Beauty is the ability of something to delight or inspire awe. It is a concept that has been subject to many different interpretations throughout history. Some philosophers have tried to define it as a property of an object, while others have seen it as a state that is dependent on a person’s emotional response.
One of the most basic definitions of beauty is that it is a combination of qualities that please the aesthetic senses. This includes things like shape, colour and form. However, it can also be interpreted in more esoteric ways.
In the philosophy of art, this means that it is possible for an object to have a purely physical quality (such as colour or form), while also being attractive to an aesthetic sense. This makes it easier to understand why the paintings of Cezanne or a photograph of Mont Saint-Victoire can be considered beautiful.
Alternatively, it could be argued that an object or scene is beautiful because it reflects the values of its creator. This approach is more often taken in philosophical aesthetics, where it has been used to develop principles and theories that guide aesthetic judgements.
Plato was particularly interested in aesthetics, and he had a number of thoughts that might be construed as being about beauty. In the Symposium he says that beauty is harmony between parts, and this is a key idea in his conception of justice.
The idea that beauty is a matter of the relation of parts can be found in other ancient philosophers, such as Aristippus and Plotinus. The latter says that a dung-basket is beautiful because it possesses a certain definite form characteristic of its kind of use.
Another example is the philosophy of Schiller, who sees beauty as a process that integrates the sensuous and the rational. It performs a function that he calls “rendering compatible.”
This is an interesting way of looking at beauty, as it makes it an active rather than passive process. The process of integration or rendering compatible is a vital part of human life, and it aims to achieve this in an active and productive way.
In this regard, Schiller may have been influenced by Plato, who saw beauty as a process that was able to unite the natural and the spiritual. In this view, beauty is an important part of the process by which humans come to know themselves and to discover what their true nature is.
It is also an essential aspect of the human experience, and is associated with feelings of pleasure and delight. It is a powerful motivating force in human lives and can be cultivated by learning to appreciate the beauty of the world around us.
It is also an element of social and political resistance, as when people decry the standards of beauty that are often based on white privilege or other forms of discrimination. For example, the slogan “Black is beautiful” has been an effective tool of resistance against discrimination against blacks and other people of color. It has also been a source of inspiration for artists who have sought to explore the beauty of women and the body through art.