Philosophy of Beauty
Beauty is often defined as a mental or physical trait of certain objects which makes these objects pleasant to see. Such objects may be human works of art, nature and landscapes. Beauty, along with aesthetic sense, is the most important theme of aesthetics, among the major branches of humanities. It has also been used in various psychology and personality tests.
The term ‘Beauty’ has various meanings. In some contexts, beauty can refer to the quality of a thing while in other contexts it can refer to a ‘quality of being.’ Beauty is often associated with the ‘ideal’ or ‘fantasy’ of human beings. It is, however, a more complex concept with multiple levels of meaning than this.
Modern aesthetics is a growing field of study. It is currently a division of the Philosophy of Science ( Philosophy of Mind ). The scope of modern aesthetics is continuously widening as it tries to understand how the mind works behind the creation of beauty. Modern aesthetics incorporates aspects of psychology, sociology, literature and art.
In order to understand the philosophy of modern aesthetics, it is necessary to have a basic understanding of how beauty and the appreciation of it works. In most cultures around the world, beauty is considered to be the primary criterion of judging a person’s value, status and social position. Beauty is largely subjective and there is no agreed upon definition for beauty.
According to the three approaches to aesthetics, there are five basic types of beauty: (a) qualiocrities, (b) magnificence, (c) excellence and (d) attractiveness. Qualiocrities are those that are most natural and are therefore the most appealing; they are usually uncontroversial and are considered to be what we’really’ are. Magnificence, on the other hand, is considered to be what we consider beautiful in the eyes of others, but without actually being beautiful in oneself. Excellence, the third type of aesthetic concept, is typically considered to be both unattractive and beautiful at the same time. And lastly, attractiveness is considered to be the most subjective and therefore the most difficult to measure.
Beauty, however, can be defined according to anyone’s personal and subjective judgment. It is not a product of culture, class or gender, as is often believed by many. Beauty has nothing to do with what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. What is right for one person is not necessarily right for another. Beauty is an essential part of human existence and the pursuit of beauty can be viewed on different levels. The philosophy of aesthetics offers countless opportunities for people to discover their individual creative potential.