The Philosophy of Beauty


Throughout history, philosophers have been interested in beauty. Although the idea of beauty has often been associated with pleasure, the meaning of beauty can range from the physical to the spiritual. The classical philosophers believed that beauty was a harmonious and harmonious relationship between the parts of an object, but they also thought that it was not limited to the physical.

For example, in the eighteenth century, David Hume argued that beauty is a subjective state. He said that each person perceives color differently and that the experience of color depends on the mind. He argued against tyrannical notions of taste. In Essays, Moral, Political and Literary (1758), he said that each individual has a right to acquiesce in his own sentiment.

Another seventeenth-century philosopher, John Locke, claimed that colors depend on the perceptive mind. He also argued that each mind would perceive different objects as colors under different conditions. In contrast, Aristotle believed that beauty was a definite quality. He claimed that beauty is symmetry and harmony. He used the example of a line divided into two unequal parts to explain the idea of beauty.

The eighteenth-century philosopher Edmund Burke refuted the idea that beauty could be composed only of harmony and proportion. He argued that the same object can be perceived as different colors at noon and at midnight. He explained that beauty is the perceptual experience of the aesthetic faculty. He argued that beauty is not a concept but a series of qualities that give the experience of pleasure.

In the twentieth-century, thinkers struggled with the question of how to reconcile beauty with the age of wars and genocide. For example, Arthur Danto described abandonment of beauty in 1992 as an ‘age of indignation’.

In the 18th century, a decisive turn in thinking about beauty took place. The emphasis of the philosophical debates was moved from mathematical to subjective. The 18th century marked the beginning of a period of burgeoning cultures of feeling. It marked the development of the concept of inalienable rights and confidence in human capability. Despite the growing belief that the arts are an important part of modern life, many thinkers were skeptical about the ability of art to satisfy human desires. In particular, they were suspicious of distractions. The art world was characterized by suspicion of pacifiers and sabotage.

During the nineteenth-century, the Romantic movement was formed, as thinkers such as Keats and Eliot imagined men or gods in mad pursuit. In his ‘Ode on the Grecian Urn’ (1820), Keats examines a Grecian urn from every angle. He argues that beauty is the product of God’s intention. Ultimately, he concludes that the object of his study is perfect.

The early twentieth-century philosophers were unsure how to reconcile beauty with the age of wastelands and genocide. In The Abuse of Beauty (1992), Arthur Danto wrote that the abandonment of beauty occurred in the ‘age of indignation’. He suggested that the experience of beauty could be profound and that it might be a way of understanding our lives.