James M Dow

December 21, 2017
by dow@hendrix.edu
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Observation or Participation? Disinterestedness or Engagement?

You’re sitting on a fallen ponderosa tree that lays across a mountain creek. You look into the contrast of the reflectivity of the water against the coarseness of the bark of the tree. The rippling of the water over the rocks is shadowed by the tree below but also allows a resonance to bounce with the flowing sound. You smell the sap being extruded under the press of the late day sunlight. There is a difference between observing the orange-red bark covering grottoes of black through the category or concept of Pinus Ponderosa and participating in picking and peeling or debarking the trees harsh covering. Is there a difference between a disinterested appreciation of the textures of the bark and an engaged appreciation of the niches and recesses of the ponderosa covering? Continue reading

July 18, 2017
by dow@hendrix.edu
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Navigating Between the Scylla of Non-Aesthetics and the Charybdis of Freedom

Do responses to natural environments not count as aesthetic judgments because nature is not made by an artist? Are aesthetic judgments of natural environments free and unconstrained because aesthetic judgments of nature are relative to perceivers?  In this post, I discuss Elliott’s non-aesthetic view and Budd’s freedom view I articulate the debates between such views and Carlson’s scientific cognitivism about nature appreciation and focus on the impasses that require more discussion of philosophy of mind and action theory. Continue reading