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Art Instinct Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution

ISBN-10: 1596914017

ISBN-13: 9781596914018

Edition: 2009

Authors: Denis Dutton

List price: $25.00
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Description:

In a groundbreaking new book that does for art what Stephen Pinker’sThe Language Instinctdid for linguistics, Denis Dutton overturns a century of art theory and criticism and revolutionizes our understanding of the arts. The Art Instinctcombines two fascinating and contentious disciplines—art and evolutionary science—in a provocative new work that will change forever the way we think about the arts, from painting to literature to movies to pottery. Human tastes in the arts, Dutton argues, are evolutionary traits, shaped by Darwinian selection. They are not, as the past century of art criticism and academic theory would have it, just “socially constructed.” Our love of beauty is inborn, and many aesthetic tastes are shared across remote cultures—just one example is the widespread preference for landscapes with water and distant trees, like the savannas where we evolved. Using forceful logic and hard evidence, Dutton shows that we must premise art criticism on an understanding of evolution, not on abstract “theory.” He restores the place of beauty, pleasure, and skill as artistic values. Sure to provoke discussion in scientific circles and uproar in the art world,The Art Instinctoffers radical new insights into both the nature of art and the workings of the human mind.
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Book details

List price: $25.00
Copyright year: 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 12/23/2008
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 288
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.100
Language: English

Introduction
Landscape and Longing
Art and Human Nature
What Is Art?
"But They Don't Have Our Concept of Art"
Art and Natural Selection
The Uses of Fiction
Art and Human Self-Domestication
Intention, Forgery, Dada: Three Aesthetic Problems
The Contingency of Aesthetic Values
Greatness in the Arts
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index