1

Context:

Anyone could hazard suggestions for the biological purposes of art – it eases social interactions, it is a mark of status and of the conspicuous display of consumption that indicates superior health and wealth.

Two questions about the sentence above:

  1. Does "it" go to "the fact that anyone could hazard suggestions" or "biological purposes of art"?

  2. Does "status" mean the social status of people in the society?

6
  • It means just art here, and yes, status is social status / affluence. This feels too short for an answer. Aug 29 '15 at 4:43
  • More nonsense from Sian Ede. A few lines after the text you inquire about, she writes, "Art is certainly an important armament in the process of sexual selection." Got any idea what means? Neither do I. These strings of words may have some private meaning. Ede might be able to articulate her meaning, but I wouldn't count on it. Even if she could, her ideas are based on complete ignorance of biology.
    – deadrat
    Aug 29 '15 at 5:17
  • @deadrat I've never read Sian Ede but so far I've seen nothing I can disagree with. Art is part of sexual selection. Try getting a date wearing out of style, mismatched clothing. In biology looking just right is a big part of the mating dance. That's your sexual selection right there. I'll admit there isn't a lot to learn here. Just a slightly different way to think about it. She beating the old, "Art is everywhere" drum. Aug 29 '15 at 17:51
  • @CandiedOrange You've never read anything by Sian Ede? Count yourself lucky. But, as you've demonstrated, there's no reason to read anything she writes to have an opinion on the topic. Or our guess about the topic. Do you know anything about sexual selection? I don't know much, but I do know that valid conclusions require statistical analyses of allele frequencies. Is "Art" well enough defined to do that? What's the difference between art and "an armament in the process" of sexual selection. Or should I be asking about the difference between sexual selection and the armament?
    – deadrat
    Aug 29 '15 at 18:03
  • @deadrat Sexual selection is about the opinions of others. Art is about the opinions of others. Valid conclusions only require valid reasoning (being right only requires being lucky). Statistical analyses is about using math to prove something from data. Data is just something you've measured. Your allele frequencies don't mean squat to your potential mate if they don't produce something that is considered in style. Style is part of Art. It's not that what I've seen here is wrong but how much is there to learn here? I'd hate to see this simple point stretched out into an entire book. Aug 29 '15 at 18:23
2

It "goes to" art. As in:

  • Art eases social interactions
  • Art is a mark of status and of the conspicuous display of consumption that indicates superior health and wealth.

These things are some of arts "biological purposes".

If the sentence had read:

Anyone could hazard suggestions for the biological purposes of art – they ease social interactions, they are a mark of status and of the conspicuous display of consumption that indicates superior health and wealth.

Then they would have meant "biological purposes of art".

1
  • It's a clue that you can change the pronouns and the passage still makes as much sense as the original. You might want to correct the plural "arts" to the possessive in the fifth line. I'm upvoting based on the proper use of scare quotes.
    – deadrat
    Aug 29 '15 at 5:23

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