What Is Beauty?


Beauty is a combination of qualities that, when perceived by the eye or other senses, provide pleasure. It can be found in landscapes, sunsets, humans or works of art and is the subject of aesthetic theory.

Definitions of beauty vary from person to person and from time to time. For example, some people consider beauty to be a result of symmetry and proportions while others regard it as a subjective experience.

The first step in defining your own personal definition of beauty is to make a list of all the things that have influenced your view on what is beautiful. You may have a mother who is constantly obsessing over her skin, or your best friend may fawn over long, luxurious eyelashes.

These are all things that have influenced your idea of what is beautiful, and they’re probably the reasons why you believe that you need to look perfect on the outside in order to be beautiful. After you’ve made your list, try to separate all those influences and determine where each one of them came from.

Classical conception of beauty

The classical conception of beauty holds that to be beautiful, a whole must be arranged in accordance with proportion, harmony and symmetry. This notion is still reflected in Western architecture, sculpture, literature and music, and is rooted in ancient Greek thought.

While the classical understanding of beauty is still embraced, it has become increasingly difficult to identify what constitutes beauty as an objective quality. Consequently, some philosophers have pushed for the definition of beauty as a response or effect that is experienced or induced within the observer.

A definition that is essentially subjectivist can be seen in the work of George Santayana who argued that “Beauty lies in the mind of the beholder”. This means that what makes something attractive to us is not necessarily what the object itself has; it could be other factors, such as social status, wealth or sexual relations.

This definition can be problematic, however, because it is often associated with a kind of morality or ethics that is not universal and cannot be derived from natural law, as some other definitions suggest. This is because, while certain qualities might be desirable or appealing to some people, they can also be undesirable or offensive to others.

Another implication of this line of thinking is that it leads to a reduction of aesthetic pleasure, which is a fundamental aspect of aesthetics and one of the most significant aspects of aesthetic judgment. In addition, this adamantly subjectivist approach tends to exclude objects that have non-pleasant qualities that would not be considered as attractive to other people.

Some contemporary feminist philosophers have criticized this approach, because it can be used to promote unrealistic body images that are detrimental to the health and well-being of women. This is especially true in cases where the beauty of a woman is defined solely by her physical appearance.