This week’s TED talk is an amazing and aesthetically pleasing talk on a Darwinian theory of beauty. The talk is given by Denis Dutton but is done in collaboration with animator Andrew Park to produce a truly beautiful, but controversial presentation.
Dutton argues for a universal philosophy of beauty that, much like Sam Harris’ universal morality, is based on science. In this case, Dutton believes that our universal appreciation of beauty is an evolutionary adaptation with deep origins.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed the talk, I disagree with Dutton. While it is possible that there are aspects of beauty which are universal (and perhaps the appreciation of and longing for beauty is itself the universal aspect), I don’t believe the reason for this is because of evolution. Yes, natural and sexual selection are essential in our development as a species but to say these determine artistic preferences seems like *just* a bit of a stretch.
I’d encourage everyone to watch the presentation and enjoy it simply for its creativity and beauty. Then come on back and share what you think about his ideas. Do you agree with him or with me?