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A Science of Human Nature?

Philosophical Disputes at the Interface of Natural and Social Science

Studying at Cambridge

The Descent of Culture

last modified Feb 21, 2015 05:43 PM

artfulspecies2Adrian Boutel and Tim Lewens's contribution to a recent symposium on The Artful Species by Stephen Davies has just been published in the British Journal of Aesthetics

Stephen Davies’ book shows admirable sensitivity to the complexities of aesthetic appreciation, the making of art, and evolutionary explanation. Our critical comments focus on his understanding of how the natural and the cultural are to be distinguished. We suggest that recent work on the evolution of cognition undermines any strict distinction between that which is learned, and therefore within the domain of culture or technology, and that which is part of human nature, and therefore within the domain of evolution. These further complexities offer rich options for how to understand the evolution of art, at the same time as problematizing efforts to demarcate cultural and evolutionary explanation.

Read more here.