Landscape painting has played a significant role in shaping practices of nature appreciation in Western and Chinese cultures. Both cultures have also seen the recent emergence of philosophical views of nature appreciation that stress the importance of ecological understanding. However, these philosophical views differ in their response to the influence of the landscape painting tradition: whereas Western approaches have largely been critical, Chinese ecoaestheticians have embraced it. In this paper, we explore this difference and argue that it is not explained by differences between Western and Chinese art but by differences in Western and Chinese philosophers’ conceptions of ecology. We further argue that, even granting these differing conceptions of ecology, consideration of the problematic aspects of the landscape painting tradition remains a pressing concern for ecoaesthetics.

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