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Subject and Keywords:

evolutionary psychology   naturalized aesthetics   aesthetic universals   instinct   adaptation   art


In his crucial work The Art Instinct. Beauty, Pleasure and Human Evolution (2009) as well as in a series of papers (1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006) – Denis Dutton, newzealander-american scholar, as the first art philosopher ever, combines two seemingly distant disciplines: aesthetics and evolutionary psychology. By arguing that human aesthetic preferences are not 'social constructs', but rather universal, cross-cultural evolutionary features shaped by natural and sexual selection, he still usees traditional disputes present in aesthetic theory. The author analyzes the reception of The Art Instinct (the book which he himself translated into Polish), and shows the formation of the Dutton's mature position in the context of his early views on the nature of art and aesthetic experience. Based on several assumptions he presented in his monograph „Sztuka jako adaptacja. Uniwersalizm w estetyce ewolucyjnej" (Art as Adaptation) (2018), he makes a case that most of the philosophical and aesthetical issues that Dutton had been addressed previously (in a 'pre-evolutionary' period) in an original way, i.e. universalism vs. aesthetic formalism, authenticity in art vs. forgery and plagiarism, or cluster definition of art, found application in his Darwinian analysis of art. The book is addressed to all those who engage in interdisciplinary study on the nature of art and its place in human species history, i.e. cultural and cognitive psychologists, art historians, philosophers and aestheticians. The book contains three Polish translations of Dutton's texts, as well as a complete list of his publications.

Place of publishing:



Uniwersytet Wrocławski, Instytut Psychologii

Date issued:



doi:10.34616/143473   ISBN: 978-83-962965-0-4



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Copyright by Jerzy Luty

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