The artful species: aesthetics, art, and evolution

Anton Killin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This essay reviews one of the most recent books in a trend of new publications proffering evolutionary theorising about aesthetics and the arts—themes within an increasing literature on aspects of human life and human nature in terms of evolutionary theory. Stephen Davies’ The Artful Species links some of our aesthetic sensibilities with our evolved human nature and critically surveys the interdisciplinary debate regarding the evolutionary status of the arts. Davies’ engaging and accessible writing succeeds in demonstrating the maturity and scope of the field and his critique is timely and unparalleled. A laudable effort, however it may have benefited from espousing a co-evolutionary model more explicitly. Moreover there may be reason to question the usefulness of the standard set of distinctions (‘adaptation’, ‘spandrel’, ‘technology’) that Davies appeals to.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)703-718pp
    JournalBiology & Philosophy
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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