Denis Dutton is the founder and editor of the hugely popular website Arts & Letters Daily, named by the Guardian as the best website in the world. He also founded and edits the journal Philosophy and Literature and is a professor of philosophy of art at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
At this event, Dutton will discuss his widely acclaimed new book, The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution. He will show how Darwin’s evolutionary ideas not only explain the facts of animal and human biology, but have much to say about the moral, intellectual, and artistic lives of human beings. Evolutionary processes tell us why the arts are central to human life across cultures and ages. Human aesthetic tastes, Dutton argues, are not socially or culturally constructed, but are inborn traits shaped by natural and sexual selection. He will discuss how our sense of beauty is as much a part of human makeup as our binocular vision or opposable thumbs. Dutton’s provocative lecture will offer radical new insights into both the nature of art and the workings of the human mind.