Dutton, Denis — The Evolution Of The Arts

Posted on July 21st, 2009 in Art,Science,Uncategorized,World History by LeGov

In this edition visit with Denis Dutton, author of ‘The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure and Human Evolution.”  A quote from this book, at page 46, provides a good idea of who we are and what the book is about.  “As much as fighting wild animals or finding suitable environments our ancient ancestors faced social forces and family conflicts that became a part of evolved life.   Both of these force fields acting in concert, eventually produced the intensely social, robust, love making, murderous, convivial, organizing, technology using, show off, squabbling, game playing, friendly, status seeking, upright walking, lying, omnivorous, knowledge seeking, arguing, clubbing, language using, conspicuously wasteful, versatile species of primate that we became.  And along the way in developing all this, the arts were born.”
Denis Dutton was a professor of ‘Philosophy of Art’ at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. We visited by phone from his home in Christchurch, New Zealand on July 17th, 2009 and began our conversation by asking him to further explain the birth of the arts.
The books Denis Dutton recommends are “Before The Dawn: Recovering The Lost History Of Our Ancestors,” by Nicholas Wade and “The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution,” by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending. You can listen to a radio curious interview with Gregory Cochran by visiting the 2009 Radio Curious archives on our website www.radiocurious.org.

Denis Dutton died on December 28, 2010.

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