Faculty of Arts

PHIL 732

Philosophy of the Arts 2


This course considers possible connections between aesthetics, art and our evolved human nature. The key concepts are first introduced and analysed: aesthetics, art, evolution and how they might be connected. The detailed discussion of aesthetics then covers landscape appreciation and how it may have been connected to ancient ways of life, human beauty and its alleged connection with mate selection and the variety of modes of humans’ aesthetic appreciation of non-human animals.

Many theories of art are explored in depth. These include theories that group the arts and regard them as together serving some general adaptive function, that present particular art forms each as adaptive in their own distinctive fashion, that attempt to explain the origins of art, that argue that art is not itself adaptive but is a by-product of behaviours or systems that are and that analyse art as a technology not closely connected to evolved behaviours.

As well as philosophical literature on aesthetics and the philosophy of art, reference will be made to work in other disciplines, such as evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, evolution theory, philosophy of biology and art-based disciplines.

Availability 2012

Semester 2


Coordinator(s) Distinguished Professor Stephen Davies


PHIL 732: 15.0 points

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