Beauty – An Attitude

Beauty is often defined as a subjective aspect of tangible items which makes these items pleasurable to see. These objects may include sunsets, human faces, landscapes and works of arts. Beauty, along with individual taste and aesthetics, is perhaps the most important field of aesthetics, among the major fields of philosophy. The word ‘beauty’ itself is a very vague term which can mean many things in a wide variety of contexts. In fact the definition of beauty varies from person to person and even between seasons and cultures.


People’s perception of beauty varies widely according to culture and even within cultures, as some cultures value beauty as much as other cultures do. In the study of aesthetic psychology, two main theories are distinguished. The first is that beauty is an autonomous dimension of human psychology, whereby beauty is seen as a conscious trait indicative of psychological or physiological quality. Beauty is then seen as representing a balance between the two, where higher beauty tends to be equated with high status, intelligence and health, while lower beauty is equated with low status, low intelligence and illness. The second theory is that beauty is a learned attribute influenced by cultural beliefs about beauty, norms of beauty within specific domains and the role of emotions in influencing beauty.

Most theories of beauty, though, assume that beauty is a non-unique aspect of the aesthetic experience. It is not, however, something which a person is born with or has inherited. Instead it is an objectivated view of beauty which may vary depending on the preferences of the beholder. Beauty is thus an aesthetic value dependent upon cultural and experiential variables. Some people may find dimorphic faces attractive whereas others may find only a straight face attractive.