Environmental Ethics Vol. 20/2 (1998), pages 135-149
I propose that the appropriate appreciation of nature must include the moral capacity for acknowledging the reality of nature apart from humans and the sensitivity for listening to its own story. I argue that appreciating nature exclusively as design is inappropriate to the extent that we impose upon nature a preconceived artistic standard as well as appreciation based upon historical/cultural/literary associations insofar as we treat nature as a background of our own story. In contrast, aesthetic appreciation informed by our attempt to make sense of nature, such as science, mythology, and folklore, is appropriate because it guides our experience toward understanding nature’s own story embodied in its sensuous surface.