Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

The Aesthetics of Rock Climbing



The pleasures of rock climbing and the pleasures of philosophy turn out to be strangely similar.

So starts an essay by AFB’s Thi Nguyen for The Philosophers’ Mag.

The aesthetics of climbing is an aesthetics of the climber’s own motion, and an aesthetics of how that motion functions as a solution to a problem. There is, for the climber, a very special experience of harmony available – a harmony between one’s abilities and the challenges they meet.

His wide-ranging essay is ultimately about rock climbing, but touches on dance and proprioception, as well as games, sports, and problem solving. Check out the whole thing here.

Image credit: Mark Doliner via Flickr


  1. Enjoyed this. Climbs are also cultural artefacts. They have ontologies that are a bit like artworks – they are authored, dated, titled, are bounded in various ways. There have even been fake climbs…Do you think climbing is ‘over developed’ – when are you engaging with the rock for movement’s sake and when are you pitting yourself against others via a grading system?

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