The importance of the aesthetic

Authored by: Cain S. Todd

The Routledge Handbook of Tourism and the Environment

Print publication date:  July  2012
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415582070
eBook ISBN: 9780203121108
Adobe ISBN: 9781136325564


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Any account of the importance of the aesthetic in tourism must begin by acknowledging some initial conceptual obstacles that make it particularly difficult to provide any definitive overview of this topic. First, the scope of the term ‘aesthetic’ is notoriously unclear and remains the subject of philosophical dispute. Pre-theoretically, it can be used to qualify virtually anything, including objects, values, attitudes, judgements and experiences. It is far from obvious what all of these phenomena have in common in virtue of which they are aesthetic. Indeed, clear and uncontroversial definitions and demarcations of ‘aesthetic’ have proved no less elusive than attempts to capture the essence of beauty.

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