Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Literature and Philosophy, Florence University
Period of residence: 
14 septembre 2015 - 12 février 2016
Research project: 
Rethinking Evolutionary Aesthetics beyond Nature and Culture: a Darwinian Perspective
Summary of the research project: 

The state of the art in Evolutionary Aesthetics is today unsatisfactory. The dominant model has neglected to consider Darwin's original aesthetic theory and the crucial role that this latter plays in the architecture of evolutionary theory. In addition, Evolutionary Aesthetics reflects the limitations of the reductionist approach of contemporary Evolutionary Psychology focused on the concepts of gene, on the exclusivity of natural selection, and on a notion of aesthetic mostly restricted to the sexual dimension. Following Darwin's suggestion in the Notebooks (1838-1840), in particular for the relationship established between repeated actions (habits), brain modifications and the acquisition of instincts, we need an ecological and interactionist model of the aesthetic behaviours. The aim of this project is show that the hypothesis for the development of the aesthetic instincts given by Darwin presents correspondences with the latest outcomes of contemporary evolutionary research, currently involved in extending the paradigm of the Modern synthesis, and could be very helpful in order to rethink the evolution of aesthetic beyond the dualism between innate dispositions and cultural development.

Lien(s) web:

Lorenzo Bartalesi is postdoctoral researcher at Università di Firenze with a research project on expressivism and epigenesis of aesthetic attitude (since 2012). In 2011 he completed his PhD at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris with a thesis on naturalistic models of aesthetic cognition. He received the New Aesthetics Prize from the Società Italiana di Estetica (2009) and in 2014 he obtained the National Academic Qualification as Maître de conferences (section 17) in France and the National Academic Qualification as Associate Professor (11/C4) in Italy. He took part of two national research project on the news perspectives in philosophical aesthetics (PRIN 20015 e 2009) and he received a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships for the years 2016-2018 with a research project on the role of aesthetic behaviours in the dynamics of cultural transmission. He is Managing Editor of the journal Aisthesis.

His research is on the role of expressive behaviours in human evolution, on cognitive and anthropological aesthetics, on the origin of art. As well as numerous writings on Charles Darwin’s aesthetics and on philosophical naturalism, he is the author of the monograph, Estetica evoluzionistica. Darwin e l’origine del senso estetico (Carocci 2012) and he edited the issues of the journals Rivista di Estetica (“The Aesthetic Experience in the Evolutionary Perspective”, 2013) and Aisthesis (“Aesthetics and evolutionism: An interdisciplinary dialogue”, 2013). Between the papers on evolutionary and naturalistic aesthetics: Aesthetic preferences: An evolutionary approach, in Panebianco F., Serrelli E. (eds.), Understanding Cultural Traits. A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Cultural Diversity, Springer (forthcoming); “L’horizon anthropologique de l’esthétique naturaliste”, Nouvelle Revue Esthétique, 15, 2015/1, pp. 43-57; “Beyond the nature-culture dichotomy: a proposal for Evolutionary Aesthetics”, Aisthesis, Vol 8, No 1, 2015, pp. 101-111.

Curriculum Vitae: