Beauty is often defined as the pleasing visual aspect of things, which makes these things pleasurable to see. These objects may include humans, landscapes, sunsets and artistic works of art. Beauty, along with art and attractiveness, is the most significant theme of aesthetics, one of the most important branches of contemporary philosophy. It is widely acknowledged and endorsed by almost all disciplines in the social sciences. For aesthetic value is “the” criterion by which we evaluate the worth of things. This importance has not diminished over time, despite changes in culture and society.
A beauty essay is an essay which critically examines and represents beauty as a product of aesthetic and cognitive analysis. The essay typically describes a selected aspect of beauty, using the word “beauty” in its generic sense, but in its narrower sense as regards to its relation to beauty in the human form. A beauty essay usually starts with an introductory statement describing the thesis of the essay and the nature of beauty, including its definition. It then proceeds to describe the literature on beauty, drawing on this literature for its data and examples. In addition, the essay may address some issues surrounding beauty such as the nature of beauty in relation to race and gender.
The beauty-as-a-property attitude, associated with the work of German philosophers such as Leo Tolstoy, Leo Weber and Germany’s philosopher Martin Heidegger, has had a profound impact on the thinking of countless artists, including painters and writers. According to this approach beauty is inherently subjective and can be measured by the ability to recognize and reproduce it in a form that others may find aesthetically appealing. Beauty as a property is therefore not independent of human tastes and emotions. Beauty as an aesthetic quality is thus determined by what the particular writer deems as beautiful. Beauty as a subjective aesthetic quality however does not contradict the objective reality of beauty.
Beauty around us appears in diverse forms. Nature is full of beautiful objects and scenes. Art is a form of beauty, because art involves the use of various objects to express an aesthetic quality or to beautify a location, a creation or a person. Aesthetic beauty encompasses all of the beauty in the world, for it is the beauty of the thing rather than the person that make things beautiful. Aesthetic beauty thus transcends mere aesthetics.
The beauty-as-a-property approach to aesthetic beauty therefore suggests that beauty is not in the eyes of the beholder. We can detect beauty in the beauty of a work of art or in the beauty of a landscape. We can appreciate beauty in the dimensions of a stone or a brick or any other material that the beholder sees fit. Thus, the beauty-as-a-property attitude cannot attribute value to the opinions of the beholder.
A beauty essay may therefore advance a moral obligation to respect the inner beauty of others as much as we ourselves treat the outer beauty of ourselves. It is vital to appreciate the beauty in people and places. When we are aware of and accept a person’s beauty, there is no room for prejudice or discrimination against that person.