Art, Sexual Selection, Group Selection (Critical Notice of Denis Dutton, The Art Instinct)

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (2):337-356 (2011)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
The capacity to engage with art is a human universal present in all cultures and just about every individual human. This indicates that this capacity is evolved. In this Critical Notice of Denis Dutton's The Art Instinct, I discuss various evolutionary scenarios and their consequences. Dutton and I both reject the "spandrel" approach that originates from the work of Gould and Lewontin. Dutton proposes, following work of Geoffrey Miller, that art is sexually selected--that art-production is a sign of a fit genome in males. I argue that while assortative mating may well have had a role in the evolution of "the art instinct", group selection is a better explanation. I also take issue with Dutton's "cluster concept" approach to defining art, and argue that it is a universal and essential characteristic of art that it is appreciated both for what it expresses and for the way that it expresses. It thus requires a reflexive capacity that is not operative in the appreciation of sport spectacles and pornography.
ISBN(s)
0045-5091
PhilPapers/Archive ID
MATASS
Upload history
First archival date: 2010-08-19
Latest version: 3 (2011-06-13)
View other versions
Added to PP index
2010-08-19

Total views
448 ( #10,121 of 52,923 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
46 ( #13,388 of 52,923 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.