Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A few days ago I finished The Art Instinct by Denis Dutton.

The Art Instinct lays out the case for art as an evolutionary adaptation and is a very interesting and well written book.  It is a little bit of a difficult philosophical read, but not to the point of most un-readable philosophy books, more of a mid-point between a pop sci book and a philosophical treatise.

Dutton does a good job of laying out the evidence for art as a result of human evolution, and the effects that this has on art and how it helps resolve some of the standard problems in esthetics, the study of art.  He starts off in a smart way, bypassing most of the pointless "what is art" discussions, through discussing the common middle ground that everyone would agree on as art and seeing where that leads.

Well worth a read, and it's too bad that since Dutton recently passed away we will not see more works of this quality from him.