How much art can the brain take?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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As if that weren't enough of a puzzle, the more biologically frivolous and vain the activity, the more people exalt it. Art, literature, and music are thought to be not just pleasurable but noble. They are the mind's best work, what makes life worth living. Why do we pursue the biologically trivial and futile and experience them as sublime? To many educated people the question seems horribly philistine, even immoral. But it is unavoidable for anyone interested in the makeup of [Homo sapiens]. Members of our species do mad deeds like living for their art and (in India) selling their blood to buy movie tickets. Why? How might we understand the psychology of the arts within the modern understanding of the brain as a biological organ shaped by the forces of evolution?
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