The Philosophy of Beauty


Throughout the centuries, philosophers have sought to understand what beauty means. This understanding has taken many forms, but one thing is for sure: the word has a very broad range of meanings.

A definition of beauty from the Oxford Dictionary explains that it is “the combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight”. The word has come to represent a variety of feelings and emotions that are thought to be evoked by different objects.

Some people have the idea that there is some kind of universal perception of beauty that people from all around the world share. Some of these feelings and experiences can be a result of culture, but it’s also very possible that they can be a result of the way we think and behave.

Others believe that the term beauty comes from a subjective view of what makes something beautiful, and that this is what is important. This is the case when it comes to music, visual art, or performance, as well as physical attributes that are considered to be beautiful by people all over the world.

This type of philosophy can be traced back to the classical period, when the study of beauty began in earnest, originating with Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten and Immanuel Kant. In the 17th and 18th centuries, these philosophers shifted the focus of the study of beauty from the realm of ontology to that of human sensibilities.

Those who took this approach were influenced by the work of Augustine, Plato, and Plotinus. All of these philosophers argued that beauty is the response to an object’s qualities, which in turn evoke certain feelings and emotions.

However, these accounts of beauty were criticized by several philosophical figures, such as Schopenhauer, Hanslick, Bullough, and Croce. The first of these critics argued that there is no single objective conception of beauty; instead, each person identifies what they consider to be beautiful.

In addition, these authors argued that the object of judgment should not be determined solely by what it is, but rather by the way it gives pleasure to the person making the judgment. The second criticism is that the idea of “pure” beauty can be a dangerous one, because it can lead to a rejection of morality and reason.

These critics also argued that beauty can be dehumanising, because it could make people uneasy about the nature of their own bodies and faces. They argued that it can lead to self-absorption and an over-valuing of other people’s physical appearance, which is harmful to individuals and the society at large.

Despite these objections, beauty is still a powerful concept and an essential component of our experience. It is the source of our appreciation for fine arts and sculptures, as well as our desire for a beautiful life. It is, in fact, one of the most important things in our lives. It can help us cope with grief, anxiety, and depression. It can also bring us comfort and joy.