Survival of the Beautiful

Survival of the Beautiful

Art, Science, and Evolution

eBook - 2012
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'The peacock's tail makes me sick!' said Charles Darwin. That's because the theory of evolution as adaptation can't explain why nature is so beautiful. It took the concept of sexual selection for Darwin to explain that, a process that has more to do with aesthetic taste than adaptive fitness. Survival of the Beautiful is a revolutionary new examination of the interplay of beauty, art, and culture in evolution. Taking inspiration from Darwin's observation that animals have a natural aesthetic sense, philosopher and musician David Rothenberg probes why animals, humans included, have an innate appreciation for beauty - and why nature is, indeed, beautiful.
Publisher: London ; New York : Bloomsbury, c2012
ISBN: 9781408828885
Branch Call Number: DOWNLOADABLE eBOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource : ill
Alternative Title: Art, science, and evolution


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Jun 12, 2012

I can't believe I read the whole thing! The book contains some interesting facts. That prompted me to try and get through it, although I almost gave up several times. Some of the research Rothenberg includes on the commonalities of human visual perception and preferences intrigued me. Yet, the flaws in his thesis became increasingly apparent, and, ultimately reading Survival of the Beautiful was a frustrating and unsatisfactory experience. Like a number of my students, this author seems to confuse gathering compelling tidbits of information with acquiring knowledge. What's missing here is rigorous inquiry and critical thinking. At no point, for instance, does Rothenberg problematize the terms "art" or "beautiful". More flaky than scholarly and riddled with pompous (unexamined) pronouncements, avoid.

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