Beyond the nature-culture dichotomy: a proposal for Evolutionary Aesthetics

Lorenzo Bartalesi, Mariagrazia Portera


Human aesthetic preferences towards a certain landscape type, a certain bodily traits of the opposite sex, a figurative style rather than another, are embedded in what we call “aesthetic experience”, a complex network of instinctive reactions, emotions, feelings, thoughts, and judgements. Are these preferences universal and species-specific, that is to say are they the same for every member of a particular species? Evolutionary psychologists advocate the universality and species-specificity of the aesthetic preferences. Going back to Darwin's writings, in particular to his Notebooks, Bartalesi and Portera attempt to provide an alternative explanation for the emergence and development of human aesthetic preferences, beyond the dichotomy of nature and culture.


Aesthetic Mind; evolutionary Aesthetics; aesthetic preferences; Charles Darwin; nature-culture dichotomy

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