Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
The Greek acceptance of “beautiful” is clear from this: something that is beau-
tiful is not only pleasing to the eyes and ears, but also involves the qualities of
the character, so that “beautiful” can also be correct behaviors, or better still,
the dignity that such actions carry with them. Beauty is also something good,
because beauty reveals the structure of the being and therefore its goodness,
since, as Plato taught, being and wellness are ultimately the same thing [3, 4].
Much later, Kant, in his Critique of Judgment , would argue that beauty is
not an objective quality (property) of things. Beautiful objects in themselves
do not exist, but it is up to humans to attribute such characteristics to objects.
Beauty is therefore subjective, in the sense that it is something attached to the
subject and not to the object, according to Kant. Aesthetic judgment based on
the sense of beauty is what we use to notice beauty and harmony in a work or
a landscape, creating an agreement between the sensible object (what we per-
ceive and what we “reflect” on) and the need for liberty (which we feel freely).
For Kant, the feeling of beauty is: (1) pure, in that it is not linked to the real
existence of the object represented; (2) disinterested, in that the beautiful
object should not respond either to a utilitarian scope or to altruistic impera-
tives; (3) universal, in that beauty is what pleases universally, shared by all;
and (4) necessary, evidently not for a logical need, since explicit rules are not
required for aesthetic judgment.
The order given by beauty can be found in nature, as kosmos , but it can also
be artificially reproduced through a representation of reality that reconsti-
tutes a new order: it is what the artist does, not in the restricted sense that we
mean today, but in the wider sense of Greek culture, expressible as techne , a
broader concept. According to Aristotle, techne goes even beyond experience,
in that it puts order in itself. We have seen how techne has something to do
with the human activity of manual production that presupposes abilities and
construction regulations, i.e. rules, and is often translated into the term “art.”
Art, beyond coinciding later with the so-called “ fine arts ,” is also the manual
art of any artisan, who can be dedicated to many different types of activity,
reach perfection, and become a master, an architéktōn [5, 6]. Art, naturally, in
that creation, or perhaps recreation, always assumes an imitation, a reproduc-
tive impulse, a mimesis . Techne is therefore the technical ability, the manual
work of the builder, one who constructs so as to recreate order, the artificial
kosmos that becomes more beautiful the closer one approaches the natural,
original kosmos . Art has beauty as a goal, but beauty that is also order and har-
mony, and is therefore also good.
The proximity between techne and kosmos is therefore well structured in
Greek philosophy and passes through what is beautiful and good. With a jump
of more than 2,000years, this proximity is charged with sense and topical
interest in the relationship between aesthetics and ecology, and becomes the
heart of the reflection on the debate in support of new strategies for urban and
territorial regeneration.
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