The Artful Species: Aesthetics, Art, and Evolution

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9780199658541: The Artful Species: Aesthetics, Art, and Evolution
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The Artful Species explores the idea that our aesthetic responses and art behaviors are connected to our evolved human nature. Our humanoid forerunners displayed aesthetic sensibilities hundreds of thousands of years ago and the art standing of prehistoric cave paintings is virtually uncontested. In Part One, Stephen Davies analyses the key concepts of the aesthetic, art, and evolution, and explores how they might be related. He considers a range of issues, including whether animals have aesthetic tastes and whether art is not only universal but cross-culturally comprehensible. Part Two examines the many aesthetic interests humans take in animals and how these reflect our biological interests, and the idea that our environmental and landscape preferences are rooted in the experiences of our distant ancestors. In considering the controversial subject of human beauty, evolutionary psychologists have traditionally focused on female physical attractiveness in the context of mate selection, but Davies presents a broader view which decouples human beauty from mate choice and explains why it goes more with social performance and self-presentation. Part Three asks if the arts, together or singly, are biological adaptations, incidental byproducts of nonart adaptations, or so removed from biology that they rate as purely cultural technologies. Davies does not conclusively support any one of the many positions considered here, but argues that there are grounds, nevertheless, for seeing art as part of human nature. Art serves as a powerful and complex signal of human fitness, and so cannot be incidental to biology. Indeed, aesthetic responses and art behaviors are the touchstones of our humanity.

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The Artful Species Stephen Davies presents a fascinating exploration of the idea that art, and our aesthetic sensibilities more generally, should be understood as an element in human evolution. He asks: Do animals have aesthetics? Do our aesthetic preferences have prehistoric roots? Is art universal? What is the biological role of aesthetic and artistic behaviour? Full description

Review:

this book will appeal to those interested in a well-argued, multidisciplinary examination of the role of art in human evolution. (J. R. Couch, CHOICE)

[T]his book is of considerable value. Taking Davies's criticisms seriously would certainly enhance the quality of research in this area. (James Grant, Mind)

Davies book represents a rare achievement of lucid explanation and fair-minded analysis in an interdisciplinary field too often entrenched within dogmatic camps. (Denny Kinlaw, Transpositions)

In a field dense with hobby-horses and portentous musings, philosopher Stephen Davies does sterling work for clarity as he outlines the concepts, the problems and the difficulties with all the available explanations. (Marek Kohn, The Independent)

comprehensive, well-organized, and cogently argued (Troy Jollimore, Boston Globe)

This spare and elegant treatise by philosopher of aesthetics Stephen Davies posits that art is part of human nature, and is tied in a number of ways to human evolution. (Nature)

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2013. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Artful Species explores the idea that our aesthetic responses and art behaviors are connected to our evolved human nature. Our humanoid forerunners displayed aesthetic sensibilities hundreds of thousands of years ago and the art standing of prehistoric cave paintings is virtually uncontested. In Part One, Stephen Davies analyses the key concepts of the aesthetic, art, and evolution, and explores how they might be related. He considers a range of issues, including whether animals have aesthetic tastes and whether art is not only universal but cross-culturally comprehensible. Part Two examines the many aesthetic interests humans take in animals and how these reflect our biological interests, and the idea that our environmental and landscape preferences are rooted in the experiences of our distant ancestors. In considering the controversial subject of human beauty, evolutionary psychologists have traditionally focused on female physical attractiveness in the context of mate selection, but Davies presents a broader view which decouples human beauty from mate choice and explains why it goes more with social performance and self-presentation. Part Three asks if the arts, together or singly, are biological adaptations, incidental byproducts of nonart adaptations, or so removed from biology that they rate as purely cultural technologies. Davies does not conclusively support any one of the many positions considered here, but argues that there are grounds, nevertheless, for seeing art as part of human nature. Art serves as a powerful and complex signal of human fitness, and so cannot be incidental to biology. Indeed, aesthetic responses and art behaviors are the touchstones of our humanity. Seller Inventory # AAU9780199658541

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2013. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Artful Species explores the idea that our aesthetic responses and art behaviors are connected to our evolved human nature. Our humanoid forerunners displayed aesthetic sensibilities hundreds of thousands of years ago and the art standing of prehistoric cave paintings is virtually uncontested. In Part One, Stephen Davies analyses the key concepts of the aesthetic, art, and evolution, and explores how they might be related. He considers a range of issues, including whether animals have aesthetic tastes and whether art is not only universal but cross-culturally comprehensible. Part Two examines the many aesthetic interests humans take in animals and how these reflect our biological interests, and the idea that our environmental and landscape preferences are rooted in the experiences of our distant ancestors. In considering the controversial subject of human beauty, evolutionary psychologists have traditionally focused on female physical attractiveness in the context of mate selection, but Davies presents a broader view which decouples human beauty from mate choice and explains why it goes more with social performance and self-presentation. Part Three asks if the arts, together or singly, are biological adaptations, incidental byproducts of nonart adaptations, or so removed from biology that they rate as purely cultural technologies. Davies does not conclusively support any one of the many positions considered here, but argues that there are grounds, nevertheless, for seeing art as part of human nature. Art serves as a powerful and complex signal of human fitness, and so cannot be incidental to biology. Indeed, aesthetic responses and art behaviors are the touchstones of our humanity. Seller Inventory # AAU9780199658541

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Book Description Oxford University Press, 2013. Condition: New. Stephen Davies presents a fascinating exploration of the idea that art, and our aesthetic sensibilities more generally, should be understood as an element in human evolution. He asks: Do animals have aesthetics? Do our aesthetic preferences have prehistoric roots? Is art universal? What is the biological role of aesthetic and artistic behaviour? Num Pages: 320 pages. BIC Classification: ABA; HPN; PSAJ. Category: (UP) Postgraduate, Research & Scholarly; (UU) Undergraduate. Dimension: 239 x 167 x 22. Weight in Grams: 632. . 2013. 1st Edition. Hardcover. . . . . . Seller Inventory # V9780199658541

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