What is Art For?

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University of Washington Press, 1990 - Philosophy - 249 pages
Reprint. Originally published in 1982 by Payot, Paris. Courbin emphatically argues that the primary task of archaeology is the establishment of facts--stratigraphies, time sequences, and identifications of tools, bones, potsherds--and that archaeology is a distinct discipline, separate from history and anthropology. A new theory of the evolutionary significance of art (meaning not only visual art, but music, poetic language, dance, and performance). Art is regarded from a biobehavioral or ethological viewpoint and is shown to be a biological necessity in human existence and a fundamental characteristic of the human species. Dissanayake claims that the arts evolved as a means of making socially important activities memorable and pleasurable, and thus have been essential to human survival. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

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What is art for?

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The author's attempt to substantiate her thesis "that although the arts are a cultural phenomenon, Art might profitably be viewed as a prior, biological one'' is thwarted by her muddled approach to ... Read full review

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