What Is Beauty?

There are a lot of different ideas about beauty. Some people believe that it can be measured in terms of physical things like clear skin or wealth, while others think that it is a matter of opinion. Some even suggest that you can measure how a person perceives beauty through brain patterns or pupil dilation. Some people also believe that it is a mixture of genetics, grooming and how you were treated as a child.

Some people believe that beauty is a form of art that can be created through the use of proportions, harmony, symmetry and other aspects of design. This belief is often referred to as the classical notion of beauty. Others believe that beauty can be found in non-human things such as flowers and sunsets. Still others believe that beauty is an abstract sort of thing that cannot be defined in any way.

The philosophers Plato and Aristotle both regarded beauty as something that can be objectively judged. Plato argued that beauty is found in things that are perfect in their proportions and that it can be characterized by mathematical ratios such as the golden ratio. Aristotle viewed beauty in a slightly different way, but he was still concerned with proportions and harmony.

Beauty has been described as being in the eye of the beholder, but this is a bit of an overstatement. Beauty is actually found in the eyes of many different people at any given time and the judgments can change from one moment to another. The physiological, intellectual and emotional differences that make people feel differently about things can make it difficult to agree on what is beautiful.

Some philosophers have taken the view that beauty is the pleasure that one gets from admiring something that is pleasing to the senses. Others have gone further and equated beauty with a certain type of pleasure, often described in ecstatic terms. These pleasures can range from the satisfaction of a well-made cup or a well-tuned instrument to the enjoyment of a fine work of art or a sunset.

Other philosophers have viewed beauty in terms of its suitability to be used. This approach avoids the charge of philistinism by enriching the concept of beauty, so that it includes not only things that are functional but things that perform their function especially well or with an extra measure of pleasure. The ancient hedonist Aristippus of Cyrene is probably the best example of this treatment of beauty.

Schiller viewed beauty as a process that integrates the realms of nature and spirit. This is similar to Plato’s idea of beauty as a ladder that can allow us to transcend the level of physical reality. For Schiller, however, this integration can only occur if the two realms of nature and spirit are unified through the medium of beauty or play or art. This makes it possible for us to enjoy both the pleasures of the senses and the satisfaction of a higher rationality.