Denis Dutton is a philosophy professor and the editor of Arts & Letters Daily. In his book The Art Instinct, he suggests that humans are hard-wired to seek beauty.
Why do humans take pleasure in making art? In his 2009 book The Art Instinct, philosopher Denis Dutton suggests that art is a need built into our systems, a complex and subtle evolutionary adaptation comparable to our facility for language. We humans evolved to love art because it helps us survive; for example, a well-expressed appreciation of art can -- even in modern times -- help us to find a mate. It’s a bold argument to make, bolstered by examples from the breadth of art history that Dutton keeps at his fingertips.
Dutton teaches philosophy at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, and is the editor of Arts & Letters Daily, a three-column compendium of culture news from all over the web. (His own homepage is another storehouse of tidbits from his wide-ranging explorations in philosophy and culture.) He’s on the advisory board of Cybereditions, a publisher specializing in ebooks and print-on-demand editions of nonfiction works. And he’s an editor of Climate Debate Daily, a lively blog that takes a skeptical view of some climate-change arguments.