A critique of the debates in aesthetics of nature and their meanings for aesthetic education

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Most contemporary aesthetics always focus on the field of arts, while aesthetics of nature explores more on the aesthetic appreciation of nature. This paper uses literature analysis as the method to discuss the different critical stance between the cognitive approach and the non-cognitive approach in terms of the aesthetics of nature, reviews argument points of the two approaches and interprets their meaning for aesthetic education. Scholars of cognitive approach emphasize that the knowledge of science, folklore, mythology and religion can help us to appreciate natural beauty. Scholars of non-cognitive approach oppose the necessity of knowledge and emphasize the importance of sense, emotion, engagement and imagination. The two debates focus on the relationship between cognition and aesthetic appreciation, and on the problem of trivial and serious in aesthetic appreciation of nature. The study argues that aesthetic appreciation is not necessarily in conflict with cognition, and both are able to reach a deep level of appreciation. Accordingly, this study indicates three meanings for aesthetic education: 1. To strengthen aesthetic education of natural appreciation. 2. To integrate cognitive approach and non-cognitive approach into the teaching of aesthetic appreciation of nature. 3. To expand the vision of life through aesthetic education of natural appreciation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-146
Number of pages32
JournalContemporary Educational Research Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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