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New places are always worth a visit, especially new terrain.So I needed no persuadingto spend a few hours wandering about Uvas Canyon CountyPark,which lies to the south and west of San Jose. My friends,whose idea this was, knew full well that, for me, there simply is no contest between a day in the woods-any woods-and any temptationthe city-any city-can hold in store. So off we went. Before we arrived,they filled in a few details about the place and their acquaintancewith it. The walk chosen for the afternoon was a short circuit which passed by three waterfalls. As if to calm what might have been overheated and dashed expectation, my friends explained that these were rather little waterfalls, quite short on height and splash, maybe even waterfalls in polite circles alone, but very attractivenonetheless. Well, they were little waterfalls,and yet very attractivenonetheless, as was the entire setting, and the afternoon a success altogether. But I have since been bemused aboutwhy my friendsnearly apologizedfor the little waterfalls and aboutwhat it means to do that sort of thing. This paper is largely about appreciating and valuing the naturalenvironment,and the standardsand rankingsthatcome into play when we appreciateand value nature.Even thoughappreciation and differentialevaluation are unavoidably and properly inseparablewhen applied to the culturalsphere, it is disquieting to consider them inseparablewhen appliedto the naturaldomain. In culturalmatters, the ties that bind appreciationand evaluationare the provinceof the critic and connoisseur. Only those with the worst taste would judge all works of art equally exquisite. But transportthat discriminationover to the naturalsphere and the critic and connoisseur startto play God. This would be harmlessly
were it not for our typically handpresumptuous ing over the preservationand protection of nature to nature "critics"much as the protection and preservationof culturalheritage are left in the able hands of our culturalexperts. These nature critics belong to a varied circle including conservation biologists, restoration ecologists, parksand wildlife managers,not to mentionnatural resourcemanagersand environmentalpolicy planners.Though I try to indicate how and why this transferof discriminationfrom art to naturemight be resisted, I am also aware that it cannot be, and, more tellingly, must not be resisted. For if it is resistedtoo religiously,the aesthetic dimension will simply be canceled out as an effective factorin natureconservationpolicy, leaving the field considerably more under the sway of seductively operationaland measurable resourcevalues. Centralto my accountis the contrastbetween what reasonablygoes on in the culturalsphere, and what might or should go on in the natural sphere.In a nutshell,regardingthe latter,we are left with a choice between two awkward alternatives;viz., (1) that aspects of the naturalenvironmentare to be evaluatively weighted and so differentially treated, or (2) that all aspects of the environmentare to be deemed of equal appreciative value and cannot thus be differentially treated,at least on aesthetic grounds.The based on, formerrelatesto differentialtreatment say, scenic beauty,ecological centrality,and representativeness, or species richness, with poor scorers falling through the conservation net. The latter view, an expression of positive aesthetics,1 effectively eliminates the relevance of appreciativevalue in natureconservationpolicy by failing to provide any pertinent aesthetic or other nonfunctionaland noneconomic differen-
The Journalof Aesthetics and Art Criticism56:2 Spring 1998
The Journalof Aesthetics and Art Criticism all the time, most certainly when it involves introductions to what people comfortably call "local culture." Conscientious hosts prepare their guests for the modesty in store when modest fare thereis. Folks from the big sophisticated city need to be pre-adjustedfor the pioneer museum or the local blues band. Visits to the small town art gallery and struggling Indian restaurant are often swaddled in local humilityjust to make sure that no one gets the scale wrong. For is disappointment swift and certain if one otherwise comes ready to savorand appreciatein full as one wouldthe sights, sounds, and tastes of the best there is anywhere. After all, the ordinary and commonplacearejust what they are-plain and common-and in essence just inferior to the extraordinaryand exceptional. With such a contrast, can anyone seriously argue that each merits and satisfies the same degree of appreciation as the other? Perhapsthis rhetoricalquestion misfires, for the ordinarydoes not lack its defenders.Broadminded protestsmay springforth aboutthe propriety of appreciating the little things of life. one Further, may insist thatappreciationis propat home in its propersetting. But, however erly high-minded and charitable these outlooks, it seems blinkered to suggest that the breadthof one's experience can be ignored or, worse, suppressed, when new experiencemanifestly delivers less of something or other which past experience offered in full. For to what does one consent when putting oneself in a frame of mind which ensures that one appreciates the little things of life? One scarcely needs convincing that the little things may well have their own charms or attractions. Of course they do, and it is the height of snobbery and impoverishmentof spirit to suggest otherwise. At this level of experience,to appreciate something is to see some good in it and to take pleasurein thatgood, and, to the extentthat the little things in life have some good in them, one is all the richerin experience who does not let that slip by. Still, these attractionsare often experiencedeither as lesser attractionsthan the familiarbenchmarks,or as slightly sad compensation for failing to display more importantfeatures that reach the height of attractiveness. Being in a mood to appreciatethe little things seems to requirethat one set one's sights lower and simply make do with the availablebenefits,
tiae on which to grounddifferentialtreatmentof the environment.Otherwiseput, if natureappreciation is not supposed or obliged to choose favorites, then it cannot be true that all appreciation involves evaluation; i.e., judging, grading, and ranking.But if that is so, then appreciation which involves no evaluation cannot play any role in setting conservation priorities. If aesthetic appreciationdoes have a role to play in prioritysetting, however, then it must resort to art-aesthetic-like evaluative imperatives, and thus forsake the spirit of valuing every natural thing as it is as the basis of natureappreciation. Appreciation is a normative venture and involves some kind of pro-attitude.To characterize natureappreciationas distinctively nonjudgmental involves the denial that to appreciate some thing is necessarily to evaluateit. But one may, presumably,value a thing without evaluating it. One program for a distinctive positive naturalaesthetic, then, is to affirm the claim "To appreciateis to value," while denying the claim "Tovalue is to evaluate." Below, I examine efforts to defuse or eliminate differential aesthetic judgment so as to allow greaterevaluativeprominenceto ordinary things, culturaland natural.All such efforts unfortunatelymisfire. Because my concernis principally with the relation between appreciation, evaluation,and valuing, I do not have space here to explore otherimportantfeaturesof natureappreciation such as its psychological dimension, its special content, and its guiding focus, some aspects of which I have consideredelsewhere.2 I close with a sketch about the role aesthetics might have left to play in natureconservationin light of the need to establish conservationpriorities. In brief, however shaky on abstract grounds, there are powerful pragmaticreasons for those interested in saving nature to accept and work on a metric for naturalaesthetics if only to ensure future opportunitiesfor the aesthetic appreciationof nature.Otherwise,we will be left only with those things in naturesparedon grounds having altogethertoo little to do with nature'saesthetic value.
I. APPRECIATING THE LITTLE THINGS
preparedme for That my friends appropriately my encounter with the small falls was nothing out of the ordinary.We all do that sort of thing
Godlovitch EvaluatingNatureAesthetically however disappointingin the contrast.To adapt thus is sensible and even rewarding, since any appreciativebenefit is betterthannone, and certainly better than out-and-out disappointment, derogation,and dismissal. Such appreciativereceptiveness is thus bound to be worthwhile, however otherwise overwhelmed when contrasted with the big things in life. But, no one would willingly choose the experienceof the little things over that of the big things, nor willfully seek out the commonplace when the exceptional is to hand. At best, one makes do appreciatively when the big things in life are somewhereelse. The terms "little" and "big"are meant to reflect typical cultural comparative practices. Bookstores often express this differencecategorially in offeringfor sale Fiction in one shelf and Literaturein another. Music and drama audiences get used to distinguishing between local and internationalacts, and between major and minor recording labels. Whereas the paintings of Rembrandtregularly go on world tour, the beloved local artists of the past stay pinned in perpetuo to the walls of the struggling county gallery. So it is with wineries, breweries, and potteries. And so too it is with baseball, rugby, golf, cars, computers,high schools, restaurants, jewelry, clothing, rugs, corkscrews, running shoes, and just about anything else that is made or done and is exposed to the cold light of educated taste and worldly judgments of differential quality.Withoutdoubt, critics and aficionados have had their heavy hand in doing this for us and to us. But to lay the blame exclusively on them is unfair,for all they do is specialize where we dabble in a practice that comes by instinct with exposure to artifice itself, to the things of humanhands and minds. What is this practice? None otherthanbeing moved to rankthings and the experienceof them on the strengthof the differences experience reveals. Rare is that person who is able to appreciateall things with equal intensity; so rare indeed as to be suspected either of a prodigious monotony of mind or, worse, a seamless monotonyof experience.The fact is we perceive differences amongst things of a kind and have preferenceswhetherwe like it or not, and these perceptionsand preferences are informed by and change with experience.
II. BEST IN ITS LEAGUE, APPRECIATION ONE OF A KIND:
FIT FOR ITS PROPER SETTING
The second reminder-that appreciation is properly at home in its proper setting, that appreciation must fit its subject-is designed to soften the uncompromisingjudgmental mode which ensures that the little things remain little when matched against the big ones. Even if ordinary things are inferior to and so deserve less appreciationthan extraordinarythings, we should refuse to observe strictureson appreciation fanatically.Otherwise,ourdisappointments would mount and ruin our very capacity to appreciate. If we always appeal to the remorseless standard of greatness, experience will become increasingly disappointing because experience is most often of the ordinary.As experience increases, experience of the ordinary increases, and thus the odds of experiencing the exceptional decreases. Many exceptional things have only one chance to be exceptional. Repeat them often and they become ordinary.Further, expectations of the exceptional become increasingly disappointedas increasingly less is available in experience to strike one as exceptional. This makes jadedness not an aberration a normal but development, and also explains why children find the world so much more amazing than do adults. To what does the claim that appreciationis properly at home in its proper setting commit us? Here are some examples: it is unfitting and irresponsible to match one's experience of a child's drawingagainst one done by Durer;it is remiss to rank the prize winners at the annual amateurvintners competition against the great vintages of old Bordeaux chateaux; it is out of place to judge with the same ear the struggles of the Red Deer Civic Orchestraand the effortless perfection of the Berlin Philharmonic;it is absurd to compare the performanceof the highschool baseball team in the same terms as the
New York Yankees. There are veritable leagues of practice. Notwithstanding some seepage
across leagues and some promotions into and demotions out of leagues, we can determine roughlywhere the boundarieslie. These leagues are markednot only by predictablepreoccupation and output;more importantly,they define boundariesof consumerexpectation appropriate and so the appropriate levels and atmosphereof
The Journalof Aesthetics and Art Criticism Leagues come in two kinds, hierarchicaland categorial. Sports provides instances of both. Hierarchical leagues not only demarcateareas of practice but allow interleagueranking.They are, thus, higher-order leagues, or leagues of leagues. So, when talking of major and minor of leagues, one may assertthe relativeinferiority one whole league against another.With hierarchical leagues, one ranks both intraleagueand interleagueperformance.Thus, one may judge an achievement as an outstanding minor but humdrummajor league accomplishment.This is allowable and fitting because of the featureof mobility in the hierarchical league category. Practitioners within hierarchical leagues may be moved up or down a league depending on performance. Sometimes whole teams may be moved up or down. Note, mobility is grounded in practice skills and abilities which are in principle commonly accessible across leagues. Interleagueevaluation is not available when dealing with categorial leagues. No categorial league may fittingly be cross-compared with any other in part because of the absence of interleague mobility and the presence of hard league boundaries. Consider leagues within boxing established on the basis of weight classes. It is unacceptableto judge that an outstanding welter-weightfighter would be a dead loss in a heavy-weight bout. In some team sports, the distinction between big and peewee leagues cuts a categorialboundaryon the basis of age. So it is with sex-based leagues, leagues for the physically handicapped, or speciesbased leagues such as involve horse racing or rose growing. Any categorial league may be judged as if it were a member of a hierarchicalleague simply by declaring the categorialdifferentiae such as age, weight, or sex to be as incidental as eye color is in baseball. By parity,a range of differentiae judged to be irrelevantfrom a hierarchical league perspectivemay be declaredcategorial league criteria,thus insulatinga league from broaderinterleagueevaluation.Categorialcriteria are often presumed to affect performance (e.g., age, sex, weight, species), butthis is not always so. Categorialleague membershipmay depend upon nationality,say, or religion or marital status. Context-sensitiveappreciationdepends upon recognizing or declaringcertain leagues as cat-
appreciationto be activated.Being disappointed by the Red Deer Civic Orchestra just because it sounds "smalltown"against the Berlin Philharmonic is irrational.The Red Deer Civic Orchestra is small town and sounds exactly as one would expect a small town orchestrato sound. The Red Deer Civic Orchestrais not meantto be heard in league with any great European orchestra. It has no such purposeor ambition. To adjustone's expectations to the context of practice does not require that one abandon all reasonableexpectation and approachthe world with a boundlesslyreceptivespirit.Some nights, the Red Deer group outshines itself. On others, it falls behind the karaoke event at the King Eddy Bar down on the Main. The Red Deer ensemble puts to shame the Swift Current Philharmonia but lags behindthe Moose JawOrchestra. So, one's discriminatingexpectations and standardsare preserved,howevercarefullybounded. The payoff is that, for any league of practice, one's highest appreciative experience fittingly matchesthe intensity of that of any other league of practice. The appreciationdue the very best of little league performanceis no less than that due the very best of the big leagues. The thrillin the hockey finals victory of the Drumheller Rockets over their old foes, the Hanna Mavericks, and the appreciation of their hard-won fight, matches in intensity whateverjoyous approval is otherwise expressed over the success of the National Hockey League EdmontonOilers. Since the height of appreciativeexperience is a response to the very best, since experience and appreciationfunction fittingly only relative to classes of practice, and since in each such league there are going to be participantswhich are best in their class, the height of appreciative experience is available within any such league. If leagues of practicemust not be rankedagainst
one another-ranking being internal to a league
of practice-but are instead equal to one another qua classes in which membersare ranked for performance,then nothing differentiatesthe height of appreciativeexperience appropriate to each league qua that appreciation'sbeing the highest fitting responseto the best of the league. The identical force of appreciativeresponserelative to each league is thus fully appropriate. A great local orchestrais as great in its own local orchestraleague as a great internationalensemble is in its own internationalleague.
Godlovitch EvaluatingNatureAesthetically egorial and not hierarchical. The evaluation arising in the appreciation of league practice must thereby be strictly intraleagueevaluation. Appreciation being properly league-specific, the highest appreciation fittingly goes to the best in its league. In context-sensitive appreciation, the little things of life, the ordinaryand the local, are declared members of categorial leagues. Ranking and thus appreciation become strictly intraleagueaffairs. Thus, an excellent local wine is not also a mediocre instance of the league of world-classvintages.The context-sensitiveview has some appeal.Like the principleof semantic charitywhich encouragesone to make the most sense possible of whateveris said, this view of appreciativevalue tries to maximize the opportunities for the richest forms of appreciationby maximizing the opportunities for experiencing the best there is. At the same time, it does not undulycheapen appreciationand evaluationbecause it maintains relevant intraleaguenormative differentiae which reflect standards of it league-based practice. Furthermore, does not impose upon those who would otherwise face increasing disappointmentin experience the ultimately self-defeating retreat into reclusive connoisseurship. Appreciation remainingpegged to the best of the league, no one need fear relentless and growing failure of expectation. Indeed, this approach constantly opens new avenues for appreciationas the world unfolds in experience. The greaterone's search for experience, the greaterthe prospectsfor encountering and recognizing new leagues, even whole new practices. With that come fresh outlets for appreciation, notably new opportunities to encounterand take pleasurein the value of an everexpanding range of things experience passes one's way. For of what more can appreciation consist than that of the experience of taking pleasurein things whose value is made manifest in experience? We began with the awkwardnessthat comes with preparingto face the drabnessand disappointment of the local fare. The categorial league account shows this to have been misguided. Far from having to endure the limitedness of the local, one can often be assuredthat what is open for appreciationwill bringentirely new appreciativeprospects-so long as one gets the league right. The prime payoff is the expo-
sureto new leagues, even wholly new skilled enterprises. Hence the attraction in tasting local food, hearinglocal music, viewing local art, exploring the local church-the complete ethnic rush, the geographer'sSense of Place. These are all league openers,experienceswhich beckon us to open new appreciativelogbooks. Otherwise, how confined our self-imposed enclave of appreciative experienceseems in the contrast.For just how many times, really, must one listen to Beethoven's late quartets, attend yet another performance of Hamlet, drink yet another matchlessvintage of ChateauLafite, see yet anothertouringdisplayof the Flemish masters,before it all goes merely to ritual?Then, too, there are NiagaraFalls, Lake Louise, Bryce Canyon, the General Sherman tree, Mount Everest, the
Serengeti, Franz Josef Glacier ... but more on
III. PROBLEMS APPRECIATION WITH CONTEXT-SENSITIVE
However appealingly postmodern,not much of this works. Three principalworriesemerge. (a) The first is the demarcationproblem. What individuatesa league? Context-basedappreciation relies on the recognition of relatively discrete leagues. But whatdemarcatesa league?Leagues must be identifiable independently of our acknowledgmentof the best a league has to offer; however,leagues are not even remotelybounded as stubbornlyas typical naturalkinds. They do not come ready-madefor any observerto identify. What guides us in getting the right focus? Why, say, might we think it inappropriateto on judge the Red Deer Civic Orchestra the same termsas we would the Berlin Philharmonic? Orchestras constitute a bona fide league, surely. Perhaps we seek league-shrinking categorial qualifiersto enhance appreciativefairness. Perhaps we choose to confine ourselves to leagues like AmateurOrchestra,or Small TownOrchestra, or Underfunded Orchestra,all these invoking categorialdelimiters. Still, we are not warranted in choosing a qualifier just to give us groundsfor appreciatingthe Red Deer Civic Orchestraas the best of its class. Even if this were not blatantly question-begging,it clearly spells the end of credibility for the notion of league, for nothing stops us from specifying just that delimiter which guarantees that our favorite
The Journalof Aesthetics and Art Criticism These problems are degenerativeratherthan fatal. Adopting a Lakatosian4model, the best approach is one which promises the greatest number of (a) actual appreciativeexperiences, (b) new opportunitiesfor appreciation,and (c) the most rewarding appreciative experiences (the greatestexposure to the most of the best of things). One tries to maximize appreciative rangeoverthe largestnumberof practicesand to maximize intra-enterprise exposure over the greatest number of leagues within a practice. Approaches to appreciation which maximize receptivity toward practices and leagues are maximally Lakatos-progressive.The differential yield of appreciativeexperience forms the basis for choosing an appreciativestance. This might make it more rationalto expose oneself to a broadrange of top "minor"league experiences than a narrowerrange of "major" league experiences. But such a strategyshows strainsince the choice of maximization favors the recognition of ever-increasing numbers of practices and leagues within each. Taken to its extreme, the strategy degeneratesinto one where no experience fails to yield top-of-the-league satisfaction since each experienceis one-of-a-kind and thus uniquely best in its league. Though a species of extreme aestheticism, opting to appreciateevery experienced item as the best that experience can afford (in its own class), it is not self-defeating. Still, the degeneration results from the merely self-perpetuating activity of acknowledgingever-new opportunities for more experiences of the top-of-theleague. Efforts to maximize appreciative experience drive the recognition of increasing numbers of leagues which make possible the maximization of appreciative experience and opportunitiesfor furtherappreciation.But this has a stronglyinflationaryeffect. The more you aim to experiencethe most of the best, the more you partitionexperienceinto the most practices and leagues possible. But thereis no upperlimit on partition,so experienceis partitionedin such a way as to make every instance an experience of the best. Thus you abandonall ordinalranking. Everything is the best by default. But this final leveling has the effect of making everything ordinary.The best and the ordinarycoincide, and consequentlythe goal of full appreciation, which depends upon ordinal ranking, degenerates. To recognize a categorial league
small thing in life is also the very best of its class. This happenswhen statusrides on favored statistics. This township is the biggest producer of sugar beets in southwestern Alberta, while that southwesternAlbertacommunityboasts the record for triticale wheat. This coffeeshop serves the finest cinnamon buns in the "world" (i.e., the world of accessible prairie coffeeshops), while that one takes the cake on saskatoonberrypie. Anything whatevercan be made to set some record or other. Of course, it cuts many ways. The record winner in one league can just as easily come last in another league. This predictably comes with evaluative gerrymanderingwhich would not be possible but for our insistence that we work within boundaries, that we set our sights no furtherthan the designated league. League solipsism soon makes an appearance. For no one can dictate the minimum membershipin a league. Discounting the null league, leagues may ultimatelybe delimited as singleton leagues, thus giving conclusive proof to the view that anything whatsoevercan be the very best of its kind since everything whatsoevercan be one of a kind, and is so due the most exclusive and equal appreciative regard. (b) A second problem involves an embarrassmentof appreciativeriches. How muchmust we appreciate? If, by extending hierarchical leagues unduly,the snob appreciatesfar too little (since so much winds up near the bottom), the countervailing maximization of categorial leagues leads to appreciationrunriot.3Does one aim to divide practices into as many categorial leagues as will maximize appreciationby creating a plethoraof practices which maximize the numberof exceptional instances? If so, there is too much to appreciate.We create for ourselves the best of all possible worlds. Efforts to retain appreciativestandardsgive way. Evaluationbecomes trivial. (c) Preying upon the excesses of (a) and (b), we get the problem of appreciative reliability.Any item can be made the best in its own categorial league. Any item can be made the worst in some other categorial league. If thereare no objectively privilegedleagues, there is nothing outside the very will to appreciateitself which ultimatelydetermineswhethersomething will be positively appreciated.This makes appreciation a kind of choice, an attitude one willfully adopts,ratherthan a fitting responseto certain admirableand rankablequalities.
Godlovitch EvaluatingNatureAesthetically for each thing reducesthe value in experienceby forcing upon one an imperativeto maximize appreciation opportunities and thus ensure that nothing is excluded from being the best of its kind.
IV. NONJUDGMENTAL APPRECIATING APPRECIATION:
THINGS JUST AS THEY ARE
Appreciationof culturalthings, like preference, calls forth differences in evaluation. We unavoidably have our preferences and we are inveterate graders. On this grading rest our differential and differentiating judgments. The grading process is scalar. The scale runs from the positive end past a zero indifference point and down througha negative end. The apparatus of hierarchicalleagues is one frameworkin which this grading operates.To argue that each thing is the best of its kind-whether watercolor or waterfall-is a dead end, however noble. To save little waterfalls from otherwise welldeserved dismissal, we may need to establish a domain of nonjudgmentalor nonevaluativeappreciation that is not simple indifference, and that justifies us in appreciatingeverything on equal terms without committing ourselves to saying that everything is equally extraordinary. Whereas art appreciationmust be judgmental, nature appreciationmust not be, so the theme runs. Unfortunately, this effort fails, but is worth a brief review. If appreciationis principally a form of positive judgment,we seem committed to making comparisons, and with comparisons we allow for the possibility of differentialjudgment. We may discoverthat,in comparison,the objects we judge are evaluatively indistinguishable. All may be judged equally and indistinguishably good. However, ignoring the extreme unlikeliness of this outcome, any such result will be contingentand so unstable.At any stage we may weight things differentially either because we discovernew and relevantdifferencesin our experience or simply because we shift the evaluative weightings we already have with the result that rankingemerges. Our penchantfor leaguemaking may just be too powerful to resist. So, the first injunctionis: Do not judge. The second injunction is: Do not assimilate naturalthings to art. A powerful reason against treatingthe things of natureas if they were like
artworksis precisely thatwe do not want to have to rank the things of nature as we cannot but rank objects of art-as indeed it is our obligation to do.5 Nonjudgmentalappreciationmust be positive without invoking any sort of appreciativescale. For, otherwise, one might just as well adopt a universal deprecationsince there may be nothing to choose between them. We need a form of nonjudgmental appreciationoutsideleagues and ranking.Otherwise, we will grade the things of natureas we rightlydo the things of culture.The characterizationof such a positive aesthetic as the view that "the natural world is essentially aesthetically good" or that "natureis beautiful and has no negative aesthetic qualities"6does not distinguish between weak and strong variants. Strongpositive aesthetics is the view that the things of the naturalworld are equal or identical or incommensurable in their aesthetic goodness. The Weak view merely says that everything in nature has positive aesthetic worth on balance. A weaker view still is that everything in nature has some aesthetic good. This last view is compatible with some, even most, items being on balance aesthetically neutral or even bad. As such, this weakest view is not a literal variantof positive aesthetics in that it denies the essential aesthetic goodness of all things natural-where "essential"means both ineliminably and on-balance good. The Strong view resemblesthe extreme of context-sensitive appreciation and shares its vulnerability.The Weakview, as presented,is compatiblewith differential ranking since it does not exclude unequal aesthetic value and thus allows for "deIn grees of beauty."7 adopting the Strong view, one endorses a third injunction: Declare some noncomparativegood to reside in all natural things. What form, then, might a positive nonjudgmental appreciationassume? Suppose it is primarilya form of positive affective response and receptivity.8But psychologizing the notion by understanding it in terms of being always struck, pleased, awed, amazed, fascinated, or impressed by everything filling our experience will not help. If we are selectively struck,we are back to ranking, however inadvertently.Quasijudgmental comparisons resurface in the distinction between those things that strike us, those that fail to attract our notice, and those
The Journalof Aesthetics and Art Criticism preciate nonjudgmentallyis to take and accept things exactly as they are and for what they are. Just as our full affection for others is not calculatedly proportionalto the degrees of presence of certain qualities, so perhapsour appreciation of naturalthings should not be pegged to any specific comparisonsat all. But what more does this come to than our appreciatingeach thing precisely as being in an exclusive league all of its own, each thing becoming by default top of its own categorial league, no two leagues being subject to higher-levelrankings?Howeverevaluatively degenerate, this approach is scarcely nonevaluative and nonjudgmentaldespite appearing nonjudgmental in that it defeats the point of comparisonand ranking.11 Could appreciating each thing exactly for what it is invoke the significance of uniqueness? By affirming the special goodness we attach to uniqueness we can insulate one appreciation from another.By declaringthe absolutenessand ubiquity of uniqueness and by claiming that to appreciateany thing is to appreciateits uniqueness, we ensurethat no thing can have any more or any less appreciative value than any other thing since each thing is utterly and equally
that repel us. Psychologically, it is difficult to imagine whatit would be like to be so struckand with equal force by absolutelyeverything in experience. It just does not happen. Certainly, those to whom it fails to happenare scarcely deficient. The world is orderedin ongoing experience into foregroundand background.We cannot take in all the details for simple survival's sake, let alone rejoice in them all.9 We are no better off by appealing to the most selfless of other-regardingresponses of maximal empathywith or care for others.'10 However true it is that we do not judge comparatively those to whom we are fully dedicatedin love, affection, and concern, the fact is that we are not so dedicatedto all beings, nor could we be. The power to love all things equally, unconditionally, and equally strongly is reservedfor divinities. For the rest of us, our love will be local and highly circumscribed.But if I cannot love all things equally and unconditionally,I give notice, in my selective dispensation of affection, that not all things are equally important and valuable to me. Where affection is concerned, the very psychological and biological limits of our powers of attachmentbetoken rankingsand priorities.I can try to be boundlessly loving and caring,benignly indiscriminatein my affection, but in this I am sureto fail. Lapses and gaps will hauntme at each turn.ShouldI blame myself for such lapses and gaps as if I were sinfully deficient? I think not. If deficiency this is, it is both universaland helpless. Should I think those less deficient than me in this extension of affection somehow to be emulated? Perhaps so, for it is likely true that those with a greatercapacity for love and affection, eitherin intensity or breadth, live happier and richer lives than those with weaker capacity. But none of this implies that the proper end of this exercise in affective expansion is or ought to be fully universal any more than the proper end of emulating those who can play fast scale passages on the guitar is to play either infinitely fast or even faster than anyone else. All this aside, if I should nevertheless emulate those with greatercapacities than I possess, this presupposesthe proprietyof comparativejudgment, and it is that we have been trying all along to shed. If appreciation figures at all in concern for others, it cannot but be implicitly judgmental and comparative.One lesson here is that to ap-
Are we wise to emphasize the uniquenessof all things? Besides the fact that uniqueness alone is not good grounds for being favorably disposed toward something, and that natural things are no more unique than any thumbtack, there is something ineliminably trivial about uniqueness. Just as any thing differs from any other thing in an indefinite numberof respects, so any two things are alike in an indefinitely large number of respects.'2 Every thing is indeed unique; but so is it equally common. If sameness runs as riot as difference, it is difficult to reserve a special place for anything. Nor will it do to conceive uniquenessin ecological terms. There is great uncertaintyabout just how valuablethings are ecologically, and no ecologist claims that everything in natureis of equal, inestimable, irreplaceable, and fundamental ecological significance. One prominent view has it that ecosystems have their "little players and big players."'3Does this sound uncomfortably like talk about major and minor leagues or major and minor officials? One might indict ecologists on a charge of ideological hierarchism,but such on its own can come
Godlovitch EvaluatingNatureAesthetically only from a presumptuousstance of "less ideological than thou."'4I would guess that they are trying merely to be fair to the availablefacts and would happily shift with the evidence as it arrives. Whatevertheir faults, ecologists cannotbe accused of concealing or downplayingthe great gaps and uncertaintiesin their science.
V. ACCEPTING COMPARATIVE AESTHETIC VALUES OF NATURE
sketches of a few themes and pragmaticopportunities which arise from these questions.
VI. A METRIC FOR NATURAL
The results so far have been discouraging. No account of appreciationof natureconvincingly does away with the differentialevaluativejudgment and grading so familiar and fitting in our appreciationof culturalthings. But if natureappreciation is at bottomjust like cultureappreciation, we have to accept the consequences. Just as there are rotten violinists, so there must be pathetic creeks; just as there is pulp fiction, so there must be junk species; just as there are forgettable meals, so theremust be inconsequential forests. Despite substantialcriticism of the aestheticist "areaof outstandingnaturalbeauty"apthose attractedto such principlesmay proach,15 have been on the righttrackall along, at least as far as differentialrankinggoes. David Ehrenfeld asks rhetorically:"Manycritics would say that El Greco was a greater painter than Norman Rockwell, but is the Serengeti savanna artistically [i.e., aesthetically] more valuablethan the But the answer New Jersey Pine Barrens?"16 may be reasonablysimple if one gets the hierarchical league right.Nothing paradoxicalstumps the mind about the thought that this savannaor that waterfall is not quite as magnificent as that one. No one questions whethersome things in nature have aesthetic value. There remain, however, two tough questions about the natureand significance of this value. The first is: How much aesthetic value do naturalthings have, or, more weakly, where does one thing stand aesthetically in comparisonwith another?The second is: Where does (or should) naturalaesthetic value rank amongst other and often competing values attributedto nature?The questions are linked in the context of nature conservation. Those for whom nature has aesthetic value would care to protect or conserve this source of value.17What role can aesthetic value play in real-world conservation decisions? Here are
Why shouldwe care whetherlittle waterfallsget a low aesthetic score? Why not think of little waterfalls as you would the many scarcely noticeable species and habitatswhich form partof our experience of nature'swhite noise, outdoor wallpaper,fresh air Muzak?Against these possibilities, scientists, planners, and politicians are determining how to choose what gets into the new ark. Much will be left out. Why? There is great interest in the "assessmentand evaluation of species and communities [because] it would be impracticalto protectand conserve all species and all communities with an equal There is simamountof supportand endeavour. ply not enough money and scientific expertise to do this."'l8 This is our world. In determiningconservationpriorities,extensive consideration of the values of nature has Generally,these values are been undertaken.19 divided into resource and nonresource categories. This reflects not only economic and noneconomicvalue, but often expresses the difference between easily quantifiableand not so easily quantifiable (or unquantifiable)values. So, for example, so-called recreationalvalue of a site may be classified as a resource value because one can calculate how much money will be spent to use and maintainit by recreationists, and also as a nonresourcevalue of a purely aesthetic naturefor which no simple monetaryconversion is available (ignoring willingness-toThe overallvalue of a site pay transformations). is determinedby taking into account a range of resourceand nonresourcevalues including ecoecological, aesthetic, sciennomic, recreational, tific, religious, and other dimensions of value. Conservationpriorityattaches to sites with the highest overall value. Much effort in conservationbiology goes toward establishing criteriato allow quantifiably justifiable choice of sites to conserve. Repeatability is essential. Once a scale of value and a method of measurement are established, then any two parties weighing the value of an area should come to the same conclusion. If they do not, that can be blamed on an errorin measure-
The Journalof Aesthetics and Art Criticism
VII. THE VALUE OF AESTHETIC VALUE
ment, thus reducing differences to procedural and not normativematters.Naturally,big questions concern the choice of criteria,the quantitative weightings, the formulae, the accuracyof measurement,and so on, but these are not taken to be intractable.20 Anyone wanting nonresource values to be countedinto the total is advisedto producesome sort of comparativemeasureto parallelwhatthe resource sphere provides. Otherwise, the tendency will be for resource criteriato predominate. Relying on an economic correlate to aesthetic value in the recreationalsphere may not be sufficient if aesthetic value is to achieve full prominence. The actual economic benefit may not be very great; it may vary as tastes change or as substitutes become available; and it is often swayed by a preference for so-called iconic landscapesand species, e.g., areasof outstanding naturalbeauty or habitatfor large and beloved endangered species. Refusal to acknowledge the possibility of a scale2' may be to run away from the practicalimplications of not having one. Decisions will be made favoring some sites over others simply because there is not enough supportto save them all. Better that some determinable input be available in the nonresourceaesthetic sphereratherthan none. If there are no palpable aesthetic criteriafor nature conservation, the aesthetic dimension will not have much influence on systematicconservation choices.22 Further,unless defensible aesthetic rankingsare available,aesthetic criteria will fail to interestconservationpolicy makers. So, if aesthetic value has any seriousrole in natureconservationdecisions by policy makers, it must be conceived in scalar terms with determinable degrees.23Further,to avoid the charge that such judgments are subjectively variable, aesthetic value must be presented as intersubjectively measurable.Aesthetic value must thus
be representable on a public metric24 ordinal or
cardinal.Only if naturalaesthetic value is measurable will it stand a chance of influencing conservation priorities.25Otherwise it will be swept aside as just anothervague externalityor subjective attachment. In accepting any such metric, one must abandonany but the most marginal positive aesthetics, viz., the view thatthere is some aesthetic good in any naturalthing.26 That alone tips no balance one way or another.
Suppose aesthetic value makes it onto the conservationagenda. What weight does it have? Of what value is aesthetic value? What difference can aesthetic value make? Counted into the reckoningare families of values, e.g., economic (utilitarian,monetary,resource) value, ecological value, scientific value, ludic values of play and curiosity,moralvalue, religious and cultural value, heritagevalue, aesthetic value, existence value, even the ecocentrist's morally intrinsic value. If each family is taken to be immeasurably categorical or intrinsic or incommensurable,conflicts and intractableincompatibilities will arise.However,if each is takento contribute but one dimensionof an overallvalue, no apparent conflict arises. But this calls for a further second-order value; viz., that which differentially ranksthese families of value by assigning weights to them. If, say, a thing's aesthetic value is the value someone places in the aesthetic experienceof it, and its economic value is the value someone places in its exchange potential, a second-order rankingvalue would take these values as its objects, e.g., the value placed (by someone) in having (first-order)things of value respected (by others), or, the value respected (placed or acknowledged) in the value placed upon firstorder things. Generally,the second-ordervalue is thatvalue acknowledged(respected,counted) in the value placed (by others) upon things or whateveris valuableto some thing. A thing may thus be valuedby or valuableto some nonhuman and even some nonsentientbeing. This involves something other than maximizing preference satisfaction because to place a priority upon preference satisfaction presupposes that something is valuableonly if it satisfies some preference. Not all valuablethings are such necessarily because of some preference-satisfyingstate. To determine such a second-order value is precisely to determine not why but how much aesthetic value shouldaffect the conservationof a site. Once that is established, one must determine how much aestheticvalue a site has. There is no reason why rankingthe value of aesthetic value needs to be a fixed weighting. But if this too is variable,yet anotherprincipleis required to rank the degrees of value ranking for any given case. Why go throughwith this? Because,
Godlovitch EvaluatingNatureAesthetically however low on the meta-scale which assigns differentialvalues to primaryvalues (including economic, recreational,and ecological values), as a measurablefactor,high aesthetic value may sometimes tip the balance in certain decisions, especially when all other values are equal. Throughout, a voice keeps saying "This is utter madness!" Besides resting on injudicably differing intuitions about which values get the largest say, some argue that once one buys into this method of decision-making,one is increasingly less able to extricate oneself from it. As Ehrenfeldwisely counsels: a or Theneedto conserve particular community speof cies mustbejudged independently theneedto conresources forceus to serveanything Limited else. may makechoicesagainstourwills, butranking systems the and encourage rationalize makingof choices.... [T]he more formaland generalized sys[ranking tems] become,the more damagethey are likely to
cause.27 STAN GODLOVITCH
Departmentof Humanand Leisure Sciences Lincoln University P.O.Box 84 Canterbury New Zealand
For this is no stopgap measure awaiting a solution that will ultimately make measurementredundant.It becomes a standingmodus operandi precisely because there is no better substitute decision procedure,and throwsthe entirematter forever into the hands of those who have no stake in the worth of intrinsic or inestimable value. The modus operandi becomes, if not overtly economic, then certainly neo-economic. Worse than playing God, the environmental planner plays Accountant. Worse still, the account books have columns for all of it-Money, Knowledge, Beauty-and the sums flow without faltering. In response, Ehrenfeldmakes a plea for what he calls "the Noah Principle,"named after the greatest conservationplanner ever. But he concedes that, as with the Big Flood, only a catastrophe will have any substantive effect upon our present orientation.In the meanwhile, aestheticians of naturehad best get out the rulers and scopes, had best scrape down to the hard physical bedrock of naturalappeal. And more, they had best seek out any powerful and important people left who think that even little waterfalls have some lasting charm.28
1. For a detailed sympatheticexposition of positive aesthetics, see Alien Carlson,"Natureand Positive Aesthetics," EnvironmentalEthics 6 (1984): 5-34. Also, see Eugene Hargrove, Foundations of Environmental Ethics (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1989). Notwithstandinghis conception of natureas both "an assortmentof resourcesto be managed and consumed"but also "as an object of aesthetic appreciationand moral respect,"Mark Sagoff, in his aesthetics and morality of "loving care" for nature,accepts that"we cannotavoid interventionsinto nature.Even wilderness areas must be managed;we 'play God in Yellowstone' as well as everywhereelse." See Mark Sagoff, "HasNature a Good of its Own?"in EcosystemHealth:New Goalsfor Environmental eds. R. Constanza, B. G. Norton, Management, and B. D. Haskell (Washington, DC: Island Press, 1992), pp. 57-71. 2. See Stan Godlovitch, "AestheticProtectionism,"Journal of AppliedPhilosophy6 (1989); "Ice Breakers,"Journal of Applied Philosophy 11 (1994); and "Carlsonon Appreciation," The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 55 (1997). Also, "Positive Aesthetics and ConservationPriorities" (unpublished). 3. See Godlovitch, "Boors and Bumpkins, Snobs and Snoots," The Journal of Aesthetic Education 24 (1990): 65-74. 4. See Imre Lakatos,"Falsificationand the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes"in Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge,eds. I. Lakatos and A. Musgrave CambridgeUniversityPress, 1970). (Cambridge: 5. Among those who tend to associate value in naturewith value in art are RobertElliot, "FakingNature," Inquiry 25 (1982); Elliott Sober, "PhilosophicalProblems for Environmentalism," The Preservationof Species, ed. in B. Norton (Princeton University Press, 1986); Lilly-Marlene Russow, "Do Species Matter?"Environmental Ethics 3 (1981); and Donald Crawford, "ComparingNatural and Artistic Beauty,"in Landscape,NaturalBeautyand the Arts, eds. Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (New York:Cambridge University Press, 1993). Among those resisting this assimilation are Allen Carlson, "Appreciation the NaturalEnand vironment,"The Journalof Aestheticsand Art Criticism37 (1979) and "Nature,Aesthetic Judgmentand Objectivity," The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 40 (1981); J. Baird Callicott, "The Land Aesthetic" in Companionto a Sand County Almanac (University of Wisconsin Press, 1987); and Stan Godlovitch, "Ice Breakers."Among those who suspect uneasily thatnaturemay acquireaesthetic value only because aesthetic value is placed in art are David Ehrenfeld,TheArroganceof Humanism(New York:Oxford University Press, 1981) (especially "The Conservation
Dilemma,"pp. 204-207) and lan F. Spellerberg,Evaluation and Assessment for Conservation (London: Chapman & Hall, 1992). One view that assimilates artworksto Kantian persons would requireus by parityto think each such work to be of inestimable value, a strikingly peculiar view. See Alan Tormey,"AestheticRights,"The Journalof Aesthetics and Art Criticism32 (1973): 163-170. 6. The first from Carlson, "Natureand Positive Aesthetics," p. 28; the second from Hargrove,p. 177. 7. Hargrove,p. 179. Hargrove adds that "more beautiful objects ought to be given priorityfor preservationover less beautifulones." Hargrovedoes not develop the notion of degrees of beauty and appearsto introduce it merely in order to avoid the potent charge that equal aesthetic merit in all things leaves aesthetics out of conservationprioritysetting. The view he expresses about prioritymust be taken with a heavy dose of ceteris paribus. An aesthetically indifferent wetland may be ecologically vital. Of course, if being ecologically crucial is itself takento be an aesthetic quality,then Hargrove'sview becomes trivially self-fulfilling. But once one absorbs purely ecological characteristicsinto the aesthetic sphere, one might just as well pull in economic, religious, cultural, recreational, scientific, and other features into the aesthetic fold with predictablyincreasingemptiness of the aesthetic dimension following suit. 8. Noel Carrollhas elaboratedsuch a view in "On Being in Movedby Nature:Between Religion and NaturalHistory," Landscape,NaturalBeautyand the Arts,eds. S. Kemal and I. on Gaskell, pp. 244-266. See also Godlovitch,"Carlson Apapproaches preciation."Allen Carlsonrejectsaffect-centered in "Nature,Aesthetic Appreciation, and Knowledge," The Journalof Aestheticsand Art Criticism53 (1995): 393-399, and also in "Appreciating Godlovitch,"The Journalof Aestheticsand Art Criticism55 (1997): 55-57. 9. See Jorge Luis Borges's precautionarytale "Funesthe Memorious." 10. Mark Sagoff ("Has Nature a Good of its Own?")develops an aesthetics of loving care for nature.See also his "Zuckerman's Dilemma: A Plea for Environmental Ethics," Hastings Center Report 21 (1991): 32-40. For a critiqueof Sagoff's affect-laden approach, see Stan Godlovitch, "Ice Breakers."However true it may be that "all you need is love," someone is bound to ask: "How much?" 11. Such a view is latent in the advocacy of "existence value" in David Ehrenfeld, The Arrogance of Humanism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), pp. 207-211; Beginning Again (New York:Oxford University Press, 1993), pp. 114-123; and "WhyPut a Valueon Biodiversity,"in Biodiversity(Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1988). 12. See Nelson Goodman, "Seven Strictureson Similarity," in Problems and Projects (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1975), pp. 437-446. 13. Rejecting the extremes of species interdependence and the randomnessof species diversity,E. 0. Wilson states: "Whether a particular species occurs in a given suitable habitatis largely due to chance, but for most organisms the chance is strongly affected by the identity of the species already present. In such loosely organizedcommunities there are little players and big players." The Diversity of Life (HarvardUniversity Press, 1993), p. 164. Similarly, Kunin and Lawton, in considering the effects on ecosystem functions of biological diversity,challenge on observationaland
The Journalof Aesthetics and Art Criticism
experimentalgroundsthe hypothesis that all species make a contributionto ecosystem processes. "Ingeneral,we suspect that species-loss will generally produce either no, or idiosyncratic, changes in ecosystem function." See William E. Kunin and JohnLawton,"Does BiodiversityMatter?EvaluA ating the Case for ConservingSpecies" in Biodiversity: Biology of NumbersandDifference,ed. Kevin Gaston(Oxford: Blackwell Science, 1996), p. 297. More of a wait-and-see line on functional redundancy(also called "functionalsimilarity")is urged in Scott Collins and Tracy Benning, "Spatial and TemporalPatternsin FunctionalDiversity,"in GasA ton, ed., Biodiversity: Biology of Numbersand Difference, pp. 253-280. 14. The interplay between ecological theory and sociopolitical ideology is intriguinglytraced in Donald Worster, Nature'sEconomy,2nd ed. (New York:CambridgeUniversity Press, 1994). and 15. See Alien Carlson, "Appreciation the NaturalEnvironment,"and J. Baird Callicott, "The Land Aesthetic." Currentsite conservationcriteriatend towardecological and not human-centeredaesthetic criteria;e.g., representativeness, species richness, endemism, rarity,vulnerability,and the like. A comprehensive survey is to be found in Ian F. for Spellerberg,Evaluationand Assessment Conservation. 16. David Ehrenfeld,TheArroganceof Humanism,p. 206. 17. See Godlovitch, "AestheticProtectionism." 18. Ian F. Spellerberg, Evaluation and Assessmentfor Conservation,p. xiii. 19. See Ian Spellerbergand David Ehrenfeld. Also, Ian Spellerberg,Biological Evaluationfor Conservation(London: Edward Arnold, 1981); William E. Kunin and John Lawton,"Does BiodiversityMatter?Evaluatingthe Case for Conserving Species," and R. I. Vane-Wright,"Identifying Prioritiesfor the Conservationof Biodiversity: Systematic within a Socio-PoliticalFramework," both BiologicalCriteria A in Gaston, ed., Biodiversity: Biology of Numbersand Difference. A fine general introductionto methods and problems in conservationis to be found in Ian F. Spellerberg,ed., ConservationBiology (London: Longman, 1996). More detailed studies include Ecological Knowledge and EnvironConceptsand Case Studies(WashmentalProblem-Solving: ington, DC: NationalAcademyPress, 1986); R. J.Berry,ed., EnvironmentalDilemmas: Ethics and Decisions (London: and Chapman& Hall, 1993); K. S. Shrader-Frechette E. D. (New for McCoy,Methodin Ecology:Strategies Conservation UniversityPress, 1993). Philosophers,too, York:Cambridge voluminouslyto the discussion. See, for exhave contributed ample, Bryan G. Norton, Why Preserve Natural Variety? (PrincetonUniversityPress, 1987); MarkSagoff, The Economy of the Earth (New York:CambridgeUniversity Press, 1988); Andrew Brennan, ThinkingAbout Nature (London: of Foundations EnvironRoutledge,1988);EugeneHargrove, mental Ethics; Holmes Rolston, Conserving Natural Value (New York:ColumbiaUniversityPress, 1994); The Monist Issue on the IntrinsicValueof Nature75 (1992); and others. 20. See, for example, Spellerberg'scareful analysis and critique of D. R. Helliwell's numericalranking system for and Valuesin Nawoodlands (in D. R. Helliwell, "Priorities Management ture Conservation,"Journalof Environmental 1 : 85-127) in Ian F. Spellerberg,Evaluationand Assessmentfor Conservation,pp. 70-75. 21. David Ehrenfeld has consistently urged against the adoption of such scales. See note 11 above.
22. The need for such practicalcriteriahas been furthered in the name of "appliedenvironmentalaesthetics."See Yrjo? Sep?anmaa, "AppliedAesthetics," in Art and Beyond: Finnish Approaches to Aesthetics, eds. Ossi Naukkarinenand Instituteof AppliedAesthetics, Olli Immonen(International 1995), pp. 226-248. Also Yrjo? Sepanmaa, The Beauty of A Environment: General Model/forEnvironmentalAesthetEthics Books, 1993). There ics (Denton, TX: Environmental in areotherways of exertinginfluencefor aestheticpreference the form of applyinggrass-rootssocial and politicalpressure. When these fail or are subverted,however,there is little opportunityfor appeal. 23. Philip Kitcherjustifies what he admits is an idealization of scientific cognizers (i.e., scientists) as follows: "Scientists can be idealized as Bayesian decision makers.... The precision of Bayesianism may be artificial, but when we need precision we have nothing that is preferableto toleratof Philip Kitcher,TheAdvancement Science ing artificiality." (New York:Oxford UniversityPress, 1993), p. 294. By parity, where we need precision in aesthetic evaluation(a pragmatic case for which can be made) we are, by methodological elimination, obliged to tolerate the artificiality of the view thatnaturalaesthetic featuresare precisely rankable. 24. For an interesting discussion of the possibility of an Evaluationsof art metric, see Bruce Vermazen,"Comparing Worksof Art," The Journalof Aesthetics and Art Criticism 34 (1975): 7-14. See also Godlovitch, "AestheticJudgment and Hindsight,"The Journalof Aestheticsand Art Criticism 46 (1987): 75-83. (versus"holis25. The use of quantitativeor "parametric" tic") assessment of naturalaesthetic featuresis nothing new to landscapearchitectureand planning.For example, see the helpful overview of methods, scoring techniques, and problems in J. G. Fabos and A. McGregor,Assessment of Visual/Aesthetic Landscape Qualities (University of MelbourneCentrefor EnvironmentalStudies, 1979). This is not to say that any such metric is convincing. Allen Carlson, "On the Possibility of Quantifying Scenic Beauty,"Landscape Planning 4 (1977): 131-172, persuasively challenges efforts to establish quantitativelymeasurableaestheticcriteria for natureon the basis of formal or publicly preferred properties. (See also Allen Carlson, "On the Possibility of Quantifying Scenic Beauty-A Response to Ribe," Land-
scape Planning 11 : 49-65.) That some techniques misfire, however,does not entail that all must. Further,the claim that objectivity can be securedwithout quantification is not pertinentin cases where, withoutquantification,aesthetic judgments will simply not be factored into conservation decisions. The case presentedabove is based on the expectation that some metric approachcan be established, and the pragmaticnecessity that something be in place to represent the aesthetic dimension in conservationplanning. Further, aesthetic considerationsmust be seen to complement and not merely to duplicate or absorb ecological criteria. That the two dimensionsare distinct is certainly assumed in various discussions of value undertakenby ecologists. See Ehrenfeld,Spellerberg,Kunin and Lawton, and others. 26. There is something contentless and unhelpful in appeals to the beauty of nature simpliciter in discussions of conservation. Such a flaw is present in Roger Paden, "Two Types of Preservation Policies," in The Environmental Ethics and Policy Book, eds. D. VanDeVeerand C. Pierce (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth,1994), pp. 523-529. My appeal to the mysterious in nature (Stan Godlovitch, "Ice Breakers")is equallycontentless and unhelpful.The same goes for appeals to affection, closeness, reverence, love, care, awe, engagement, respect, nurture,and the like, all of which in fact apply variablyin the world and not categorically.These are all multi-valuedand not Yes/No binary dimensions and in so invite representation a scalar scheme of measurement. The same holds for integrity, complexity, health, stability, biodiversity, and other ecological desiderata. To create a basis for reasonedchoice about ecosystems, ecologists and others consistently call for making these notions operational, i.e., determinableby public measurement. See, for example, the interestingdiscussion of biodiversityas a "concept," as a "measurableentity" and as a "social/political construct"in Kevin Gaston,"Whatis Biodiversity?"in GasA ton, ed., Biodiversity: Biology of Numbersand Difference, "PracticalEcology pp. 1-9. Also, KristinShrader-Frechette, Ethics,"The Journalof and Foundationsfor Environmental Philosophy92 (1995): 621-635. 27. Ehrenfeld,The Arroganceof Humanism,p. 204. 28. My thanks to Arnold Berleant and Allen Carlson for their many helpful editorial comments. And, of course, to Tom and Karenfor anothergreat day in the woods.