To Deceive a Trout: Towards an Expansion of the Category of the Aesthetic

Justin E. H. Smith in his own blog:

Vladimir Nabokov was not only being contrarian when he came out against the theory of evolution. He really meant it. “Natural selection in the Darwinian sense,” he wrote, “could not explain the miraculous coincidence of imitative aspect and imitative behavior, nor could one appeal to the theory of ‘the struggle for life’ when a protective device was carried to a point of mimetic subtlety, exuberance, and luxury far in excess of a predator’s power of appreciation.”[1]

Of course, few would mistake the stubborn Russian-American author for a typical representative of the creationist position, though the difference has to do mostly with emphasis. The creationist wants to say that nothing is nature, but all is art, or, more precisely, the artifice of a certain highly esteemed Artificer. Nabokov by contrast wants to say that art is natural, that our mimetic activity is not an exception to what nature is doing all the time, but rather an instance of it.

I will not help to lend legitimacy to creationism by agreeing with Nabokov here. Or at least I will not affirm his claim as a scientific claim. But as an opening to a general theory of art, he is surely onto something.

More here.