Beauty is the combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses. It may also be referred to as “aesthetics” or “the art of pleasing the eye.”
There are a variety of ways that humans have defined beauty throughout history. For example, the classical conception, which was widely used in the Renaissance, defines beauty in terms of the symmetry and proportions of an object. This is based on the idea that beauty is an integrated whole that must be in harmony and balance with itself.
Another approach to beauty is derived from neo-Platonism. The account of beauty in the Symposium and Plotinus’s Enneads connects beauty to a response of love and desire, but locates it in the realm of the Forms. This is a philosophically interesting approach because it allows for a relation to beauty that is both objective and subjective, at the same time.
The relationship between the subjective and the objective aspects of beauty is complex. It depends on the viewer, his thoughts, and his feelings.
For example, the way a person looks or how he dresses can affect the way he perceives beauty. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the person’s goals and priorities.
Historically, philosophers argued about whether beauty was objective or subjective. Many people argue that beauty is objective. Others argue that it is subjective. The debate is an important one because it affects our worldview and how we perceive other things.
The most prominent philosophical accounts of beauty, until the eighteenth century, treated it as an objective quality. This was the case in most of the early Western accounts, including those by Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine.
However, the emergence of modern theories of beauty in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries meant that this view was no longer prevailing. These new accounts, such as Hume’s and Kant’s, emphasized the subjective, and they were often antithetical to what came to be known as “rationalism.”
A further rift in this line of thinking emerged from twentieth-century philosophers. While some tried to rescue beauty from subjectivism, most did not. Rougemont, for example, criticized beauty as an emotion-driven phenomenon, and argued that we should not allow ourselves to be fooled by the emotional response of others.
Other scholars, such as David Bolton and Ananda Coomaraswamy, have argued that beauty can be a powerful force in the world. They believe that beauty can help to highlight and elevate certain types of people.
For instance, they argue that a beautiful work of art can be used as a political statement. This can be particularly helpful for the powerless and oppressed.
In general, these arguments suggest that the most powerful forms of beauty are those that are able to transcend and override social and political systems. These forms of beauty can be found in natural environments, in music, and in the arts.