“Aesthetic Primitives”: Fundamental Biological Elements of a Naturalistic Aesthetics

Aisthesis: Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi Dell’Estetico 8 (1):6-24 (2015)
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Abstract

Aesthetics, like other philosophical subjects, has historically made use of «top down» methods. Recent discoveries in genetics, evolutionary psychology, paleoarchaeology, and neuroscience call for a new «naturalistic» or «bottom up» perspective. Combining these fields with behavioral biology and ethnoarts studies, I offer seven premises that underlie a new understanding of evolved predispositions of the brain/mind that all artists use to attract attention, sustain interest, and create, mold, and shape emotion. I describe aesthetic «primitives» in somatic and behavioral modalities, suggesting that these were present in early sapiens and continue to influence human art making and aesthetic response today. Keywords: Aesthetic Mind; Neuroaesthetics, evolutionary aesthetics, cognitive aesthetics, evolution of art

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