Is aesthetics a product of evolution? Are human aesthetic behaviors in fact evolutionary adaptations? The creation of artistic objects and experiences is an important aesthetic behavior. But so is the perception of aesthetic phenomena qua aesthetic. The question of evolutionary aesthetics is whether humans have evolved the capacity not only to make beautiful things but also to appreciate the aesthetic qualities in things. Are our near-universal love of music and cute baby animals essential to our species’ evolutionary development, which took (...) place over thousands of years? In other words, do aesthetic practice and appreciation help people to survive or reproduce? Do aesthetic behaviors help to propel natural selection? If so, what does that tell us about ourselves as human beings? What does it tell us about art, our other aesthetic practices, and aesthetic experience? (shrink)
Reading is an affective and reflective relationship with a text, whether it is a new, groundbreaking monograph or one of those books that keeps getting pulled off the shelf year after year. Unlike traditional reviews, the pieces in this section may veer off in new directions as critical reading becomes an extended occurrence of thinking, being, and creation. The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life, by Giorgio Agamben.Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013.
This article offers Hegelian readings, based on his theory of fluid identity, of the blues and African-American identity. All identities, even Hegels, should be denied fixed definitions, in favor of fluid ones that allow for change and the sublation of otherness.
In her book, Vibrant Matter, Jane Bennett thinks through what ontological, political, and ecological questions would look like if humans could admit that matter and nonhuman things are living, creative agents; the contributors to this issue of Evental Aesthetics begin to think through what aesthetic questions would look like.
A hijacking is a violent takeover, a misappropriation of something for a purpose other than its intended one, by parties other than those for whom the thing was meant. This issue explores the aesthetic practices and consequences of unauthorized repurposing.
In this issue, our contributors demonstrate how art in the city, art “about” the city, art compared to the city, can bring to attention the insidious forces underlying every city’s gleaming, wide-awake veneer.
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