Jeff's Reviews > The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution

The Art Instinct by Denis Dutton
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's review
Dec 28, 2010

really liked it
Read in December, 2010

For the past 50 years or so, most discussions about art and its meanings have been based in either semiotics or phenomenology. Discourse either focused on how art (in whatever medium) functioned as a language, or it focused not on the construction of art but rather the experience of the perceiver. Denis Dutton's book is part of a new trend (particularly popular in the UK, Australia & New Zealand it seems) to examine the notion that artmaking and art enjoying are part of a deeply ingrained ancestry that evolved in humans over the past 50,000 years or so. We can debate the speculative nature of this "science," but the viewpoint on the arts is refreshing, simply because it poses a "third path," if you will, to semiotics and phenomenology. Dutton is a persuasive writer. found this an enjoyable, provocative read.
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