Brian Boyd

Brian Boyd is University Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Auckland. His evolutionary research focuses on literature, especially fiction, and on art, in their relation to evolution: as evolved behaviors, as appealing to evolved minds, as depicting behaviors and life histories shaped by evolution. He is particularly interested in the costs and benefits of earning or paying attention to art. His books include On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction, Why Lyrics Last: Evolution, Cognition, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets, the co-edited Evolution, Literature, and Film: A Reader, and the co-authored On the Origin of Art. He is editor of the book series Evolution, Cognition, and the Arts. Known best as a scholar of writer Vladimir Nabokov, he was drawn into evolutionary work partly by Nabokov’s interest as a lepidopterist in evolution, and partly by his own interest in the evolutionary epistemology of philosopher Karl Popper, on whom he is writing a biography.

Recent Posts

March 12, 2018 in Interview, Philosophy

Evolution and the Enigma of Reason: Brian Boyd Interviews Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber on their New Book

In The Enigma of Reason, Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber crack the code on one of the greatest evolutionary mysteries of all time.
Read More
May 22, 2017 in Biology

Challenging Chomsky and his Challengers: Brian Boyd Interviews Daniel Dor

If you want to think about language and evolution, about language and experience, about language and almost anything, or about almost anything in language, then start, or start all over…
Read More
January 5, 2017 in Arts, Biology

The Riddle—and the Range—of Art: Brian Boyd on the Evolution of the Arts from the Pleistocene to the Present

The celebrated literary scholar Brian Boyd takes us on a tour of an amazing museum exhibit and other happenings at the interface of art and evolution.
Read More