I. is art purely cultural or does it centrally involve a biological component?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Dissanayake is an ethologist. She is interested in human behavioral predispositions that are universal and innate because they have proved to enhance survival, which is defined as reproductive success (1995:36, 2000:21), and, hence, became selected for at the genetic level. Such behaviors must date back at least to the late Pleistocene (20,000 years ago) since it is then that human biological evolution reached its present condition. Subsequent changes involved cultural evolution, a predisposition that is itself based on evolutionary characteristics of the human species (1988:23, 1995:14, 2000:xiv). Dissanayake holds that art behavior, which she characterizes first as patterns or syndromes of creation and response (1988) and later as rhythms and modes of mutuality (2000), displays the hallmarks of a biological adaptation (1988:6, 1995:33–4): it is universal, innate, old (being present from at least 100,000 BCE, depending on what is counted as the first evidence), and is a source of intrinsic pleasure. Indeed, she claims that art is essential to the fullest realization of our human nature. Art is not something added to us but is the way we are, "Homo aestheticus, stained through and through" (1995:xix).
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