"Dissanayake argues that art was central to human evolutionary adaptation and that the aesthetic faculty is a basic psychological component of every human being. In her view, art is intimately linked to the origins of religious practices and to ceremonies of birth, death, transition, and transcendence. Drawing on her years in Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and Papua New Guinea, she gives examples of painting, song, dance, and drama as behaviors that enable participants to grasp and reinforce what is important to their cognitive world."
"Ellen Dissanayake's book is the most forceful rejoinder I've read so far to the trivializing pessimism of postmodernist art theory."
-Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle
"Affirm[s] the idea that art is for life's sake, for the fulfillment of fundamental human needs, and for human survival. . . . She gives us a coherent rationale for funding broadly based arts programs."
"Homo Aestheticus offers a wealth of original and critical thinking. It will inform and irritate specialist, student, and lay reader alike."
"Homo Aestheticus calls for a counterrevolution in our thinking about art. It is timely, provocative, and immensely valuable."
-Philosophy and Literature