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In Part One, Stephen Davies analyses the key concepts of the aesthetic, art, and evolution, and explores how they might be related. He considers a range of issues, including whether animals have aesthetic tastes and whether art is not only universal but cross-culturally comprehensible.

Part Two examines the many aesthetic interests humans take in animals and how these reflect our biological interests, and the idea that our environmental and landscape preferences are rooted in the experiences of our distant ancestors.

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In considering the controversial subject of human beauty, evolutionary psychologists have traditionally focused on female physical attractiveness in the context of mate selection, but Davies presents a broader view which decouples human beauty from mate choice and explains why it goes more with social performance and self-presentation.

Part Three asks if the arts, together or singly, are biological adaptations, incidental byproducts of nonart adaptations, or so removed from biology that they rate as purely cultural technologies. Davies does not conclusively support any one of the many positions considered here, but argues that there are grounds, nevertheless, for seeing art as part of human nature.

Art serves as a powerful and complex signal of human fitness, and so cannot be incidental to biology. Indeed, aesthetic responses and art behaviors are the touchstones of our humanity. Beyond Human Nature. Jesse J. Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved. Frans de Waal. I Is an Other.

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The artful species aesthetics, art, and evolution

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Exchanging Voices. Our humanoid forerunners displayed aesthetic sensibilities hundreds of thousands of years ago and the art standing of prehistoric cave paintings is virtually uncontested. After introducing the topic, Part I analyzes the key concepts of the aesthetic, art, evolution, and how they might be related.

Among other issues, there is consideration of whether animals have aesthetic tastes and whether art is not only universal but cross-culturally comprehensible. Part II is on aesthetics. The many aesthetic interests that humans take in animals and how these reflect our biological interests are examined, as is the idea that our environmental and landscape preferences are rooted in the experiences of our distant ancestors. In considering the controversial subject of human beauty, evolutionary psychologists focus on female physical attractiveness in the context of mate selection, but here a broader view decouples human beauty from mate choice and explains why it goes more with social performance and self-presentation.

Part III asks if the arts, together or singly, are biological adaptations, incidental by-products of nonart adaptations, or so removed from biology that they rate as purely cultural technologies.

None of the many positions examined is conclusively supported, but there are grounds, nevertheless, for seeing art as part of human nature. It serves as a powerful and complex signal of human fitness, and so cannot be incidental to biology. Indeed, such behaviors are the touchstones of our humanity. Keywords: adaptation , aesthetics , art , beauty , by-product , evolution , human nature , music , psychology , technology.

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