Sunday 22 August 2010

The Art Instinct

I'm reading a fascinating book at the moment. Denis Dutton's "The Art Instinct" explores our aesthetic responses and creative acts from an evolutionary point of view.

I find his arguments very persuasive and it does in fact seem quite probable that there is very little that is really inexplicable in the way we respond to things like The Arts and the development of aesthetic preferences.

This review, by Hannah Rose Burgess, of the book may give some idea of it's main thesis and some of the possible objections.

This is a quote from the review that I particularly appreciated.

"Perhaps the best feature of The Art Instinct is the significant advances that it makes in discrediting the notion that art is culturally relative. Some very sharp scholarship adopts this view, but many of its forms can either be false or easily collapse into tautology. The Art Instinct takes a decisive stand against them. The chapter entitled ‘But They Don’t
Have Our Concept of Art’ is, in part, an attack on this. The author applies vigorous logic to reveal the incoherence of forms of this view."

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