I used the analogy of Noam Chomsky and his theory of language to describe Denis Dutton’s aims in his new book, The Art Instinct. As much as I disagree with Chomsky’s anarcho-syndicalist politics, I think his achievement lies quite far apart from his politics (though even this could be argued).
Dutton’s book may be more of an attempt to use libertarian principles, Darwin’s Origin Of Species, and perhaps ultimately the transcendental idealism of Immanuel Kant to try and direct the arts in our country in a new direction (hopefully away from the toxic mix of politics and moral sentiment active in many of our universities and major publications, often on the left…which can divide us politically).
This could be a useful goal.
However, it doesn’t seem quite like philosophy, and seems much more like aesthetics (deep theories about art and the pursuit of beauty and truth within it).
Perhaps it’s not radical enough to be ignored and reviled as much as it could be?
Dutton’s bloggingheads appearance here.
Dutton On The Colbert Report here.
Again, I’m saying a lot on very little, as I haven’t read the book. Your thoughts and comments are welcome.
Addition: I have read the book and offered some commentary (not a formal book review): Review of Denis Dutton’s ‘The Art Instinct’
Dutton also runs the Arts & Letters Daily, which can be found on the blogroll at right.