cloud for-
mation, including its color and contour, I see no reason to deny that my response
constitutes an appreciation of some features of nature. But I do not believe that
the cloud is a mountain. I merely entertain the thought in a way that raises an
emotional response in me, which, in turn, enables me to organize my perception
of (i.e., to size up) some of its features.
This, I submit, is an emotional response to nature “ a case of nature apprecia-
tion “ but it does not require a belief state to, so to speak, get off the ground.Thus,
even if Carlson tries (ill advisedly, I think) to appropriate every sort of belief state
for the natural appreciation model, there will still be a logical difference between
the arousal model and his approach, since the arousal model will endorse nature
appreciations rooted in imaginings (at least, imaginings of a constrained, intersub-
jectively apt variety), whereas Carlson has not yet extended the natural environ-
mental model that far. Consequently, the arousal model does not collapse without
residue into the natural environmental model.
392 ALTERNATIVE TOPICS

Carlson wishes to deconstruct the distinction between his natural environ-
mental model and the arousal model by claiming that the beliefs required by the
arousal model will all turn out to be either scientific or proto-scientific. This
seems to me mistaken on two counts. First, it is not plausible to presume that
every belief relevant to being moved emotionally by nature is either scientific or
proto-scientific; Carlson at least owes us both a definition and a demonstration to
support this claim. And second, not every belief-like state that may be relevant to
being moved by nature need be a belief, scientific or otherwise. So even if nearly
every belief turns out to be either scientific or proto-scientific, there may still be
emotional appreciations of nature that cannot be incorporated into the natural
environmental model.There is still logical space for the arousal model to inhabit.
Of course, the arousal model and the natural environmental model are not
inimicable. Scientific knowledge, for example, may enhance my emotional
response to nature. Standing between the two tors that flank the Pali Lookout on
Oahu, I felt dwarfed by their power. Learning that these mountains serve as nat-
ural vents, channeling the winds that blow across Kaneohe Bay, made that sense of
power even more acute. I suddenly saw the sailboats below driven under their
aegis. Here, scientific knowledge accentuated an emotional response. I suspect that
this happens quite often. In some cases, then, scientific knowledge complements
emotional arousal.And yet at the same time, arousal may flourish independently of
scientific knowledge. I found the tors moving before I learnt that they were nat-
ural vents. In such cases, the natural environmental model needs to be supple-
mented by the arousal model if we wish to develop a comprehensive account of
nature appreciation.

I V. C A R L S O N A N D K A N T

In the opening of “Nature, Aesthetic Appreciation and Knowledge,” Carlson cites
Kant on the appreciation of nature. My impression is that Carlson does this in
order to align my view with Kant™s. Moreover, I also suspect that Carlson believes
that in putatively disposing of the arousal model, he has also made his peace with
Kant. But if this is what Carlson intends by his reference to Kant, I must disagree
with him on both points.
As I understand Kant, aesthetic judgments “ the genus of which I take it
appreciations of nature are uncontroversially a species “ are singular. By this Kant
means that they proceed without subsuming particulars under a concept. The
judgment that this horse is beautiful does not subsume this particular horse under
the concept horse and its subtending canons of excellence. I do not reason that
this horse is beautiful because it is a good example of the category horse. Rather,
I look at this entity, which happens to be a horse, and I surmise that it is beautiful
without reference to the category it belongs to (and without reference to the pur-
poses it might serve). The stimulus of the horse gives rise to the free play of my
faculties of undertanding and imagination, and the harmony of those faculties,
engaged in free play, give rise to the feeling of beauty.
EMOTION, APPRECIATION, NATURE 393
AND


This experience does not preclude that I know that the horse in question is a
horse.What it precludes is that my judgment that it is beautiful is the result of sub-
suming it under a concept. The imagination and the understanding peruse the
horse freely (without reference to a concept). Nor would I defend my assertion
that this horse is beautiful by deducing that judgment from concepts in conjunc-
tion with this particular case. Rather I would command the assent of all to my
aesthetic judgment of the horse on the basis of my experience of this particular
horse “ on the basis of the free play of my understanding and imagination in
response to this horse.What goes on during the free play of the understanding and
the imagination is something that we can talk about at great length. However,
Kant is clear that one thing that he believes does not go on is the subsumption of
the particular under a concept.
Whether or not one buys Kant™s analysis is an open question. However, it
seems to me that Kant™s account of aesthetic appreciation is not equivalent to
the arousal model. One reason for this is that on the arousal model, the percip-
ient does subsume the particular under categories, namely, the categories or
criteria relevant for the pertinent emotional states. In order to be afraid, one
must subsume the object of the emotional state under the category of the
harmful. In order to be enraptured by the grandeur of a moutain peak, one
must subsume it at least under the category of the large. It would be inappro-
priate to regard a molehill as grand, since a molehill is too small to be sub-
sumed under the category of the large. Thus, emotional states, including
emotional appreciations of nature, do not fit the Kantian model because they
typically involve the subsumption of the objects of the relevant emotions
under categories. Therefore, even if Carlson had managed to dispose of the
arousal model “ something that I have denied “ he would not at the same time
have dealt with the perhaps more radical Kantian model. For the two models
part company on the issue of categories.
Furthermore (and of far greater importance), it does not seem to me that the
natural environmental model can accommodate Kantian appreciation under its
rubric.The natural environmental model thrives on scientific (or proto-scientific)
concepts and laws. Nature appreciation is a matter of seeing how particular natural
phenomena fall under scientific concepts and laws (or folk concepts and folk
laws). But this is exactly what the Kantian aesthetic judgment eschews. Kant felt
that he needed to adduce a critique of aesthetic judgment exactly because it dif-
fered radically from judgments of pure reason and practical judgments. Whereas
those forms of judgment involved the subsumption of particulars under concepts,
aesthetic judgment is putatively singular. Explaining how such judgments are pos-
sible is the primary burden of proof that motivates the analysis of free beauty in
Kant™s Critique of Judgment.
But this architectonic ambition would be, in large measure, beside the point if
Kant thought that the aesthetic appreciation of nature were characterizable by
means of the natural environmental model. For in that case, nature appreciation
would be a subclass of judgments of pure reason.
394 ALTERNATIVE TOPICS

I do not suppose that Carlson, or anyone else, has to accept Kant™s account.
However, at the same time, I do not believe that Carlson can imagine that the nat-
ural environmental model can easily take Kant™s view on board. For Kant requires
that knowledge of categories and laws be irrelevant for genuine aesthetic
responses to both nature and art, whereas the natural environmental model makes
little or no sense without access to laws and categories. Thus, even if the natural
environmental model could absorb the arousal model, Kant™s view of the aesthetic
appreciation of nature should remain indigestible to Carlson.
I mention this problem with Kant™s theory not in order to endorse that theory,
but rather to point out that it remains a competitor to Carlson™s natural environ-
mental model.Thus, Carlson™s model confronts not only one rival (or supplement)
in the form of the arousal model, but at least one other in the form of Kant™s the-
ory of aesthetic judgment.
NOTES

INTRODUCTION
1. George Dickie,“The Myth of the Aesthetic Attitude,” American Philosophical Quarterly (Jan-
uary 1964), pp. 56“64.
2. George Dickie, Art and the Aesthetic: An Institutional Analysis (Ithaca: Cornell University
Press, 1974).
3. Further arguments against the traditional account can also be found in my “Art and the
Domain of the Aesthetic,” British Journal of Aesthetics, (vol. 40, no. 2 (April 2000), pp. 191“208.
4. My reliance on history in this regard surely shows the influence of the spirit, though not
the word, of Arthur Danto™s early essay “The Artworld,” Journal of Philosophy, (October 15,
1964), pp. 571“84.
5. One anti-intentionalist, Kent Wilson, has suggested that where there are no determinate
meaning-conventions of the sort found in language, we should not speak of interpreting
the meaning of artworks at all. But this seems to be a very ad hoc way of settling the debate
over intentionalism, since that debate has always been thought to be relevant to the inter-
pretation of artworks in general. Standardly, nonlinguistic artworks are thought to possess
meaning (e.g., montage in film and television). From the perspective of the philosophy of
art, to restrict stipulatively the notion of meaning to linguistic matters not only seems arbi-
trary, but, as well, fails to take seriously our interpretive practices. One does not explain the
phenomenon by denying its existence.This is to give up the philosophical project of dis-
covering the presiding conditions of possibility of our interpretive practices.Thus,Wilson™s
suggestion not only involves exiting the debate, but he also seems to shirk the philosophi-
cal responsibility of reconstructing our actual interpretive practices by effectively attempt-
ing to regiment them unrealistically.To declare, by fiat, that all nonlinguistic artworks lack
meaning because they are not linguistic appears at root to beg the question. See: W. Kent
Wilson, “Confession of a Weak Anti-Intentionalist: Exposing Myself,” Journal of Aesthetics
and Art Criticism, (Summer, 1997), pp. 309“11.
6. I also address the debate with hypothetical intentionalism in my “Andy Kaufman and the
Philosophy of Interpretation,” in Interpretation: Multiple or Singular? edited by Michael Krausz
(University Park: Penn State University Press, forthcoming).
7. This article has been criticized by: James Anderson and Jeff Dean in “Moderate
Autonomism,” British Journal of Aesthetics (April, 1998), pp. 150“66; and Daniel Jacobson,“In
Praise of Immoral Art,” Philosophical Topics (Spring, 1997), pp. 155“99. I have replied to these
objections respectively in: No«l Carroll, “Moderate Moralism versus Moderate
Autonomism,” British Journal of Aesthetics (October, 1998), pp. 419“24 and No«l Carroll,
“Art and Ethical Criticism,” Ethics, vol. 110, No. 2 (January 2000), pp. 350“387.

A RT INTERACTION
AND

1. Though throughout this essay I maintain that there is a strong tendency among philoso-
phers of art to deploy notions of the aesthetic as definitive of our interactions with art, not
all philosophers find the aesthetic to be a congenial idea. George Dickie, for example, chal-
lenges its use in his classic “The Myth of Aesthetic Attitude,” in American Philosophical Quar-
terly I no. 1 (Jan., 1964). Dickie challenges proponents of the aesthetic to find a plausible


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396 NOTES

differentia between this concept as a prefix for experiences of art versus ordinary experi-
ences. I am sympathetic with Dickie™s reservations as well as with objections that worry
about whether the usage of such notions as disinterest and freedom in characterizations of
the aesthetic is ultimately coherent. However, for the purposes of this paper. I have not
dwelt on these problems with aesthetic theories of art but rather, in a manner of speaking,
have attempted to give the devil his due by generally proceeding as if such notions as dis-
interest could be rendered intelligibly while also wondering whether even with this con-
cession aesthetic theories of art are acceptable. I am prone, especially in regard to what I

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