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Anne Dalke's picture

what is the value of beauty?

During our discussion, on Thursday, about "beauty as the last restrictive institution," I mentioned a relevant short story, and promised you the cite. It's Ted Chiang's "Liking What You See: A Documentary," in his collection, Stories of Your Life and Others:

"Evolution gave us a circuit that responds to good looks – call it the pleasure receptor for our visual cortex...in our natural environment, it was useful to have."

The question the story plays with is whether it's wise to abolish the discriminative category of beauty: what value does it have, as a mechanism for survival, proliferation, pleasure??

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