Aesthetic Theory – Defining Beauty
Beauty is widely defined as a subjective quality of particular objects, which makes these objects enjoyable to see. These objects could be nature, human works, or works of art. Beauty, along with art and preference, is perhaps the oldest part of aesthetician philosophy, one of the most important branches of aesthetician study. The word ‘beauty’ has a slightly different meaning from common use in the West. In the United States it typically means beauty in the arts, while in the rest of the developed world it generally means a pleasing appearance.
This article will not attempt to define art or beauty in terms of their essential characteristics. However, some philosophers have argued that beauty has some essential characteristics that all other aspects of aesthetic judgement share. According to some of these philosophers beauty is an essential aspect of human beings and is what makes them desire and pursue beauty in all its forms.
According to the classic philosophical theory of aestheticsronomy, beauty is the ‘form’ of a certain object, and in the broadest sense of this definition can be used to describe the physical, mental and emotional responses a person may have to a certain work of art or to a particular person or set of facial features or body parts. According to this school of thought, beauty is a universal quality, and a person’s aesthetic experience will therefore vary from that of another, despite the fact that they both appreciate the beauty in things. More contemporary theories however, take beauty to be something much more concrete, and define it as the aesthetic experience generated by the representation of some specific type of objects or human figures. According to this school of thought, we are guided by the representations that we make to the world around us and are therefore guided by our aesthetic judgement when choosing art to purchase, admire or wear.