There is a debate over the definition of beauty, which has caused some philosophical and aesthetic confusion over the years. Although many of us are not aware of this, we often encounter controversies about what is not beautiful. These controversies are usually quite convincing. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the concept of beauty is objective. The term beauty refers to a concept that takes precedence over particular Forms. For Hume, beauty is a quality or trait that connects the observer to an object.
Santayana’s account of beauty was the last major treatment of beauty in English for a long time. Kant and Hume, on the other hand, emphasised subjectivity and heroic attempts to tame it. Santayana concluded that beauty is a subjective pleasure, unworthy of comparison to truth or justice. However, his views are more conservative than Kant’s. Ultimately, Santayana’s account is the best. But we must not underestimate the power of beauty.
Plato believed that beauty lies in the world of Forms, which are ideal and non-physical. Aristotle, on the other hand, held an objective view of beauty. In his view, beauty lies in what is observed and cannot be recreated. This way, beauty is a reflection of the aesthetic qualities of the art object. So, what makes a painting or sculpture beautiful? It’s not the observer’s perception.
During the French Revolution, many artists began to question the notion of beauty as a primary goal. Beauty became increasingly associated with politics and commerce. The hedonistic nature of art and the decorative motifs used to decorate it became the subject of political and moral criticism. In the early twentieth century, beauty became entangled with capitalism, and some great art became dedicated to furnishing rich people’s homes. These works could conceal the poverty and suffering of the wealthy.
While modernist designers rejected chaos, Moore argued that beauty is a “sweet spot between order and chaos.” He cites the example of Patagonia, a company with a strong sense of purpose that attracts creative talent, fosters effective decision-making, and creates a positive workplace environment. This, he argues, contributes to greater engagement and happiness. In other words, beauty reflects the human spirit and the human condition.
Throughout the twentieth century, women have explored the notion of beauty. For example, Georgia O’Keeffe’s flowers, or Judy Chicago’s “Dinner Party” place settings are beautiful. And, in performance art, women have explored the meaning of the female body and its objectification. In both cases, they seek to affirm the experience of women from the inside out. So, in order to engage with art, women must take responsibility for their aesthetic principles and think about the impact they will have on society.
The scientific theories of beauty are divided into two main categories: body-centered beauty and dualist beauty. While body-centered beauty is attributed to physical appearance, dualist beauty refers to inner beauty. The latter, called inner beauty, focuses on the virtues of an individual. It is often correlated with moral character traits. Ultimately, there is no scientific consensus on the definition of beauty. The debate continues to rage on. Ultimately, however, it is an art.