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Are Some Things Universally Beautiful?

By NPR Staff | 03/19/2013

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode What Is Beauty?

About Denis Dutton's TEDTalk

Denis Dutton has a provocative theory on beauty — that art, music and other beautiful things, far from being simply "in the eye of the beholder," are a core part of human nature with deep evolutionary origins.

About Denis Dutton

Denis Dutton was a philosophy professor and the editor of Arts & Letters Daily, before his death in 2010. Dutton also taught philosophy at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. In his book The Art Instinct, he suggests that art is a need built into our systems, a complex and subtle evolutionary adaptation comparable to our facility for language. We humans evolved to love art because it helps us survive; for example, a well-expressed appreciation of art can — even in modern times — help us to find a mate.
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