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Prum’s Aesthetic Theory of Evolution: Beauty Happens and it can Change a Great Many Things

Review of: Richard O. Prum. The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World - and Us. Anchor Books, New York. 448 p.
  • Andrej Spiridonov
Article

A recent book by Yale ornithologist Richard Prum (2017) is an excellent example of the Victorian era-style “popular” expositions of innovative ideas in the form of a book-long argument, which are easily understandable for an educated person and of great interest for an expert. In his quest to explain the myriad of intricate and seemingly evolutionarily useless ornaments and other signalling structures and patterns found in the animal kingdom, the author touches on several profound conceptual issues in evolutionary theory, theoretical biology, and the methodology of science itself. Even though this book’s argument is not explicitly framed in the light of a semiotic paradigm, major approaches and conclusions run parallel to it. After reading this book, the central role of organismic choice and the non-exclusivity of extrinsic natural selection in shaping evolutionary change will appear much more plausible for most readers. Here, I will concentrate on several key points discussed in the...

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geology and MineralogyVilnius UniversityVilniusLithuania
  2. 2.Laboratory of Bedrock Geology, Nature Research CentreVilniusLithuania

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