Arnold Berleant’s oeuvre spanning five decades is devoted to restoring aesthetics’ connection to the rest of our lives. In this paper, I shall join him by highlighting the crucial role aesthetics plays in shaping our lives and the world by interacting with objects, environments, and people. I show how our seemingly innocuous and trivial aesthetic tastes and preferences regarding everyday objects and activities have a surprisingly significant power to determine our attitudes, judgments, and actions, often with serious political, environmental, and moral implications. In light of this power of the aesthetic to affect the quality of life and the state of the world, I argue that all of us are responsible for cultivating aesthetic literacy, becoming vigilant about the ramifications of our aesthetic life, and directing our aesthetic life toward better world-making.

Included in

Aesthetics Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.