Naturalistic aesthetics arose out of 19th-century positivism, and were developed in literary theory above all by the French writer EMILE ZOLA (1840-1902) who spoke of the ‘experimental novel’.

Rejecting the emotional emphasis of romanticism and notions of idealism and stylization, it sought to represent natural objects as they appear, acting as the mirror for nature. Its theoretical basis is not far removed from that of realism, particularly in its claim for scientific objectivity of recording, but built in is a Darwinian ideology of the animal nature of the human, portraying violence and primitive passion.

During the 17th century, the Italian art historian BELLORI (1672) was the first to characterize work by the followers of MICHEL ANGELO MERISI CARAVAGGIO (1569-1609) as naturalistic.

The arts

  • Realism (arts), naturalism in the arts
  • Naturalism (literature), a style in fictional writing
  • Naturalism (theatre), a movement in theatre and drama

Philosophy and science

  • Naturalism (philosophy) is any of several philosophical stances wherein all phenomena or hypotheses commonly labeled as supernatural are either false or not inherently different from natural phenomena or hypotheses.
    • Critical naturalism
    • Methodological naturalism, naturalism that holds that science is to be done without reference to supernatural causes; also refers to a methodological assumption in the philosophy of religion that observable events are fully explainable by natural causes without reference to the supernatural
    • Metaphysical naturalism, a form of naturalism that holds that the cosmos consists only of objects studied by the natural sciences, and does not include any immaterial or intentional realities
  • Ethical naturalism, the theory that ethical terms can be defined in non-ethical terms, namely, descriptive terms mainly from the natural sciences
  • Humanistic naturalism emphasises scientific reasoning as a basis for humane behavior
  • Liberal naturalism, a heterodox form of naturalism in the conceptual space between scientific naturalism and supernaturalism
  • Naturalistic observation is an empirical method of study by which the researcher introduces no outside stimulus, instead witnessing behavior as it naturally occurs in the environment
  • Poetic naturalism, an approach to naturalism which allows for there to be many useful ways of talking about the natural world, dependent upon the subject’s frame of reference.
  • Political naturalism is a politic and legal system based on the belief in the existence of a fair natural law
  • Religious naturalism, religious institutions, rituals, doctrines and communities which do not include supernatural beliefs
  • Sociological naturalism is the view that the natural world and the social world are roughly identical and governed by similar principles
  • Spiritual naturalism, an approach to spirituality that is devoid of supernaturalism

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