Remembering Philosopher Denis Dutton – His Art and Evolution Interview

**Read the New York Times obituary for Dutton.

The Art Instinct

Everybody’s talking evolution these days. Way beyond biology and into evolutionary psychology — how human behavior has grown out of prehistoric imperatives.

Philosopher Denis Dutton is taking another step. He’s reaching out to link evolution and art.

Dutton makes the case that art has been elemental to the ascent of humankind — linking cave drawings, natural selection, and Picasso. Mating habits, sexual selection and Pavarotti. Art, he argues, is not just sublime. It’s instinct, from cave to concert hall.

This hour, On Point: Philosopher Denis Dutton on evolution and the art instinct.

You can join the conversation. Does it ring true to you? Art as essential to human evolution? As elemental as our opposable thumb? Would we have been humans without it?


Denis Dutton, professor of the philosophy of art at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and founding editor of the Journal of Philosophy and Literature. He is also the founder and editor of the website Arts & Letters Daily. His new book is “The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution.”

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