Book ID: CBB798423246

Aesthetics after Darwin: The Multiple Origins and Functions of the Arts (2019)


Menninghaus, Winfried (Author)

Academic Studies Press

Publication Date: 2019
Physical Details: 176
Language: English

Darwin famously proposed that sexual competition and courtship is (or at least was) the driving force of “art” production not only in animals, but also in humans. The present book is the first to reveal that Darwin’s hypothesis, rather than amounting to a full-blown antidote to the humanist tradition, is actually strongly informed both by classical rhetoric and by English and German philosophical aesthetics, thereby Darwin’s theory far richer and more interesting for the understanding of poetry and song.The book also discusses how the three most discussed hypothetical functions of the human arts––competition for attention and (loving) acceptance, social cooperation, and self-enhancement––are not mutually exclusive, but can well be conceived of as different aspects of the same processes of producing and responding to the arts.Finally, reviewing the current state of archeological findings, the book advocates a new hypothesis on the multiple origins of the human arts, posing that they arose as new variants of human behavior, when three ancient and largely independent adaptions––sensory and sexual selection-driven biases regarding visual and auditory beauty, play behavior, and technology––joined forces with, and were transformed by, the human capacities for symbolic cognition and language.

Reviewed By

Review Henrik Høgh-Olesen (2019) Review of "Aesthetics after Darwin: The Multiple Origins and Functions of the Arts". Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science (p. 100698). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Brain, Robert Michael
Andreas Broeckmann
Prum, Richard O.
Strathausen, Carsten
Smith, Jonathan
Ruse, Michael
Comptes Rendus Biologies
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Journal of the History of Biology
Journal of Literature and Science
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
History of the Human Sciences
University of Washington Press
University of Minnesota Press
University of Chicago Press
The MIT Press
Duke University Press
Sexual selection
Science and art
Fine arts
Darwin, Charles Robert
Huxley, Thomas Henry
Hardy, Thomas
Gaskell, Elizabeth
Eliot, George
Bates, Henry Walter
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
21st century
20th century, late
20th century, early
Amazon River Region (South America)
Great Britain

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