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Environmental Beauty and the Morality of Vandalism
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
2018 (English)In: The International Journal of Social, Political, and Community Agendas in the Arts, ISSN 2326-9960, E-ISSN 2327-2104, Vol. 13, no 3, p. 27-38Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper, I intend to develop and defend an argument claiming that the intentional vandalizing of an environment experienced by other people as beautiful implies a violation of these people’s human right to well-being. My argument presupposes that vandalist attacks on environmental beauty can detract from human well-being in two different ways. First, such attacks will undermine the self-esteem of people who have come to identify with their environment. Second, vandalist attacks will undermine people’s sense of living in a well-ordered community and of being safe and secure. Hence, assuming that there is at least a prima facie and negative human right to well-being (that is, a right not to have one’s well-being arbitrarily interfered with), acts of vandalism are prima facie morally wrong. That acts of vandalism are prima facie morally wrong does not exclude the possibility that they might sometimes still be justified, as when monuments dedicated to oppressive rulers are torn down. However, to the extent that a democratic decision procedure is available, decisions about public aesthetics should be made by the community as a whole, not by individuals acting on their own initiative. Sometimes it is argued that persons who vandalize have legitimate grievances against their society and that their acts of vandalizations should be understood as a justified protest against marginalization and alienation. However, this account does not apply to all vandals; moreover, even when it does apply, the morally preferred solution to resentful acts of vandalism should not be to condone these acts, but rather to remove those background conditions of marginalization and alienation that characterize their agents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Common Ground Publishing, 2018. Vol. 13, no 3, p. 27-38
Keywords [en]
Beauty, Vandalism, Well-Being, Self-Esteem
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Social Sciences, Practical Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-77168DOI: 10.18848/2326-9960/CGP/v13i03/27-38OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-77168DiVA, id: diva2:1239560
Available from: 2018-08-16 Created: 2018-08-16 Last updated: 2019-07-09Bibliographically approved

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Bauhn, Per

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