Episode 142 - Darwin vs. The Art Critic: Evolutionary Psychology’s Challenge to Aesthetics
August 27, 2012
An examination of the role and valuation of art in society.
On May 15, 2008, the Center for Inquiry – Michigan at Grand Rapids presented a lecture by art professor Jeremy Beahan titled, “Darwin vs. the Art Critic: Evolutionary Psychology’s Challenge to Aesthetics.”
Is art purely a matter of taste? Or do human nature and psychology dictate certain minimum requirements for any aesthetic in which people will find beauty?
How have developments in human self-understanding, from Enlightenment philosophy to cutting-edge evolutionary psychology, shaped our understanding of human responses to art? Does science shed valuable light, or should scientists get out of the way and leave questions of aesthetics to art critics? Jeremy Behan discusses the role and valuation of art in human society from the Enlightenment era to today.
Jeremy Beahan is adjunct instructor of aesthetics and philosophy at the Kendall College of Art and Design. Raised and educated a fundamentalist Christian, Beahan graduated from Grace Bible College and Cornerstone University. While training for ministry, he underwent a dramatic de-conversion as the culmination of many years of questioning.