What Makes Something Beautiful?


What makes something beautiful to a person depends on its adaptedness to the use to which it is put. For example, in the British Isles, beauty was associated with pleasure in a very different way than it is in the United States. This association was reinforced by the work of philosophers such as John Locke, who distinguished between primary and secondary qualities and treated color as a phantasm of the mind. This is not the only way that beauty is defined, however.

Until the eighteenth century, most philosophical accounts of beauty located beauty in the object itself and its qualities. Augustine explicitly asks in De Veritate Religione whether things are beautiful because they give delight to the observer, and he opts for the second. Other philosophers such as Plato and David Hume have also attempted to understand beauty by focusing on the characteristics of art objects and their response to them. Regardless of the philosophers’ differing views, most have one thing in common: beauty is an object that we perceive, and its qualities are objective.

In addition to the aesthetic value of an object, beauty also has an ethical value. In a world where morals are based on beauty, we should aim to be as ethical as possible. This is particularly true if we want to live a good life, and therefore should do all we can to improve our lives. Beauty is an important value, and its ethical importance is also widely acknowledged. It is one of the fundamental issues in the history of philosophical aesthetics.

There are two types of aesthetics, and both are equally important. The first is subjectivity, while the latter is an objective value. In the last category, aesthetics requires that we make the distinction between objects, and the values they reflect. This means that we should look for objects that we admire and objects that we think are beautiful. There are many examples of beauty, including objects, that are both beautiful and desirable. The aesthetics of objects is a fundamentally personal concept, which is why subjectivity is so important.