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Historian Simon Schaffer on Beauty and Evolution

Historian of science Simon Schaffer explores beauty and evolution. Can the ideas of Charles Darwin help explain Simon's love of Mahler?

Historian of science Simon Schaffer is interested in the purpose of beauty within evolutionary explanations. Taking the ideas of Charles Darwin as his starting point, he wants to know how and why the capacity to see beauty evolved and whether this powerful, fleeting and apparently most useless of attributes can really have an evolutionary explanation. Simon talks to neuroscientist and biologist Stephen Rose and film-maker and anthropologist Chris Wright about whether Darwin really can explain why he finds Mahler's 5th Symphony beautiful.

This programme is part of a week of programmes looking at the history of ideas around Freedom.

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11 minutes

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