Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes from and Why

Edition: Reprint
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 1995-09-01
Publisher(s): Univ of Washington Pr
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"Dissanayake argues that art was central to human evolutionary adaptation and that the aesthetic faculty is a basic psychological component of every human being. In her view, art is intimately linked to the origins of religious practices and to ceremonies of birth, death, transition, and transcendence. Drawing on her years in Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and Papua New Guinea, she gives examples of painting, song, dance, and drama as behaviors that enable participants to grasp and reinforce what is important to their cognitive world." -- Publishers Weekly "A wide-ranging essay on the place of art in human evolution and in the future, at once learned and spirited."--Howard Gardner, Harvard University "Ellen Dissanayake's book is the most forceful rejoinder I've read so far to the trivializing pessimism of postmodernist art theory."--Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle "Affirm[s] the idea that art is for life's sake, for the fulfillment of fundamental human needs, and for human survival. . . . She gives us a coherent rationale for funding broadly based arts programs." --Art Therapy " Homo Aestheticusoffers a wealth of original and critical thinking. It will inform and irritate specialist, student, and lay reader alike." --American Anthropologist "Homo Aestheticus calls for a counterrevolution in our thinking about art. It is timely, provocative, and immensely valuable." --Philosophy and Literature

Table of Contents

Preface to the 1995 Edition
Preface to the Original Edition
Introduction: Why Species-Centrism?p. 1
Biology and Art: The Implications of Feeling Goodp. 24
The Core of Art: Making Specialp. 39
Dromena, or "Things Done": Reconciling Culture and Naturep. 64
The Arts as Means of Enhancementp. 102
"Empathy Theory" Reconsidered: The Psychobiology of Aesthetic Responsesp. 140
Does Writing Erase Art?p. 194
Notesp. 227
Referencesp. 255
Index of Namesp. 273
Index of Subjectsp. 281
Creditsp. 298
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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