Why does it always seem that inner beauty, or beauty in personality and character is more often believed to be more beautiful than just outer beauty? As such, you will hear people saying, "I'd rather have an ugly wife with a beautiful soul than a gorgeous woman with an ugly soul?" Should this kind of attitude towards beauty be followed?
The reason behind human appreciation of beauty is sometimes framed in evolutionary terms; we find a certain body type beautiful because it reflects good health, or we find a blossoming fruit tree beautiful because it can provide us with food. It is impossible to explain modern appreciation for art in simple evolutionary terms because it has been so heavily culturally constructed, any explanation for the evolutionary mechanism behind the appreciation of a Roy Lichtenstein work would be a stretch. But the roots of our contemporary aesthetic sensibilities are in this appreciation for natural beauty, which in turn was grounded in non-aesthetic value.
But it seems to me like there are so many natural things that we find beautiful that would serve no purpose, or would actually be dangerous. The Sahara desert, poisonous plants or insects, or storms are certainly considered beautiful, but an early human would be ill-advised to seek them out for this reason. Are there other theories as to the origin of our...
I hear people look at a woman from a distance and exclaim "She is beautiful". I did that myself before. But my experience in relationships with women leaves me with a big question. Is beauty visible? Or what makes a thing beautiful?
We are often told that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
But I wonder if this is not an over-simplification. Surely some things are beautiful regardless of our response to that beauty.
Is there not a case to be made for completely objective beauty?
Are there any influential essays on aesthetics which deal with modern rather than fine art? I have just read Kant's "Critique of aesthetic judgment" and Hume's "Of the standard of taste", which made me want to read more recent treatments of the debate.
In your opinion, is aesthetics necessarily linked to visual art, or could the term equally be applied to music and literature?
Finally, how far is aesthetic appreciation informed by intuition, and how much by logic (in the case of visual art - the golden mean, composition, etc)? Is there any consensus on this?
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