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The Art Instinct

Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution
Narrated by: P. J. Ochlan
Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
4 out of 5 stars (56 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Art Instinct combines two of the most fascinating and contentious disciplines, art and evolutionary science, in a provocative new work that will revolutionize the way art itself is perceived. Aesthetic taste, argues Denis Dutton, is an evolutionary trait, and is shaped by natural selection. It's not, as almost all contemporary art criticism and academic theory would have it, "socially constructed". The human appreciation for art is innate, and certain artistic values are universal across cultures, such as a preference for landscapes that, like the ancient savannah, feature water and distant trees. If people from Africa to Alaska prefer images that would have appealed to our hominid ancestors, what does that mean for the entire discipline of art history?

Dutton argues, with forceful logic and hard evidence, that art criticism needs to be premised on an understanding of evolution, not on abstract "theory". Sure to provoke discussion in scientific circles and an uproar in the art world, The Art Instinct offers radical new insights into both the nature of art and the workings of the human mind.

©2009 Dennis Dutton (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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Is this a computer?

The context is interesting but the narrator sounds like a computer. Literally sounds like a voice from my biology video clips from my textbook explaining cellular function. Which, for school is fine because it is only 2 mins. But for an entire book? No way, not the right context for this voice. I couldn’t make it past the intro.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A breath of fresh air!

Any additional comments?

As an artist and art teacher I have read or listened to dozens of books about or relating to art and aesthetics. The Art Instinct is a very welcome change to other books in these genres. it is clear and concise, tough but fair, and overall a very engaging listen.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Arts philosophical

For the creators and observers of the arts, an exploration of the Gestalt that art is. The creation (painting, symphony, ballet, novel) is greater than the sum of its parts. That this is a beautifully and distinctly human experience, is clearly and heartfully described by the author.

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A Waste of Time & Money

If you are an artist, this book is annoying. It talks about art on a very superficial level. Maybe it gets better past chapter one, but the audio presenter does not do a good enough job for me to continue to listen. I want my money back.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful