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(2016)HUMAN ETHOLOGY BULLETIN.31(1).p.47-59 Mark abstract Art is often described as an evolutionary adaptation, but not enough thought has been given to arguments in support of this claim. This can lead to a variety of explanatory issues, such as unjustly describing artmaking as an adaptation, not recognizing its complex nature, and its potentially even more complex evolutionary trajectory. This paper addresses one subject in particular, which is the conceptual distinction between ultimate and proximate levels of explanation. More specifically, this brief analysis investigates to what extent functional, adaptive explanations and proximate mechanisms might be confused, leading to strong adaptationist claims that may not be in accordance with the available evidence. In this paper, two hypotheses are discussed from this perspective, and it is argued that both of them, upon closer and more extensive analysis, might not stand the adaptationist test.

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Author: Eveline Seghers



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