Friday, 26 Aug 2016 7:00 PM
What Is Beauty?
TED speakers conjure up beauty both ancient and modern, and suggest reasons why humans are hardwired to crave and respond to beauty.
Denis Dutton: Are some Things Universally Beautiful?
Philosopher Denis Dutton suggests that humans are hard-wired to seek beauty.
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. – James Duncan Davidson/TED
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.
Denis Dutton and Nancy Etcoff: Are We Hard-Wired for Beauty?
Psychologist Nancy Etcoff joins philosopher Denis Dutton to explain why beauty inspires and motivates us. Etcoff says our response to beauty is visceral, and we use strong words — like “bombshell” — when we talk about it.
About Nancy Etcoff
Nancy Etcoff is part of a new vanguard of cognitive researchers asking: Why do we like beautiful things? And how on earth did we evolve that way? In her book Survival of the Prettiest, she refutes the social origins of beauty in favor of far more prosaic and evolutionary explanations. Looking for a partner with clear skin? You’re actually checking for parasites. And let’s just say there’s a reason high heels are always in fashion.
Her recent research into the question of happiness exposes results that not only are surprising, but also reinforce things we should have known all along, like the fact that having flowers in the house really does make us happier. As the instructor of “The Science of Happiness” at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Program in Aesthetics and Well-Being at Massachusetts General Hospital, Etcoff is uniquely qualified to solve the mysteries of contentment.
How Does Beauty Feel?
March 19, 20132:38 PM ET
About Richard Seymour’s TED Talk
A story, a work of art, a face, a designed object — how do we tell that something is beautiful? And why does it matter so much to us? Designer Richard Seymour explores our response to beauty and the surprising power of objects that exhibit it.
Is [beauty] there to make us feel good, or is it there to help us navigate and understand our lives? – Richard Seymour
About Richard Seymour
As a partner with Seymourpowell, Richard Seymour designs idea-driven products — from household goods to trains and motorcycles. Seymour works on products with soul — from a curvy iron to a swift and sleek motorcycle. Seymourpowell is regarded as one of the world’s leading product and innovation design consultancies, with clients that include Ford, Virgin Galactic, Tefal, Casio, Nokia, Guinness, Samsung and Unilever. Seymour has appeared extensively on British television, most notably in two series on design for Channel 4: Better by Design andDesigns,and on several radio productions. In the 1980s, Seymour co-wrote The Mirrorstone, a children’s book full of holograms, with Michael Palin.