Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Political Science

Content Description

1 online resource (xii, 244 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Morton Schoolman

Committee Members

Heinz-Dieter Meyer, Peter Breiner


Aesthetic Education, Anthropocene, Art, Digital Revolution, Natural Science, Sustainibility, Aesthetics, Environmentalism, Climate and civilization, Democracy and environmentalism, Internet

Subject Categories

Aesthetics | Political Science | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education


This big picture study wrestles with the environmental crisis and the digital revolution, two grand themes of our century. Their grand scale is evident in their global significance, which we can anticipate will only grow in coming decades. Will these collective developments be met in such a way that democracy and individuality can be expanded and preserved? This study contributes to this query, offering a new articulation of aesthetic education that draws on a discourse reaching back to Friedrich Schiller, while incorporating many contemporary theorists. The study suggests that the environmental crisis and the digital revolution are creating a perfect storm in regards to the formation of perception and feeling in our individual experience. To foster democracy and voluntary collective action in the face of this storm a new quality of connection to the natural foundations, beings and elements of planetary life is required. The digital revolution is complicating this need by opening virtual horizons only loosely connected to these foundations. Drawing on multiple thinkers the study shows how conventional culture and pedagogical philosophies often threaten to intensify this storm rather than to calm it. The ultimate contribution toward this dilemma is a new view of aesthetic education that suggests the most important area for widespread pedagogical reform and innovation is in aesthetic knowledge practices in the natural sciences. The author presents his own experience with these aesthetic knowledge practices, as well as examples from prolific researchers in physics, botany and zoology. He offers both a critique of the convention that presents a strong divide between the two cultures of the sciences and the humanities and also a positive vision, and justification, of a closer union.