How can each of us develop an aesthetic appreciation of nature as our home and not a resource to be exploited? Chen Wangheng answers that environmental beauty provides a sense of home through a unity of subject and object that belongs to the private character of the natural environment. But how is the display of the natural environment private? To uphold Chen’s remarks, I inspect the model of shanshui (山水 mountain-water) painting, as Chen suggests. I find that the private character of the natural environment and the related element zhi (質substance) in shanshui painting cannot be described in the object-oriented languages of pragmatism and analytic philosophy. To translate zhi, I use Merleau-Ponty’s term ‘le visible’ (the visible). As a result, Chen’s analysis of natural beauty and the unity of the human and nature in shanshui painting can be communicated. I show how shanshui paintings by Jizi express the unification of the individual person with nature. Chen revolutionizes environmental aesthetics with an alternative paradigm for human contact with nature.

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Aesthetics Commons



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