How to Define Beauty in Art and Philosophy


Beauty is a complex concept that can be difficult to define. This is because beauty is a deep and personal experience that can be felt in the soul and mind of a human being. It can be a response that triggers and stimulates reactions in our senses that bring pleasure we have never experienced before.

It is a feeling that is very important for us as humans, and it is the driving force behind so many of the things we do in our lives. It can be found in the natural world, it can be found in art, it can be found in music and dance.

There are many ways to describe beauty, but one way to think of it is that beauty is whatever aspect of something makes an individual feel positive or grateful. It could be something as simple as a snowy mountain scene, it could be something as dramatic as a painting, it could be something as mundane as a cup of coffee.

The word “beautiful” comes from a Latin root, meaning “to be pleasant or pleasing to look at”. In its early centuries it was connected with the idea of love. During the Middle Ages, Christian thought was dominant in philosophy, and the discussion of beauty often took a metaphysical turn.

Modern views of beauty, however, have moved away from a metaphysical approach and focus more on the perception of beauty in a particular object or situation. This has led to a re-evaluation of what is considered beautiful and how it should be defined in art and philosophy.

1. In Western culture, beauty is usually associated with an arrangement of parts into a coherent whole that follows the proportions, harmony, and symmetry of nature. This is called the classical conception of beauty and it is embodied in many aspects of art and culture from antiquity onwards, including architecture, sculpture, literature, and music.

2. Some philosophers, especially in the eighteenth century, believed that beauty is an objective quality or essence rather than a purely subjective phenomenon. This view of beauty was influenced by the empiricists, especially John Locke.

Some philosophers also believed that beauty is not a phantasm of the mind, but is a natural property of things like color. This was a view that was supported by many of the early scientific revolutionaries.

3. Some philosophers, especially in the nineteenth century, believed that beauty is a function of pleasure. This is because pleasure is a primary reason that people seek out beautiful objects. This belief is sometimes referred to as the pleasure principle or the pleasure effect.

4. Some philosophers, especially in the twentieth century, believe that beauty is a function of morality and social justice. This is because beauty can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the context in which it occurs and the values that are being interpreted by those who have an interest in that beauty.

This re-evaluation of beauty has also led to a revival of the idea of beauty in art and philosophy in the twentieth century. In the 1990s, for example, there were a number of new reconstruals or reappropriations of the concept in both art and philosophy that sought to reclaim or revitalize beauty as a goal of art.