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Landscapes Devoid of Meaning? A Reply to Note

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Even though artists and philosophers sometimes succeed in finding words for the meaning that places can have for us, we can never fully identify the meaning that places have for us. Nicole Note is right in arguing (using the work of Arnold Burms) that the ineffable plays a key role in the meaningful relations we have with the world, and that the experience of meaning can only emerge if there is a real risk that it fails to appear. Therefore, meaning cannot be 'produced'. I have argued, however, that we can be confronted with a far more radical loss of meaning when most at first meaningful interpretations of place appear to be consciously produced by marketeers and lobbyists. Yet, even this very feeling of estrangement can lead us to a sensitivity for the otherness of nature as a transcendental source of meaning.
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Keywords: Arnold Burms; estrangement; hermeneutics; landscape; meaning

Document Type: Discussion

Publication date: 2013-02-01

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2016) of 1.279.
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