Is Beauty Objective Or Subjective?


Beauty is a feeling or aesthetic value that makes something pleasurable to see or to taste. It can be found in objects such as landscapes, sunsets, humans and works of art. It is also the result of a combination of qualities, including shape, colour and form.

In the West, the classical conception of beauty consists in the arrangement of integral parts into a coherent whole, according to proportion, harmony, and similar notions. This conception of beauty is often embodied in Western classical architecture, sculpture, literature and music.

While this conception is still a dominant one in Western philosophy, it has been subject to a number of criticisms over the centuries. For instance, some people have doubted whether the classical view of beauty is a true reflection of what it means to be beautiful.

Some philosophers have suggested that beauty is not a matter of an objective or absolute quality. Instead, it is a subjective experience that depends on the particular feelings of an individual.

This is a very important point because of the various ways that different people around the world perceive beauty differently. For example, some people find certain things, like an oil painting or a field of flowers, to be very beautiful while others don’t think they are. In addition, some experiences of beauty are quite painful for people to experience, whereas other experiences are enjoyable.

The question of whether beauty is objective or subjective has been a thorny one in the philosophy of aesthetics for several centuries. In the seventeenth century, for example, David Hume and Thomas Kant wrote treatises on this topic.

They were both critical of the subjectivity of beauty, but in their work, they failed to provide any useful insights into how the subjectivity could be managed or controlled. Santayana’s treatment of the subjectivity of beauty in his The Sense of Beauty (1896) was the last major account offered in English for some time.

It is interesting to note that both Hume and Kant were arguing against a kind of subjectivity, one based on the judgment of a particular individual, rather than a general or universal perception that requires a consensus. This was an important distinction, and one that helped to keep the discussion of aesthetics from becoming a purely subjective affair.

Moreover, both philosophers tended to deny that beauty was a pure pleasure. This would have meant that it had no higher status than any other kind of pleasure.

However, some of these criticisms have been rebutted by scholars in the fields of social-justice and feminist philosophy, who have argued that beauty can be used to destabilize rigid conventions and restrictive behavioral models as much as it can reinforce them. This has been a growing movement among philosophers and others in the social sciences during the twentieth century.

Another popular idea is that beauty is a function of form. A car or a building, for instance, must be able to perform its function before it can be designed to look nice. This theory is sometimes called “form ever follows function.”