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Aesthetics of nature

Aesthetics of nature developed as a sub-field of philosophical ethics. In the 18th and 19th century, the aesthetics of nature advanced the concepts of disinterestedness, the pictures, and the introduction of the idea of positive aesthetics. The first major developments of nature occurred in the 18th century. The concept of disinterestedness had been explained by many thinkers. Anthony Ashley-Cooper introduced the concept as a way of characterizing the notion of the aesthetic, later magnified by Francis Hutcheson, who expanded it to exclude personal and utilitarianism interests and associations of a more general nature from aesthetic experience. This concept was further developed by Archibald Alison who referred it to a particular state of mind.

Balance of nature

The balance of nature is a theory that proposes that ecological systems are usually in a stable equilibrium or homeostasis, which is to say that a small change will be corrected by some negative feedback that will bring the parameter back to its original "point of balance" with the rest of the system. It may apply where populations depend on each other, for example in predator/prey systems, or relationships between herbivores and their food source. It is also sometimes applied to the relationship between the Earths ecosystem, the composition of the atmosphere, and the worlds weather. The Gaia hypothesis is a balance of nature-based theory that suggests that the Earth and its ecology may act as co-ordinated systems in order to maintain the balance of nature. The theory that nature is permanently in balance has been largely discredited by scientists working in ecology, as it has been found that chaotic changes in population levels are common, but nevertheless the idea continues to be popular in the general public. During the later half of the twentieth century the theory was superseded by catastrophe theory and chaos theory.

Natural environment

The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally, meaning in this case not artificial. The term is most often applied to the Earth or some parts of Earth. This environment encompasses the interaction of all living species, climate, weather and natural resources that affect human survival and economic activity. The concept of the natural environment can be distinguished as components: Universal natural resources and physical phenomena that lack clear-cut boundaries, such as air, water, and climate, as well as energy, radiation, electric charge, and magnetism, not originating from civilized human actions. Complete ecological units that function as natural systems without massive civilized human intervention, including all vegetation, microorganisms, soil, rocks, atmosphere, and natural phenomena that occur within their boundaries and their nature. In contrast to the natural environment is the built environment. In such areas where humans have fundamentally transformed landscapes such as urban settings and agricultural land conversion, the natural environment is greatly modified into a simplified human environment. Even acts which seem less extreme, such as building a mud hut or a photovoltaic system in the desert, the modified environment becomes an artificial one. Though many animals build things to provide a better environment for themselves, they are not human, hence beaver dams, and the works of mound-building termites, are thought of as natural. People seldom find absolutely natural environments on Earth, and naturalness usually varies in a continuum, from 100% natural in one extreme to 0% natural in the other. More precisely, we can consider the different aspects or components of an environment, and see that their degree of naturalness is not uniform. If, for instance, in an agricultural field, the mineralogic composition and the structure of its soil are similar to those of an undisturbed forest soil, but the structure is quite different. Natural environment is often used as a synonym for habitat, for instance, when we say that the natural environment of giraffes is the savanna.

Barnacle Geese Myth

A myth about the origins of the Barnacle goose is that the Barnacle Geese emerge fully formed from the common Barnacle. The migration patterns of may birds including the Barnacle Geese were not fully known until the late 19th or early 20th centuries. Early medieval accounts of migration often drew on popular myths to explain why some birds seemed to disappear and then reappear during the year. The origins of the myth go back to the 2nd century BCE. The myth was popularised in the early 12th century by Gerald of Wales. Subsequent descriptions in medieval Bestiaries caused may scholars and historians to repeat and enlarge on the myth. Some 75 years later, Hector Boece in his "S cotorum Historiae a Prima Gentis Origine gave further credence to this story with an account of a discussion he had with his each and colleague Canon Alexander (Canon and colleague Alexander) Galloway on an island in what is now called the Western Isles. The event, if it occurred, was sometime between c.1506x1520. Boece allows Galloway in the narrative to give two contrasting accounts of the geese story. Boece records: ". It remains for me Boece to discuss those geese commonly called clacks, claiks which are commonly but wrongly imagined to be born on trees in these islands, on the basis of what I have learned from my diligent investigation of this thing. I will not hesitate to describe something I witnessed seven years back. Alexander Galloway, parson of Kinkell, who, besides being a man of outstanding probity, is possessed of an unmatched zeal for studying miracles. When he was pulling up some driftwood and saw that seashells were clinging to it from one end to the other, he was surprised by the unusual nature of the thing, and, out of a zeal to understand it, opened them up, whereupon he was more amazed than ever, for within them he discovered, not sea creatures, but rather birds, of a size similar to the shells that contained them. small shells contained birds (shells contained small birds) of a proportionately small size. So, he quickly ran to me, whom he knew to be gripped with a great curiosity for investigating suchlike questions and revealed the entire thing to I.” The Claik or Clack Geese as they were known to Boece survived scrutiny during the Scottish (during scrutiny of the Scottish) Enlightenment. The age of the myth and the lack of empirical evidence on Bird migration led to several other accounts of the origins of Barnacle Geese being common until the 20th century.

Nature religion

A nature religion is a religious movement that believes nature and the natural world is an embodiment of divinity, sacredness or spiritual power. Nature religions include indigenous religions practiced in various parts of the world by cultures who consider the environment to be imbued with spirits and other sacred entities. It also includes contemporary Pagan faiths which are primarily concentrated in Europe and North America. The term "nature religion" was first coined by the American religious studies scholar Catherine Albanese, who used it in her work Nature Religion in America: From the Algonkian Indians to the New Age 1991 and later went on to use it in other studies. Following on from Albaneses development of the term it has since been used by other academics working in the discipline.

Patterns in nature

Patterns in nature are visible regularities of form found in the natural world. These patterns recur in different contexts and can sometimes be modelled mathematically. Natural patterns include symmetries, trees, spirals, meanders, waves, foams, tessellations, cracks and stripes. Early Greek philosophers studied pattern, with Plato, Pythagoras and Empedocles attempting to explain order in nature. The modern understanding of visible patterns developed gradually over time. In the 19th century, Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau examined soap films, leading him to formulate the concept of a minimal surface. German biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel painted hundreds of marine organisms to emphasise their symmetry. Scottish biologist DArcy Thompson pioneered the study of growth patterns in both plants and animals, showing that simple equations could explain spiral growth. In the 20th century, British mathematician Alan Turing predicted mechanisms of morphogenesis which give rise to patterns of spots and stripes. Hungarian biologist Aristid Lindenmayer and French American mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot showed how the mathematics of fractals could create plant growth patterns. Mathematics, physics and chemistry can explain patterns in nature at different levels. Patterns in living things are explained by the biological processes of natural selection and sexual selection. Studies of pattern formation make use of computer models to simulate a wide range of patterns.


Physis is a Greek theological, philosophical, and scientific term usually translated into English as "nature". The term is central to Greek philosophy, and as a consequence to Western philosophy as a whole. In pre-Socratic usage, physis was contrasted with νόμος, nomos, "law, human convention". Since Aristotle, however, the physical the subject matter of physics, properly τὰ φυσικά "natural things" has more typically been juxtaposed to the metaphysical.


The preternatural or praeternatural is that which appears outside or beside the natural. It is "suspended between the mundane and the miraculous". In theology, the term is often used to distinguish marvels or deceptive trickery, often attributed to witchcraft or demons, from the purely divine power of the genuinely supernatural to violate the laws of nature. In the early modern period, the term was used by scientists to refer to abnormalities and strange phenomena of various kinds that seemed to depart from the norms of nature.


Space is the boundless three-dimensional extent in which objects and events have relative position and direction. Physical space is often conceived in three linear dimensions, although modern physicists usually consider it, with time, to be part of a boundless four-dimensional continuum known as spacetime. The concept of space is considered to be of fundamental importance to an understanding of the physical universe. However, disagreement continues between philosophers over whether it is itself an entity, a relationship between entities, or part of a conceptual framework. Debates concerning the nature, essence and the mode of existence of space date back to antiquity; namely, to treatises like the Timaeus of Plato, or Socrates in his reflections on what the Greeks called khora i.e. "space", or in the Physics of Aristotle Book IV, Delta in the definition of topos i.e. place, or in the later "geometrical conception of place" as "space qua extension" in the Discourse on Place Qawl fi al-Makan of the 11th-century Arab polymath Alhazen. Many of these classical philosophical questions were discussed in the Renaissance and then reformulated in the 17th century, particularly during the early development of classical mechanics. In Isaac Newtons view, space was absolute - in the sense that it existed permanently and independently of whether there was any matter in the space. Other natural philosophers, notably Gottfried Leibniz, thought instead that space was in fact a collection of relations between objects, given by their distance and direction from one another. In the 18th century, the philosopher and theologian George Berkeley attempted to refute the "visibility of spatial depth" in his Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision. Later, the metaphysician Immanuel Kant said that the concepts of space and time are not empirical ones derived from experiences of the outside world - they are elements of an already given systematic framework that humans possess and use to structure all experiences. Kant referred to the experience of "space" in his Critique of Pure Reason as being a subjective "pure a priori form of intuition". In the 19th and 20th centuries mathematicians began to examine geometries that are non-Euclidean, in which space is conceived as curved, rather than flat. According to Albert Einsteins theory of general relativity, space around gravitational fields deviates from Euclidean space. Experimental tests of general relativity have confirmed that non-Euclidean geometries provide a better model for the shape of space.

The World We Live In (Life magazine)

The World We Live In appeared in the pages of LIFE magazine from December 8, 1952, to December 20, 1954. A science series, it comprised 13 chapters published on an average of every eight weeks. Written by Lincoln Barnett, The World We Live In spanned a diverse range of topics concerning planet Earth and universe, and employed the talents of artists and photographers, including cameramen Alfred Eisenstaedt and Fritz Goro and artists Rudolph Zallinger and Chesley Bonestell. The chapters were illustrated with art and photos, often presented in large gatefolds which showed two sides of a scenario.

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