If an environment, or just a very secluded 'biome' was artificially produced would it still be considered 'beautiful'? Even considering that this particular secluded artificial environment had a perfectly in sync ecosystem, was self-sustaining, and never tired of resources for human use, would it still be beautiful and fantastical even though it was subject to human manipulation of Earth natural way of nature?

This feels like a question informed by Kant’s understanding of beauty. Whether it is or not, it’s certainly a question in tune with Kant; because, for Kant, natural beauty dominates his examples of beautiful objects and sets the tone for his analysis of beauty in general. There seems to be a constant suspicion in Kant that art we find beautiful is somehow a contrivance, something put together in a way that the artist knows will appear beautiful to human beings, or at least pleasant in appearance. And because the artist aims at pleasing the human senses, so-called beautiful art threatens to collapse into a species of the merely pleasant.

A beautiful flower, on the other hand, has not been contrived. Kant seems to understand nature mechanistically – or rather, he thinks it is always open to a mechanistic interpretation. And given that it is, the spontaneous appearance of something in nature like a beautiful flower or a magnificent sunset gives one the sense of having discovered beauty, not just been prodded into finding beauty where it had been put.

Mind you, these views do not necessarily have to follow from the basic Kantian principles of beauty and taste. Many readers have drawn quite different conclusions from the Critique of Judgment about what to say about art. But this is Kant’s own application of his basic principles.

The Critique of Judgment entertains the possibility (in section 42) that someone might fake a natural environment, as your example proposes. He grants what the example assumes, that if you didn’t know it had been artificially manipulated you would enjoy the scene exactly as you would enjoy a natural scene. (As I say, the example assumes this much. It wouldn’t be a duplicate landscape unless it looked exactly the same.) But then Kant asks what would happen once the deception was revealed. The nature-lover’s admiration for what had seemed to be the beauty of natural life would disappear, although it might be replaced (Kant adds) with an admiration that follows from the person’s vanity, e.g. the wish to decorate one’s home with these artificial flowers and bushes. (In this connection also see the “General Remark on the First Section of the Analytic.”)

All this is by-the-book Kant. If you are not a Kantian, however, I would think the problems don’t arise. If art can be beautiful, then why shouldn’t artificial nature also be beautiful?

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