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Nature Restoration Without Dissimulation: Learning from Japanese Gardens and Earthworks

1 January 2002


On the face of it, the expression "nature restoration" may seem an oxymoron, for one may ask whether it makes any sense to suppose that human beings could restore that which is not human. Several writers recently have argued that, strictly speaking, this is nonsense and, furthermore, that the conceptual confusion involved may lead to ethically problematic consequences. In this essay I begin by discussing the problematic perceived in the notion of nature restoration. I proceed to consider Japanese gardens and earthworks, insofar as both types of art forms foreground the relationship of artefactuality to nature. I conclude that the counterintuitive way in which these arts engage us with nature may help us understand the manner in which nature restoration is plausible.


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