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Human Lifeworlds

The Cognitive Semiotics of Cultural Evolution

Edited By David Dunér and Göran Sonesson

This book, which presents a cognitive-semiotic theory of cultural evolution, including that taking place in historical time, analyses various cognitive-semiotic artefacts and abilities. It claims that what makes human beings human is fundamentally the semiotic and cultural skills by means of which they endow their Lifeworld with meaning. The properties that have made human beings special among animals living in the terrestrial biosphere do not derive entirely from their biological-genetic evolution, but also stem from their interaction with the environment, in its culturally interpreted form, the Lifeworld. This, in turn, becomes possible thanks to the human ability to learn from other thinking beings, and to transfer experiences, knowledge, meaning, and perspectives to new generations.
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Michael Ranta - Chapter Five : Art: On the Evolutionary Foundations of Art and Aesthetics

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Michael Ranta

Chapter Five

Art: On the Evolutionary Foundations of Art and Aesthetics

Traditional attempts to define aesthetic key concepts such as “art,” “aesthetic value,” and “beauty” have frequently meant finding their core characteristics or necessary and jointly sufficient conditions. At the same time, the history of art has been one of more or less radical creativity that has challenged and often departed from suggested essential features of these concepts, and this conceptual openness has become even more acute during the twentieth century. Moreover, art-related concepts such as “beauty” and “aesthetic value” are highly problematic anyway, given their broad applicability within and outside art, and sometimes based on other controversial notions, e.g. “disinterested pleasure” or “aesthetic experience.”

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