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Aesthetic and Historical Values - Their Difference and Why It Matters

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Aesthetic and historical values are commonly distinguished from each other. Yet there has not been sustained discussion of what, precisely, differs between them. In fact, recent scholarship has focused on various ways in which the two are related. I argue, though, that historical value can differ in an interesting way from aesthetic value and that this difference may have significant implications for environmental preservation. In valuing something for its historical significance, it need not always be the case that there is a reason to want people to experience the entity. Valuing something for its aesthetic merit, by contrast, does imply a reason to want people to experience the entity. I suggest that in virtue of this difference, some historical values may offer better justification for preserving natural environments than do aesthetic considerations.
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Keywords: Aesthetic value; historical value; nature; normative reason; preservation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2020

This article was made available online on December 7, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Aesthetic and Historical Values – Their Difference and Why It Matters".

More about this publication?
  • 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 (2019) of 2.158. 5 Year Impact Factor: 2.047.
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