|dc.description.abstract||In 1934 John Dewey laid the foundation of a Philosophy of Art which had its roots in the essential conditions of life, that is, the basic vital functions which human beings share with birds and beasts. Dewey asserted that at every moment living creatures are exposed to conflicts from its surroundings, and at every moment they try to restore the harmony, to satisfy their needs. Fifty four years after, Ben-Ami Scharfstein published his book Of Birds, Beasts and other Artists (1988) in which he tries to show the universality of the art instinct in humans, animals and birds. He returns to the biological background of art and explains how human beings and other animals are pushed to self-expression by their personal and social needs. Although he recognizes an explicit expressive behaviour of human beings, also indicates that if we want to understand our nature and the art we create, we will not deny these biological roots. The aim of this paper is to examine that continuity between art and life from a comparative approach to the views of these authors.
This paper’s presentation explores two main points: the naturalistic background of aesthetics and the functionality of art such as manifestation of a culture. I begin drawing a comparison between deweyan naturalistic humanism and Scharfstein’s biological thesis. Both authors emphasize how important it is the natural context to develop aesthetic experiences, however, they present big differences in their epistemological elaborations. Secondly, I would like to address fundamental similarities between Dewey’s notion of art as a celebration of the life of a culture and Scharfstein’s view of art as exhibition of the deep forms of individual and culture, carried in his recent work Art without borders (2009). They show how all human beings share the condition that makes art both universal and indispensable. Despite the divergences, these proposals provide a global overview of art’s creation and reception which attempt to demonstrate the rich background of our lives from which we create art as a way of leading a meaningful life.||es_ES