The term beauty is most commonly defined as a subjective feature of certain objects, which makes these objects enjoyable to see. These objects include beautiful sunsets, landscapes, humans and beautiful works of art. The word beauty originally referred only to the aesthetic sense, one of the three major philosophical schools of naturalism in Europe before it came to include all human aesthetic senses. In recent years, however, beauty has been largely secularized and now includes many different subjective aspects, including the affect it has on those who view it. In this paper we investigate how beauty relates to various aspects of everyday life.
Modern philosophers debate over what the fundamental nature of beauty is. Some hold that beauty is merely the quality of being able to occupy the space where a given object typically occupies, a property which the object cannot possess on its own. Others emphasize that beauty is the affect the object has on the observer, and that these affects are personal and particular to the observer. Still, many modern theories argue that beauty is both an aesthetic experience and a set of universal psychological principles.
A number of things may concern us when we try to define beauty. The place where we find beauty, its effects on us and its relation to other things, are just some of the questions that we may worry about. We may worry that if something is ugly then it must be bad for us. We may worry that beauty is determined by standards that are not easily perceived. We may worry that beauty is relative, and not a fixed quality independent of all other attributes.
There are a number of theories that attempt to answer these questions. Some philosophers insist that beauty is merely the essential characteristic of something that exists independent of all the attributes that make up the object and that are relevant to the aesthetic appreciation of the object. Other philosophers maintain that the essential character of beauty is dependent on the relation between an object and its relation to other objects. Still, other philosophers hold that the essential character of beauty is dependent on the intuition of beauty and on the ideas of art that we have concerning beauty.
One school of thought maintains that beauty is necessarily subjective, personal, and personal value judgments which are based on the worth of a person as an artist. According to this school, there is no universal standard of beauty because each person has their own personal aesthetic tastes and values. Another school of thought maintains that beauty is the objective standard, which can be objectively tested. According to this school of thought, there is a standard of beauty that is different for different people, but that the standards of beauty are also different for different types of art. The beauty-standard of one type of art may be different from the beauty-standard of another type of art.
Other theories regard beauty as the objective experience of the beholder. For instance, when a painter paints a beautiful picture, the aesthetic experience does not depend on the ability of the painter to conjure up an aesthetically pleasing image but on his ability to connect with the object of desire and bring it into physical form. The beauty-perceived aesthetic quality exists independent of the ability of the painter to produce a beautiful painting. Beauty exists independent of the thinker or of any other individual. In short, the essential nature of beauty is subjective and personal.