The Art Instinct, By Denis Dutton. An evolving portrait of the artist as a show-off. Tom Wilkinson; Friday 1 May 0 comments. In a groundbreaking new book that does for art what Stephen Pinker’s The Language Instinct did for linguistics, Denis Dutton overturns a century of art theory. Denis Dutton seems to have great ambitions in “The Art Instinct” as well as a willingness to court controversy. He wants to explain how art.

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The analysis was often stimulating in its individual parts, but overall disorganized. The ball, as I said before, lies in your vicinity. This time, I use an idea that Arthur Koestler proposed forty years ago, trying to adapt it to the cognitive level of adequacy that concerns the necessary computations for ART to happen in a human mind.

The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution by Denis Dutton

He talks about literature and music as well. So there it is, one ungainly chunk of evidence about a non-trivial cross-cultural aesthetic preference. The author is never afraid of selling his personal vision of what art should be like, for a definition of what art really is:. Skill and virtuosity 3. Aesthetic Pleasure in Aesthetics.

Spoiling the fun is not the issue β€” we have here one of many changes of subject β€” if the point was to draw a parallel with religion.

Using forceful logic and hard evidence, Dutton aft that we must premise art criticism on an understanding of evolution, not on abstract “theory. I, for one, am quite happy with the idea of a mature, unconstrained art.

You must be logged in to post a comment. Of course, this may be my personal interests talking. Dr Dutton’s, mine, Adolf Hitler’s? Oxford University Press- Aesthetics – pages.

Anthropologists know of many religions that render point 1 false.

The Art Instinct

The positive evidence he offers then is that Dutton has a rich subject and the right angle of approach to that subject. Be it as it may, let me tell you another personal story that I also would want a theory of art to be able to answer.


Colin Holbrook 1 May The pleasures of possessing an artwork are better explained in an insitnct framework. A number of artists were keen on color science, although more on psychological than physical discoveries. A theory of art, at least for me, should be able to explain that sort of experience as well β€”in its proper level.

The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution: Denis Dutton: Bloomsbury Press

I thank Dennis Dutton to have pointed to me the link where I could read the preface of his book. Claiming natural underpinnings for one’s own tastes is an old-fashioned move to display the “fitness” of one’s preferences, but calling this story Darwinian doesn’t make it less circular.

The reason why Gould did not write anything like this book, in spite of the fact that he could have, is that he understood the science far better than does Dutton. A determination to shock or puzzle has sent much recent art down a wrong path. Jan 21, Ryan rated it it was ok. But I felt he did not explain or pursue it well enough. If people from Africa to Alaska prefer images that would have appealed to our hominid ancestors, what does that mean for the entire discipline of art history?

But there are many others of course.

The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution

Long time ago, my car broke down in London, on my way home to Spain. And throughout Dutton bases his work on research written and speculates himself in the very manner the Panksepps complain about. Aesthetic Pleasure in Aesthetics categorize this paper. I was admiring some paintings, feeling elated, etc. Many of the individual chapters are very insightful all on their own. I was slightly less excited about Dutton’s take on postmodern ethnography and his weird repetition of the physical characteristics of women as they apply to the notion of evolutionary beauty.


Jun tye, Nish rated it really liked it Shelves: That is, an ordered set of causes with a good casual account of why you think they should be presented in that way. I never thought I would have to do this for art! The definition of art The theory claims deis be based on a definition of art.

But I think it is fair to say that we can tolerate a fair lot of distortions, for instance in accepting and enjoying complex temporal structures as those of the movie Memento.

This is not even a very academic book, despite constant name-dropping and enough quotations of Steven Pinker to qualify him for co-authorship. Some cultures produce carving but no drawing; others specialize in poetry. But normativity has to be explicit. In addition to these mechanisms, Darwin acknowledges dejis whole array of phenomena that Gould identifies as the key components of his own pluralism, and these components are also standard parts of modern evolutionary theory as it was constituted instinctt the Modern Synthesis.

When I wrote the above post this morning, I suddenly realized that I had to do something terribly important, so that I did not check the text shame on me! It has given me the chance to clarify some of my duhton and even change them.

Apr 11, Jeff rated it really liked it. Dutton’s evolutionary hypotheses At several points in the book, Dutton endorses the strongest possible version of extremely controversial hypotheses, without much arguing. They famously found important similarities thee people’s aesthetic preferences, which they polled and then graphically presented in paintings reflecting those preferences in terms of surface allocated to the canvas.

The first is to create a straw man by giving a falsely simplified description of the received view.