Nature: Part Deux


“Ronald Hepburn, a specialist in the philosophy of aesthetics, believes we perceive and evaluate natural objects and objects of art differently.” pg. 110

What would he say to something like landscape photography? Though the photo is in a frame, it is of something without a frame, is it therefore framed or unframed?

“‘Amenity’ is a term that derives from the Latin amoenitas, meaning the aesthetic and sensory pleasures of country living. The role of the countryside as an amenity…” pg. 114

Again with the term countryside, what is the definition that Coates is using?

“…William Shenstone’s belief (1764) that ‘whatever thwarts nature is treason.'” pg. 122

Interesting idea, it almost seems as though Shenstone was an early environmentalist, however, he was an avid landscape gardener. Can gardening (especially landscape gardening) be considered nature/natural? Or is Shenstone being hypocritical?

“Nature, nonetheless, has meant far more over the last two-and-a-half centuries than daffodils, waterfalls, food chains and energy flows.” pg. 126

What is the basis of nature? In other words, if nature had to be broken down into its most basic form, what would that be?

“Haeckel spearheaded the intellectual forces that disputed the belief that the universe consists of two different substances, mind and matter (‘supernature’ and ‘nature’).” pg. 142

How successful was Haeckel? It would seem that even today people still think of themselves as separate from nature. Is that true?

“Though the emergence of Britain’s environmental movement was less intimately tied to the idolization of wild nature than its US cousin, a long-standing British tradition of conserving flora, fauna, mountain and moorland deserves attention.” pg. 164

Oh? If you do the right thing for the wrong reason, are you still right?

“The eco-socialist dystopia is a police state run by a green Hitler that mobilizes a vast network of informers to stamp out ecological incorrectness, where picking a rare wildflower is a hanging offense and those failing to recycle their yoghurt containers are banished.” pg. 172

Harsh words, I hardly think the comparison to Hitler is worthwhile. Coates is using that comparison to catch our attention, funny how he then (in the next paragraph) says that “Catchy and off-handed…polemics…definitely make for tempting and shocking copy.” pg. 172 Isn’t he hypocritical for these statements?

“History defined less grandly as a series of events would of course go on, but ‘all of the really big questions had been settled’.” pg. 173

I’ve heard this before, “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.” (reputably quipped by Lord Kelvin in 1900) within the decade, Einstein published his paper on relativity, thereby opening whole new fields of physics.

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