Stephen Davies

in The Artful Species

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199658541
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746253 | DOI:

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This chapter takes stock of Part III on the arts. Adaptation, by-product, and technology cover the possibilities, but the many theories and arguments characterizing art in such terms are unconvincing. This is to be expected, given the lack of crucial data and the difficulty of its interpretation. Yet if art is not best viewed as a purely cultural technology, it is either an adaptation or a by-product and to that extent is both part of human nature and connected to evolution. As argued in Chapter 9, art behaviors are complexly nuanced, informationally rich indicators of many kinds of fitness-relevant human qualities, so they are not incidental to our biological agendas. It is fascinating to identify those suites of behavior that are mastered by nearly every person, despite the extremely high cost this imposes. Among them, art behaviors are central. As such, they are the touchstones of our humanity.

Keywords: adaptation; art; by-product; evolution; human nature; technology

Chapter.  3142 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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