The role of emotion in the aesthetic appreciation of nature
This thesis argues that the emotion felt in response to the aesthetic appreciation of nature is relative to the relationship the observer has with the natural object or scene. The relative character of the emotional aesthetic response to nature indicates that the response is in one important sense subjective and yet the thesis also argues that some emotional responses to nature may be inappropriate and suggests guidelines for preventing such inappropriate responses. If emotion is linked to reason then the emotions felt in the aesthetic response to nature must be also involve reason. The emotions felt are relative to the associations we have with the aesthetic object and are therefore reliant on the beliefs and experiences one has of the aesthetic object regardless of whether these beliefs are merited. A central part of this thesis examines relativism within aesthetics and how versions of objects are created and used to respond to the world. Given that the emotions felt in the aesthetic response to nature are relative to the observer, the next question is as to how appropriate these emotional responses are. It is argued that although relative, the response may be considered inappropriate to the aesthetic object as it may be based on a narrow or weak understanding of the object. To prevent this three guidelines are proposed for containing the emotional aesthetic response to that which is appropriate; disinterestedness, perception lead aesthetics and responding well (a concept borrowed from Brady).