Beauty is a quality of or combination of qualities that pleases the senses or mind and is often associated with properties such as harmony of form or color, proportion, authenticity, and originality. It can also be a feeling or state of being, or a way of perceiving the world around you.
It is a word that has been used to describe many different things in the past and has become a concept that has become so much a part of our culture that it has almost become a word that we take for granted. Whether you are a person who enjoys a beautiful sunset or a person who thinks their body is too big, it seems that everyone has a standard of beauty that they aspire to.
The defining characteristic of beauty is that it appeals to the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. This definition has been found to be grounded in ancient science and is based on the golden ratio, which is a mathematical formula that creates an appealing proportion that has aesthetically pleasing qualities.
This idea of beauty was popularised by the Renaissance painters and sculptors. The golden ratio became a model that they used to sketch their works, and this led to the idea that everything should be in a harmonious proportion.
Some philosophers have tried to come up with a more unified theory of beauty. These ideas range from the hedonism of Kant to ecstatic neo-Platonism.
These philosophers all agree that beauty is subjective in some sense. In hedonism, the pleasure of looking at or being able to experience something is a good reason to believe it is beautiful. In neo-Platonism, the fact that an object or idea is beautiful is a way of calling out love or adoration.
However, the idea of beauty can be quite problematic in many different areas of philosophy. It can be a useful way of thinking about the nature of things and the role they play in our lives, but it can also be a source of confusion.
For example, when the German philosopher Immanuel Kant attempted to define beauty, he said that there could be no universal criteria for judging what is beautiful. This belief tended to create divisions between people and cultures, as people believed that they were superior if they had more symmetrical faces or that they were more physically attractive.
As a result, beauty can often be used as a tool to oppress others. It was especially common in the Western world where it was used to divide people by race and ethnicity for centuries, although it has now been largely abandoned.
In the twentieth century, beauty was seen as trivial and discredited due to its associations with power. This association contributed to the decline of beauty as a goal in art and led to a shift away from it.
The idea of beauty has been a source of inspiration for artists for hundreds of years, but its meaning has been changing over time and has also been questioned in the past few decades. For example, many feminist philosophers have reinterpreted the concept of beauty to be more inclusive.