Title Bioaesthetics
Subtitle Making Sense of Life in Science and the Arts
Author Carsten Strathausen
ISBN 9781517900755
List price GBP 24.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 304
Book size 140 x 216 mm
Publishing year 2017
Original publisher University Of Minnesota Press (Combined Academic Publishers)
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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“If you’ve ever wondered how we’ve gotten to the point where virtually every cultural theory field now boasts a ‘bio-’ or ‘neuro-’ subfield, Carsten Strathausen’s Bioaesthetics is an excellent guide. Setting the stage with scrupulous readings of historical controversies, Strathausen then incisively critiques the reductionist ‘biologism’ he finds in ‘literary Darwinism,’ ‘biopoetics,’ ‘neuroaestethics,’ and so on, before judiciously tackling Deleuze and affect theory. A powerful and insightful study, Bioaesthetics rewards the reader with clarifying and careful mappings of important contemporary concepts.”

—John Protevi, author of Life, War, Earth: Deleuze and the Sciences


In recent years, bioaesthetics has used the latest discoveries in evolutionary studies and neuroscience to provide new ways of looking at art and aesthetics. Carsten Strathausen’s remarkable exploration of this emerging field is the first comprehensive account of its ideas, as well as a timely critique of its limitations. Strathausen familiarizes readers with the basics of bioaesthetics, grounding them in its philosophical underpinnings while articulating its key components. Importantly, he delves into the longstanding problem of the “two cultures” that separate the arts and the sciences. Seeking to make bioaesthetics a more robust way of thinking, Strathausen then critiques it for failing to account for science’s historical and cultural assumptions. At its worst, he says, biologism reduces artworks to mere automatons that rubber-stamp pre-established scientific truths. Written with a sensitive understanding of science’s strengths, and willing to refute its best arguments, Bioaesthetics helps readers separate the sensible from the specious. At a time when humanities departments are shrinking—and when STEM education is on the rise—Bioaesthetics makes vital points about the limitations of science, while lodging a robust defense of the importance of the humanities.



Introduction: The Biological Nature of What? • Against Consilience • What Is Bioaesthetics? • Structure and Chapters

Chapter 1. Human Nature after Kant • Kant and Biology • Preformation and Epigenesis before 1800 • Emergent Life (Autopoiesis and Cognition) • Sensus Communis Aestheticus

Chapter 2. Marxism and Biology • Marx and Darwin • Chance and Necessity, or Kant Revisited • Science and Politics • A Biologistic Theory of History • On Norm-Circularity and Aleatory Materialism

Chapter 3. Cultural Evolution • Sociobiology • Evolutionary Psychology (EP) • Social Learning and Sociogenesis • Of Memes and Culturgens • Technogenesis

Chapter 4. Evolutionary Aesthetics • Art and Nature • A Survey of the Field • Literary Darwinism Revisited • Cognitive Studies

Chapter 5. Neuroaesthetics • How to “Read” a Brain Scan • The Cerebral Subject • Consciousness • Neuronal Aesthetics: The Historical View • Neuroaesthetics: The Scientific View • “The Pre-existing Idea within Us”: Zeki’s Platonism

Coda • Deleuze and Affect • A Posthuman Aesthetics?



About the Author:

Carsten Strathausen is professor of German and English and Catherine Paine Middlebush Chair in Humanities at the University of Missouri. He is editor of A Leftist Ontology: Beyond Relativism and Identity Politics (Minnesota, 2009) and author of The Look of Things: Poetry and Vision around 1900, as well as translator of Under Suspicion: A Phenomenology of Media by Boris Groys.

Target Audience:

People interested in Science and arts.

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