The Nature of Beauty


There is an ongoing debate about the nature of beauty. Many philosophers have taken different approaches to the issue. Some claim that beauty is objective, while others believe it to be subjective.

The idea of beauty is a complex and multifaceted concept that has evolved throughout history. Historically, it has played an important role in shaping human behavior and self-image, as well as cultural perceptions of what is beautiful or attractive.

Some of the major philosophical perspectives on beauty are discussed below:

Classical conception

The classical conception of beauty consists of an arrangement of integral parts into a coherent whole, according to proportion, harmony, symmetry, and similar notions. This conceit finds its roots in the Greek and Roman arts, and is reflected in Western classical architecture, sculpture, literature, and music wherever it appears.

Plato’s account of beauty

In his Poetics, Plato says that “to be beautiful, a living creature and every whole made up of parts, must ‘present a certain order in its arrangement of parts.'” This conceit is also a key component of Plato’s political system, which is based on the relation of part and whole.

Aristotle’s approach to beauty

While both Plato and Aristotle agree that beauty is objective, Aristotle takes a more scientific approach to it than Plato does. He examines it as a skillful craftsman, not a metaphysician, and he looks for orderly arrangements of parts rather than an abstract and ultimate Form of Beauty.

Aristotle’s conception of beauty is not without its problems, however. He argues that aesthetics are not the same thing as truth: that beauty depends on the ascription of meaning to objects, but that there can be no objective truth about what is beautiful. This makes it difficult to determine whether certain art works are beautiful, and can lead to a number of controversies about the nature of beauty.

Although beauty is a complicated and multifaceted concept, it does have some clear benefits. Research has shown that people who are considered more beautiful or handsome tend to fair better in job interviews, get more positive attention from co-workers, and attract stronger-bonded platonic relationships. In addition, physical appearance is associated with higher self-esteem and less depression among women.