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Psychological Responses Philosophical Perspectives on the Response to Landscapes

As a hiker and (very amateur) philosopher, this question is one that has resonated with me a great deal. As well as hoping to spark discussion on the topic, I'm really hoping for guidance on existing literature and suggestions as to other debates in philosophy that may overlap with some of the themes.

The Problem

In general, we as humans seem to experience mental 'responses' from exposure to dramatic landscapes (mountain ranges, wilderness, open sea etc.) I would suggest that these responses are unique to such environments and are distinct from other more recognizable / intuitive feelings - pleasure, fear etc. that we are accustomed to.

Whilst, for example, spending time in the mountains may also illicit in a hiker such feelings as accomplishment dread and nervousness etc, I would propose that the sense of (what I will call) 'awe' is not something that can be easily tied back to their immediate state of affairs (unlike say a hiker's experiencing fear, brought about their awareness of the risk of falling).

It is not obvious to me why there should be some causal link between natural features and such sensations of awe in this way. It is also perhaps surprising that such landscapes enjoy an almost universal ability to bring about such feelings - film and poetry have so often relied upon this idea by using location as a means to convey drama / wonder.

It is of course possible that 'awe' is in fact reducible to more easily analysed emotional / pyschological responses that arise directly from conceptions of dramatic landscapes (e.g. the idea that they are inherently dangerous and so should be feared). However, that is not my experience, and I would challenge the idea that a city-dweller who has never seen or heard of the mountains would experience no unusual psychological response from teleporting to the top of Mont Blanc on a clear summer day.

Anyway - very interested to hear any ideas on the topicIf this is something philosophers have written about, andI'd like to be pointed in the direction of interesting and relevant papers / books.

Thanks!

Psychological Responses to Landscapes

As a hiker and (very amateur) philosopher, this question is one that has resonated with me a great deal. As well as hoping to spark discussion on the topic, I'm really hoping for guidance on existing literature and suggestions as to other debates in philosophy that may overlap with some of the themes.

The Problem

In general, we as humans seem to experience mental 'responses' from exposure to dramatic landscapes (mountain ranges, wilderness, open sea etc.) I would suggest that these responses are unique to such environments and are distinct from other more recognizable / intuitive feelings - pleasure, fear etc. that we are accustomed to.

Whilst, for example, spending time in the mountains may also illicit in a hiker such feelings as accomplishment dread and nervousness etc, I would propose that the sense of (what I will call) 'awe' is not something that can be easily tied back to their immediate state of affairs (unlike say a hiker's experiencing fear, brought about their awareness of the risk of falling).

It is not obvious to me why there should be some causal link between natural features and such sensations of awe in this way. It is also perhaps surprising that such landscapes enjoy an almost universal ability to bring about such feelings - film and poetry have so often relied upon this idea by using location as a means to convey drama / wonder.

It is of course possible that 'awe' is in fact reducible to more easily analysed emotional / pyschological responses that arise directly from conceptions of dramatic landscapes (e.g. the idea that they are inherently dangerous and so should be feared). However, that is not my experience, and I would challenge the idea that a city-dweller who has never seen or heard of the mountains would experience no unusual psychological response from teleporting to the top of Mont Blanc on a clear summer day.

Anyway - very interested to hear any ideas on the topic, and to be pointed in the direction of interesting and relevant papers / books.

Thanks!

Philosophical Perspectives on the Response to Landscapes

As a hiker and (very amateur) philosopher, this question is one that has resonated with me a great deal. As well as hoping to spark discussion on the topic, I'm really hoping for guidance on existing literature and suggestions as to other debates in philosophy that may overlap with some of the themes.

The Problem

In general, we as humans seem to experience mental 'responses' from exposure to dramatic landscapes (mountain ranges, wilderness, open sea etc.) I would suggest that these responses are unique to such environments and are distinct from other more recognizable / intuitive feelings - pleasure, fear etc. that we are accustomed to.

Whilst, for example, spending time in the mountains may also illicit in a hiker such feelings as accomplishment dread and nervousness etc, I would propose that the sense of (what I will call) 'awe' is not something that can be easily tied back to their immediate state of affairs (unlike say a hiker's experiencing fear, brought about their awareness of the risk of falling).

It is not obvious to me why there should be some causal link between natural features and such sensations of awe in this way. It is also perhaps surprising that such landscapes enjoy an almost universal ability to bring about such feelings - film and poetry have so often relied upon this idea by using location as a means to convey drama / wonder.

It is of course possible that 'awe' is in fact reducible to more easily analysed emotional / pyschological responses that arise directly from conceptions of dramatic landscapes (e.g. the idea that they are inherently dangerous and so should be feared). However, that is not my experience, and I would challenge the idea that a city-dweller who has never seen or heard of the mountains would experience no unusual psychological response from teleporting to the top of Mont Blanc on a clear summer day.

If this is something philosophers have written about, I'd like to be pointed in the direction of interesting and relevant papers / books.

Thanks!

1
source | link

Psychological Responses to Landscapes

As a hiker and (very amateur) philosopher, this question is one that has resonated with me a great deal. As well as hoping to spark discussion on the topic, I'm really hoping for guidance on existing literature and suggestions as to other debates in philosophy that may overlap with some of the themes.

The Problem

In general, we as humans seem to experience mental 'responses' from exposure to dramatic landscapes (mountain ranges, wilderness, open sea etc.) I would suggest that these responses are unique to such environments and are distinct from other more recognizable / intuitive feelings - pleasure, fear etc. that we are accustomed to.

Whilst, for example, spending time in the mountains may also illicit in a hiker such feelings as accomplishment dread and nervousness etc, I would propose that the sense of (what I will call) 'awe' is not something that can be easily tied back to their immediate state of affairs (unlike say a hiker's experiencing fear, brought about their awareness of the risk of falling).

It is not obvious to me why there should be some causal link between natural features and such sensations of awe in this way. It is also perhaps surprising that such landscapes enjoy an almost universal ability to bring about such feelings - film and poetry have so often relied upon this idea by using location as a means to convey drama / wonder.

It is of course possible that 'awe' is in fact reducible to more easily analysed emotional / pyschological responses that arise directly from conceptions of dramatic landscapes (e.g. the idea that they are inherently dangerous and so should be feared). However, that is not my experience, and I would challenge the idea that a city-dweller who has never seen or heard of the mountains would experience no unusual psychological response from teleporting to the top of Mont Blanc on a clear summer day.

Anyway - very interested to hear any ideas on the topic, and to be pointed in the direction of interesting and relevant papers / books.

Thanks!