Last week, I argued that art couldn’t be a spandrel, at any rate not a spandrel on norms of beauty. In this, my concluding post on art and beauty, I want to advance two theses. The first is that our sense of beauty comes from art, not the other way around. And the second is that the art capacity is adaptive.
Let’s start with the sense of beauty, or more generally, the sense that things have aesthetic value. Throughout this series of posts, I have been sympathetic to Kant’s notion of disinterested pleasure. I judge a thing to be beautiful because it gives me pleasure (or displeasure) in a way that is disinterested, i.e., which is independent of my desiring it, or feeling an aversion to it.