Denis Dutton

Denis Laurence Dutton (9 February 1944 to 28 December 2010) [1] was an American philosopher of art, web entrepreneur, and media activist. He was a professor of philosophy at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch , New Zealand . He was ook a co-founder and co-editor of the website Arts & Letters Daily ,, and [2]

Life and career

Denis Dutton was born in Los Angeles , California , United States, on 9 February 1944, as the second or four children or William and Thelma Dutton, [3] who ulcers Booksellers and founded what became Dutton’s Books , a chain of independent Bookstores. [1] He Grew up in North Hollywood, graduated from North Hollywood High School , [3] and was educated at the University of California, Santa Barbara , where he earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1966 and his PhD in philosophy in 1975. [1] Between taking synthesis degrees, he went to India with the Peace Corps and learned to play sitar . [1] Dutton taught at verschillende American universities, zoals the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of Michigan-Dearborn voordat emigrating to New Zealand.

Dutton started teaching at the University of Canterbury , Christchurch , in 1984. [1] From 2008 to 2010 he was the Head of the Philosophy school in an Unofficial capacity and ActEd briefly as Head of Humanities. At its December 2010 graduation ceremony, the University of Canterbury Awarded Dutton a research medal for his work. [4]

He was a member of the editorial board for The Rutherford Journal . [5]

On 28 December 2010, Dutton mayest from cancer . [6] [7]

Arts & Letter Daily

Main article: Arts & Letters Daily

Dutton was best known for the web aggregation site Arts & Letters Daily , welke he founded in 1998 and welke secured im a place onder “the Most Influential media personalities in the world”. [8] The site DESCRIBED as “the first and Foremost aggregator or well-written and well-argued book reviews, essays, and other articles in the realm of ideas”, [9] features links to articles across the web about literature, art, science, and politics, for welke Dutton wrote pithy teasers. [1] In recognition of Arts & Letters Daily , Steven Pinker called Dutton a visionary for recognizing therein a website “Could be a forum for cutting-edge ideas, not just a way to sell things or entertain the bored.” [3]


Dutton served as executive director of Cybereditions, a print-on-demand publishing company he founded in 2000. [10] welke gespecialiseerd in new and out-of-print copyrighted works, mostly of a scholarly nature. The editorial board of the company has included other Academics zoals Frederick Crews , Anthony Grafton and Marjorie Perloff . [11]


Dutton wrote on authenticity in art and distinguished tussen nominal authenticity in welke a work of art is Correctly Attributed to zijn author Rather dan being a forgery, and expressive authenticity , where a work is a true expression of an individual’s or a society’s values and beliefs . [12]

In his book The Art Instinct (2010) [13] Dutton opposes the view dat art appreciation is cultureel learned, claiming Limit download dat art appreciation Stems from evolutionary adaptions made prolongation the Pleistocene . [14] He set out Abbreviated versions of his theory in a 2009 Google Talk lecture [15] and a 2010 TED talk . [16]

Dutton ook argued dat progress in the arts and sciences had declined, met name since around 1800. [17]

Criticism or academic prose

As editor of the journal Philosophy and Literature , Dutton ran the Bad Writing Contest, welke aimed to “expose” pretentious, swaggering GIBBERISH ‘passed off as scholarship at leading universities. ” [3] In 1995, the contest was won by Homi K. Bhabha and Fredric Jameson . [18] In 1998, the contest Awarded first place to University of California-Berkeley Professor Judith Butler , for a sentence welke Appeared in the journal diacritics . [19] Butler defended re work Against the charges or academic pedantry and obscurantism in the pages of The New York Times . [20] Dutton-then ended the contest.

The Bad Writing Contest emerged in an intellectual climate dominated by fallout from the Sokal affair , [21] [22] in welke the alleged opaqueness and obscurity or postmodern writing cameramen in for criticism: Edward Said , for instance, deplored “diminishment and incoherence” in the Writings of some of his colleagues’ and Martha Nussbaum condemned academic writing that was “ponderous and obscure”. [23]

Politics and activism

Dutton supported “conservative ideas” [24] and was a member of the Libertarian Party for some years. [3]

Dutton was one of the founding members and first chair of the NZ Skeptics . His skepticism led im to believe that ‘ climate change is still an open question. ” [25]

He was a passionate supporter ook or public radio . In the early 1990s he founded the lobbying group The New Zealand Friends of Public Broadcasting in response to proposals to devolve New Zealand’s two non-commercial public radio stations. [26]

In 1995 he was appointed to the board of directors or Radio New Zealand , where he served for seven years. [27] After concluding his term as a director, Dr. Dutton and Dr. John Isles Issued a report criticising Radio New Zealand for loss or neutrality in news and current affairs, failure to adhere to charters and Opposed to contestable funding or broadcasting. [28]


Dutton’s publications include:

  • Denis Laurence Dutton (1974). Art and anthropology: aspects of criticism and the social studies . University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • Denis Dutton (1983). The Forger’s Art: forgery and the philosophy of art . University of California Press. ISBN  0-520-04341-3 .
  • Denis Dutton; Michael Krausz (1985). The Concept of creativity in science and art . M. Nijhoff. ISBN  90-247-3127-5 .
  • Denis Dutton (2003). Jerrold Levinson, ed. “Authenticity in Art” . The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics . Oxford University Press.
  • Charles A. Murray; Denis Dutton; Claire Fox (2008). In Praise of elitism . Centre for Independent Studies, The. ISBN  1-86432-166-0 .
  • Denis Dutton (2009). The art instinct: beauty, pleasure, & human evolution . Oxford University Press US. ISBN  0-19-953942-1 .
  • Michael Krausz; Denis Dutton; Karen Bardsley (2009). The idea of creativity . BRILL. ISBN  90-04-17444-3 .


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f Fox, Margalit (31 December 2010). “Denis Dutton, Philosopher, Dies at 66” . New York Times .
  2. Jump up^ Ray Sawhill (3 November 2000). “The gleeful contrarian” . Archived from the original on 7 March 2008 . Retrieved 25 March 2008 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Woo, Elaine (2 January 2011). “Denis Dutton dies at 66: Founder of Arts & Letters Daily website” . Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2012-02-27 .
  4. Jump up^ Matthews, Philip (16 December 2010). “Renowned academic receives top honor” . The Press . Retrieved 27 September 2011 .
  5. Jump up^ “Editorial board” . The Rutherford Journal . Retrieved 19 January 2016 .
  6. Jump up^ “Sir, web entrepreneur Denis Dutton dies” . The Press . 28 December 2010 . Retrieved 27 September 2011 .
  7. Jump up^ “Doctor author Denis Dutton dies aged 66” . BBC News . December 29, 2010.
  8. Jump up^ Grossman, Lev (13 June 2004). “Meet Joe Blog” . Time .
  9. Jump up^ Eskin, Blake (28 December 2010). “Denis Dutton” . The New Yorker .
  10. Jump up^ Boynton, Robert S. (11 November 2000). “Accumulation Web Success Strikes Twice” . New York Times . New York.
  11. Jump up^ Riemer, Andrew (3 March 2001). “Reading tussen de dots”. Sydney Morning Herald . p. 8.
  12. Jump up^ Denis Dutton (2003). Jerrold Levinson, ed. “Authenticity in Art” . The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics . Oxford University Press.
  13. Jump up^ Dutton, Denis (2010). The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution . Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN  1-60819-055-2 .
  14. Jump up^ Gottlieb, Anthony (1 February 2009). “The Descent of Taste” . The New York Times . Retrieved 2010-05-01 .
  15. Jump up^ Dennis Dutton (2009). Authors @ Google: Dennis Dutton . Mountain View, CA: . Retrieved 27 February 2012 .
  16. Jump up^ Dutton, Denis (Contributor) (February 2010). Denis Dutton: A Darwinian theory of beauty . TED. Video on . Retrieved 2012-03-12 .
  17. Jump up^ Dutton, Denis. “Of Human accomplishment” . .
  18. Jump up^ Dutton, Denis (1998). “The Bad Writing Contest: Press Releases, 1996-1998” . . Retrieved 2010-10-30 .
  19. Jump up^ Dutton, Denis (5 February 1999). “Language Crimes: A Lesson in How Not to Write, Courtesy of the Professoriate” . The Wall Street Journal . Retrieved 2010-10-30 .
  20. Jump up^ Butler, Judith (20 March 1999). “A ‘Bad Writer Bites Back” . New York Times . Retrieved 2010-10-30 .
  21. Jump up^ Leo, John (13 March 1999). “Pomobabble rooted in ivy.” The Washington Times . p. C1.
  22. Jump up^ Kelly, Richard (8 April 1999). “Bad blood over bath writing: Critics say US academic language has Become so convoluted dat it is largely incomprehensible to the point where argument is Becoming Impossible”. The Irish Times . p. 15.
  23. Jump up^ Smith, Dinitia (27 February 1999). “When Ideas Get Lost in Bad Writing: Attacks on scholars include a barbed contest with” great prizes ‘ ‘ . The New York Times . p. B9.
  24. Jump up^ Colebatch, Hal GP (30 December 2010). “Vale Denis Dutton: A professor of philosophy who civilized the Internet” . American Spectator .
  25. Jump up^ “And in this corner …” . The Press . 2 January 2008.
  26. Jump up^ “NZine: Public broadcasting- Not everyone is apathetic” . 18 July 1998 . Retrieved 2008-03-27 .
  27. Jump up^ Marion Hobbs, MP (4 February 2002). “Board Appointments for NZOA and RNZ” . New Zealand Government . Retrieved 2008-03-26 .
  28. Jump up^ Coddington, Deborah MP (30 March 2004). “Parliamentary debates: 3rd reading or Radio New Zealand Amendment Bill” . Hansard . Retrieved 2008-03-27 . [ Dead link ]