Academic year
2021/2022 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0068 (AF:360770 AR:189983)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
Course year
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As part of the Master Degree in Philosophical Sciences, the course of Aesthetics Sp. is expected to introduce students to the contemporary debate on so-called environmental aesthetics, analyzing it with reference to two distinct philosophical models of the relationships between subject and nature, humans and environment - two standards whose ultimate sources can be traced respectively to Kant and John Dewey. The course will develop the student's ability to compare the set of issues and tools of the aesthetic and philosophical tradition (acquired during the previous three years) with the contemporary discussion, developing an interpretative approach that should be critical and robust, on the one hand, as well as open and non-reductive, on the other hand.

Knowledge and understanding: As a result of this course students should acquire the conceptual tools for understanding the contemporary aesthetic debate, by engaging it with Classical Aesthetics; by the end of the course, students are expected to be able to contextualize the debate on its theoretical and historical background.
Applying knowledge and understanding: As a further goal, students should achieve the capacity to use concepts and arguments arising from the aesthetic debate to interpret the different forms of artistic productions and, more generally, the cultural world.
Making judgments: The course is intended to provide some basic tools for a critical reconstruction of the debate on environmental aesthetics.
By the end of the course, students should gain adequate communicative skills apt to analyzing the current debate and expressing their own evaluations with clarity as well as on the basis of convenient arguments.
Students are requested to know the main aspects of Kant's, Schiller's and Hegel's aesthetic theories before the beginning of the course.
The course aims to explore some important positions in environmental aesthetics, in the light of two different models of the relationship between subject and nature, human organisms and the environment. The contemporary debate appears to be largely indebted to the conceptual frameworks elaborated respectively by Kant in the third "Critique" and by John Dewey in "Experience and Nature" and in "Art as Experience". The concepts of nature and environment, subject and organism, aesthetic disinterest, and aesthetic engagement will be considered. The issue of ethics-aesthetics divide, on the one hand, or their mutual implication, on the other, will be discussed.
A good part of the course will be devoted to exploring the debate on environmental aesthetics, considering, in particular, the different accounts provided by Arnold Berleant, Allen Carlson, and Emily Brady. Later, their different views will be critically considered in the light of their different conceptual frameworks - inspired either by Kant or by Dewey. Specific attention will be dedicated to the debate on disinterestedness and aesthetic engagement in environmental aesthetics considered as crucial aspects for discerning the various views.

In order to complement the philosophical inquiry, the course will host some interventions by Dr. Francesco Ragazzi, on environmental art. They will be focused on the variety of creative approaches, as well as on the different interpretative-conceptual categories they tend to sollicit.

Bibliographical References (NB: A selection of papers and book chapters will be specified for the oral examination at the beginning of the course):
Berleant, A. (1992), The Aesthetics of Environment, Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Brady, E. (1998), Don’t Eat the Daisies: Disinterestedness and the Situated Aesthetics, Environmental Values, 7, 97-114.
Brady, E. (2003), Aesthetics of the Natural Environment, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Carlson, A. (1979), Appreciation and the Natural Environment, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 37: 267–276.
Carlson, A. (1981), Nature, Aesthetic Judgment, and Objectivity, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 40: 15–27.
Carlson, A. (1993), Aesthetics and Engagement, British Journal of Aesthetics, 33, 3: 220-227.
Carlson, A. (2020), Environmental Aesthetics, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <> ;
Dewey, J. (1989). Art as Experience. The Later Works, Volume 10, Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press.
Hepburn, R. W. (1966), Contemporary Aesthetics and the Neglect of Natural Beauty, in British Analytical Philosophy, B. Williams and A. Montefiore (ed.), London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Thompson, P.B, Piso, Z. (2019), Dewey and Environmental Philosophy, in Fesmire, S., The Oxford Handbook of Dewey, Oxford University Press
The final examination will consist in discussing an essay, written by each student on a certain topic drawn from the course, based on a specific agreement with the teacher on the topic itself and the relative bibliography.
Reading of the texts, conceptual analysis, arguments analysis, critical reflection, and discussion in the class.
Interventions on environmental art by Dr. Francesco Ragazzi
Students who cannot attend the course are requested to contact the professor (
Students are requested to subscribe to the Moodle space of the course as well as to regularly check materials and information they can find there.

Ca' Foscari abides by Italian Law (Law 17/1999; Law 170/2010) regarding support services and accommodation available to students with disabilities. This includes students with mobility, visual, hearing and other disabilities (Law 17/1999), and specific learning impairments (Law 170/2010). If you have a disability or impairment that requires accommodations (i.e., alternate testing, readers, note takers or interpreters) please contact the Disability and Accessibility Offices in Student Services:
written and oral

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Natural capital and environmental quality" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 03/09/2021