Faculty of Arts

PHIL 732

Philosophy of the Arts 2

Please note: this is archived course information from 2020 for PHIL 732.


This course considers debates about the connections between aesthetics, the philosophy of art and human evolution.

Many theories of art are explored in depth. These include theories that group the arts and regard them as together serving some general adaptive function, that present particular art forms each as adaptive in their own distinctive fashion, that attempt to explain the origins of art, that argue that art is not itself adaptive but is a by-product of behaviours or systems that are and that analyse art as a technology not closely connected to evolved behaviours.

As well as philosophical literature on aesthetics and the philosophy of art, reference will be made to work in other disciplines, such as evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, evolution theory, philosophy of biology and art-based disciplines.


Coursework only

Availability 2020

Semester 1


Coordinator(s) Distinguished Professor Stephen Davies


Stephen Davies, The Artful Species. Available as an e-book via the library or in paperback.



Recommended Reading

Denis Dutton, The Art Instinct (Oxford: Oxford University Press OR New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2009).


PHIL 732: 15.0 points

Contact details | Search | Accessibility | Copyright | Privacy | Disclaimer | 1