Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Darwinia Theory of beauty-awesome video

TED collaborates with animator Andrew Park to illustrate Denis Dutton's provocative theory on beauty -- that art, music and other beautiful things, far from being simply "in the eye of the beholder," are a core part of human nature with deep evolutionary origins.

About Denis Dutton

Denis Dutton is a philosophy professor and the editor of Arts & Letters Daily. In his book The Art Instinct, he suggests that humans are hard-wired to seek beauty. Full bio and more links

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing; the notion of predisposition to appreciate symmetry and natural proportions is an interesting one, albeit bordering on the somewhat questionable field of Evolutionary Psychology. I think there's another level of perception that's tied to personal experience that also needs to be addressed in any evolutionary context; Evolution depends on nature and environment, which, for people, is highly influenced by culture. This paper ( addresses the issue of art perception from a more inclusive context, branching off of what Dutton toys with.

    Also, here's an interesting counterargument/followup to Dutton's idea, also from a Ted talk (seems that you can't embed links in a comment, unfortunately ..):

    The whole video is really moving and worth watching, and at least tangentially related to our course, especially in light of today's discussion. The street artist JR vies art (regardless of the origin of its perception) as something provocative, something that elicits a response and, moreover, moves people to act. It's useful, like Duton argues, but for different reasons that are proactive rather than retroactive. Could this new notion of art as a form of activism be applied to environmental activism and nature conservation? Something to contemplate.