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The Aesthetic Brain
takes readers on an exciting journey through the world of beauty, pleasure, and art. Using the latest advances in neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, Anjan Chatterjee investigates how an aesthetic sense is etched into our minds, and explains why artistic concerns feature centrally in our lives. Along the way, Chatterjee addresses such fundamental questions as: What is beauty? Is it universal? How is beauty related to pleasure? What is art? Should art be beautiful? Do we have an instinct for art?
Early on, Chatterjee probes the reasons why we find people, places, and even numbers beautiful, highlighting the important relationship between beauty and pleasure. Examining our pleasures allows him to reveal why we enjoy things like food, sex, and money, and how these rewards relate to our aesthetic encounters. Chatterjee's detailed discussion of beauty and pleasure equips readers to confront essential questions about the nature of art, the problems of defining it, and the challenges of interpreting its modern, non-traditional forms. Replete with facts, anecdotes, and analogies, this lively empirical guide to aesthetics offers scientific answers to fundamental questions without deflating the intrinsic wonders of beauty and art in an affordable paperback edition.