in the new york times, an attractive cogitation on the origins of moral norms by iain de witt. here's an interesting conclusion:
philosopher patricia churchland does the logistry.A four-dimensional scheme for social behavior that is shaped by interlocking brain processes: (1) caring (rooted in attachment to kin and kith and care for their well-being), (2) recognition of others’ psychological states (rooted in the benefits of predicting the behavior of others), (3) problem-solving in a social context (e.g., how we should distribute scarce goods, settle land disputes; how we should punish the miscreants), and (4) learning social practices (by positive and negative reinforcement, by imitation, by trial and error, by various kinds of conditioning, and by analogy).
what i'd like to do is to extrapolate her conclusion above into the realm of art. i.e., what does this do?
|eviscerated bison in lascaux caves|
let's leave aside the notion of representation as meme. re-presentation is clearly symbolic. art, 1- identifies an action pattern for the ancient paleolithic human, 2- it condenses images as "magic" (an epistemic as well as cultural practice), 3- as art evolves, from 1 & 2, into cultural habits (religion is another example) that are passed on throughout generations, art becomes a self-evolutionary mechanism.
this conclusion better contextualizes contemporary aesthetics' received picture of kantian purposelessness, arthoodication, etc, by demoting art's value for the sake of art's needs.