A quick primer on bioaesthetics

less than 1 minute read

It's not here, but at Brainethics, where Martin Skov has written up a short intro to the evolution of aesthetics with a booklist from the recent literature.

Neuroaesthetics can be thought of as a part of a more general study of art and aesthetics as a biological phenomenon. I will follow other proponents of this view (such as Tecumseh Fitch) in calling this broader approach bioaesthetics. The overall goal of bioaesthetics is to answer the three basic biological questions - what?, how?, why? - in regard to aesthetic behaviour in humans: what is art and aesthetics?; how does art and aesthetics spring from the brain?; and why did this cognitive ability evolve in humans? Neuroaesthetics is predominantly concerned with question number 2. In the list that follows below I will also mention a number of books that discuss the other two questions.

If you are one of my students and this area interests you, this is as good a list of recent books on the topic as you will find.