Survival of the Beautiful by David Rothenberg
Art, Science, and Evolution

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And this is the triumphant lesson of Survival of the Beautiful: nature is not entirely red in tooth and claw, it also allows the beautiful right of passage.
-Guardian

Synopsis

"The peacock's tail," said Charles Darwin, "makes me sick." That's because the theory of evolution as adaptation can't explain why nature is so beautiful. It took the concept of sexual selection for Darwin to explain that, a process that has more to do with aesthetics than the practical. Survival of the Beautiful is a revolutionary new examination of the interplay of beauty, art, and culture in evolution. Taking inspiration from Darwin's observation that animals have a natural aesthetic sense, philosopher and musician David Rothenberg probes why animals, humans included, have innate appreciation for beauty-and why nature is, indeed, beautiful.

Sexual selection may explain why animals desire, but it says very little about what they desire. Why will a bowerbird literally murder another bird to decorate its bower with the victim's blue feathers? Why do butterfly wings boast such brilliantly varied patterns? The beauty of nature is not arbitrary, even if random mutation has played a role in evolution. What can we learn from the amazing range of animal aesthetic behavior-about animals, and about ourselves?

Readers who enjoyed the bestsellers The Art Instinct and The Mind's Eye will find Survival of the Beautiful an equally stimulating and profound exploration of art, science, and the creative impulse.
 

About David Rothenberg

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Philosopher and jazz musician David Rothenberg is professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the author of Survival of the Beautiful, Why Birds Sing, and Thousand Mile Song. He lives in the Hudson Valley, New York.
 
Published November 1, 2011 by Bloomsbury Press. 320 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Arts & Photography, Science & Math, Law & Philosophy, Education & Reference, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Survival of the Beautiful
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Peter Forbes on Feb 10 2012

And this is the triumphant lesson of Survival of the Beautiful: nature is not entirely red in tooth and claw, it also allows the beautiful right of passage.

Read Full Review of Survival of the Beautiful: Ar... | See more reviews from Guardian

Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by WILLIAM BRYANT LOGAN on Feb 03 2012

...Survival of the Beautiful is a wild ride. But at its heart is a wonderful wish: to make us see the stories and the beauty in everything...

Read Full Review of Survival of the Beautiful: Ar... | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

Reader Rating for Survival of the Beautiful
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