The arts and human nature: evolutionary aesthetics and the evolutionary status of art behaviours: Stephen Davies: The artful species: aesthetics, art, and evolution. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2012

Biology and Philosophy 28 (4):703-718 (2013)
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Abstract

This essay reviews one of the most recent books in a trend of new publications proffering evolutionary theorising about aesthetics and the arts—themes within an increasing literature on aspects of human life and human nature in terms of evolutionary theory. Stephen Davies’ The Artful Species links some of our aesthetic sensibilities with our evolved human nature and critically surveys the interdisciplinary debate regarding the evolutionary status of the arts. Davies’ engaging and accessible writing succeeds in demonstrating the maturity and scope of the field and his critique is timely and unparalleled. A laudable effort, however it may have benefited from espousing a co-evolutionary model more explicitly. Moreover there may be reason to question the usefulness of the standard set of distinctions (‘adaptation’, ‘spandrel’, ‘technology’) that Davies appeals to

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Anton Killin
Bielefeld University

References found in this work

Exaptation–A missing term in the science of form.Stephen Jay Gould & Elisabeth S. Vrba - 1973 - In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The philosophy of biology. New York: Oxford University Press.
Lineage Explanations: Explaining How Biological Mechanisms Change.Brett Calcott - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (1):51-78.

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