Beauty is something that we perceive and appreciate in life. It can be anything from fair skin to lustrous hair, a great figure to confidence and determination to be a good human being. It can be found in the beauty of nature, music and art.
The meaning of beauty has been interpreted by many different philosophers over the centuries. Ancient philosophy often defined it as the manifestation of God’s idea, while modern philosophy moved away from ontology to a study of the aesthetic faculty and its values.
Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy that deals with the qualities and expressions of beauty in visual art, music, performance, and physical attributes. These experiences of beauty can be viewed as the result of a combination of cultural and personal preferences.
People all over the world have very different definitions of beauty, which makes it difficult to find a universal standard. There are some things that can be considered beautiful across cultures and time periods, such as a sunset or a piece of art, but other factors like facial features may vary from person to person, and even between people who are the same age.
Some philosophers believe that it is the nature of beauty to be a subjective experience. They argue that this can make it less valuable than things that have a higher value, such as truth or justice.
This is a view that has been popularized by John Stuart Mill, who argued that beauty is not a matter of objective truth but rather is a subjective pleasure. He said that “it is a pleasure which comes from having an object which we find to be beautiful.”
However, this idea of subjective pleasure does not have the same meaning as other kinds of pleasure, such as laughter or a sense of accomplishment. This is because beauty is a form of pleasure that involves both the subject of the pleasure and the object of the pleasure.
In the classical conception of beauty, the concept of beauty is based on the relationship between the parts and the overall symmetry or proportionality of the beautiful object. The parts must stand in a way that they are compatible with each other, and the overall symmetry or proportionality must be right, because it is the whole that counts.
During the Renaissance, this idea of beauty was widely formulated. For example, in the famous treatise On the Sculpture of Nature, the sculptor Michaelangelo emphasized the importance of the right proportions of a piece of sculpture to make it appear harmonious.
One reason for the emergence of this theory is that it reflected the hedonist culture of the era, which associated beauty with wealth and decadence. It was also linked to the politics of capitalism, where the wealthy would decorate their homes with beautiful and expensive items to impress their guests, while at the same time inflicting immense environmental damage.
Another reason why beauty is so problematic is that it can be coerced and obtained at a cost to other people. This is a problem that has been brought up repeatedly by social justice philosophers who have used the concept of beauty to critique various forms of oppression.