The question of beauty has long fascinated philosophers. It has been a subject of debate among them. Kant and Hume were the most prominent proponents of a purely subjective account of beauty. They both pointed to the difficulty in defining beauty in a universal way. This sparked a spirited debate over the definition of beauty in the modern world. Now, with new science advancing the field, they have proposed a more concrete approach to the question.
Unlike the popular notion that beauty is primarily internalized within the skull, a person’s experience of beauty can be shared with other people. In addition to the object’s aesthetic qualities, beauty connects people and communities of appreciation. This is why beauty has become such a popular topic of discussion. In the context of aesthetics, the relationship between beauty and a person’s experience of it is vital to the understanding of the value of beauty.
To be beautiful, you must possess many characteristics. For example, the facial symmetry, age, skin color, gender, race, and weight are all characteristics of beauty. Other characteristics of beauty include symmetry, proportion, clarity, and asymmetry. It can also depend on popular culture. And while beauty is a universal trait, not everyone is born with it. For example, a woman’s torso with a round, oval face is not considered beautiful.
In contrast to modern aesthetics, the ancient philosophy of beauty pays tribute to its pleasures. Moreover, it often describes these pleasures in ecstatic terms. Plotinus writes about beauty as a ‘delicious trouble’, and compares it with a trembling experience. Those who are sensitive to beauty often experience it in a deeper way than those who have no appreciation for it. In his book, The Meaning of Beauty
In the classical age, the concept of beauty originated from Plato, who was a dissident in the classical culture. His political system characterized justice as the relation of part to the whole. He wrote The Symposium in which he elaborated his account of beauty. This work is one of the Socratic texts defining neo-Platonism and the idealist conception of beauty. It is also important to note that ‘form’ is not always an attribute of beauty.
The classical conception of beauty stresses that beauty is a relation between the parts of something. Thus, beauty is a harmonious whole. In contrast, hedonists focus on the relation between beauty and pleasure. They define beauty according to their value, their suitability for use, and their ability to delight the viewer. Despite the various definitions of beauty, one thing is certain: beauty is universal and cannot be defined by the senses alone. For humans, beauty is a way to feel good and find meaning in life.
Although art and beauty are subjective, the truth remains that a piece of art is beautiful if you think it is. Art is an expression of the creator’s soul. It is subjective, so what is beautiful to one person may not be beautiful to another. The viewer’s interpretation of beauty is ultimately based on their own perception. The art world is one of constant tension between personal taste and popular acceptance. This is true in every aspect of life, from the physical to the mental.