Art Is not Special: An Assault on the Last Lines of Defense against the Naturalization of the Human Mind

Martin Skov, Marcos Nadal

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

222 Downloads (Pure)


The assumption that human cognition requires exceptional explanations holds strong in some domains of behavioral and brain sciences. Scientific aesthetics in general, and neuroaesthetics in particular, abound with claims for art-specific cognitive or neural processes. This assumption fosters a conceptual structure disconnected from other fields and biases the sort of processes to be studied. More generally, assuming that art is special is to cling to the idea that some aspect of our species’ mental constitution makes us unique, special, and meaningful. This assumption continues to relegate scientific aesthetics to the periphery of science and hampers a naturalized view of the human mind.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReviews in the Neurosciences
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)699-702
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Published online: 2018-01-26


  • Art
  • Neuroaesthetics
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychology
  • Reward
  • Scientific aesthetics

Cite this