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To me, beauty is something objective. That's why the 99,9% of us (I think) recognize sunsets to be nice and rubbish dumps to be not. What do you think?

Beauty is...

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  • 7 votes
Ciaociao 5 Nov 30

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I believe things are subjectively beautiful. A lot of people agree on things, like the example of a sunset or autumn leaves, but not everyone likes the look of modern art or the ripple of waves on a lake at night. And if you have similar interests and tastes as someone, it gives you a chance at conversation.

Yes your point of view is common I guess, but for example, if we try to solve some difficult Maths's stuff, and a lot of people are convinced a solution to be right, this doesn't mean that that solution is certainly right, as there is an inner meaning in that equation (or whatelse) your idea doesn't prove Beauty to be subjective, it just describes what "subjective" means. My example of Math's exercise was just to show you how we can disagree also on objective things.


Subjective, but we have a lot of similar views of what is beautiful or nor.
We are hardwired for somethings, and we share a lot of culture.


I come from conflicting perspectives on this. My Catholic perspective says that beauty is objective and some things cannot be made beautiful. My music student perspective has proved that there is at least some objectivity in beauty as things that I thought dissonant and hideous as a highschool student now strike me as beautiful and emotional. Because of this I think that there are some things that are subjectively beautiful and some that are subjectively ugly, but it seems to me that there is a lot of room for objectivity in between these two extremes.

I agree with your conclusions, probably there is a "base" to beauty which is objective and then personal tastes that can change our perception of beauty, in music or other things maybe to recognize "real" beauty you need practice. Of course personal tastes will always be there, but if they are not well educated they can lead to a biased sense of beauty. We can apply this argument to also other things, like taste. Some food are good, some other are not. For example, some junk food taste good because we have a bad educated sense of taste, but of course junk food is worst than vegetables even if a lot of people prefer it. So i think it's the same in here: it's objective that vegetables are better but personal tastes can even lead us to perceive it differentely. A non biased subjectivity is the one that can make us prefer carrots over tomatoes, they are both "same level" but our personal preferences make us prefer one on the other. ( This was just an example obv. )


Because we have been, in general, socialized in similar ways, our appreciation of things tends to be consistent with others, yet it is still subject to our particular biases. We can not, generally, reach a benchmark of 'beauty' that applies in all similar cases.

It's not false, but I think that the "winning" ideas of beauty promoted in our society must have some objective traits that make them beautiful. Of course there are personal tastes, but basically most of us share a "common" sense of beauty and to me this is more than just consequence of how we have been socialized.


Subjective and objective are strange terms. Objective has come to mean rational but it's true meaning is to become the object, to take in through the senses unfiltered by rational distortions or to impose our instincts on the object. Subjective has come to mean irrational but it's true meaning is to impose on the object the characteristics of the subject. Assume for a minute that the physicists that say that the act of observation alters reality is true. Even if it were not true the idea creates the proper perspective. We become what we experience and what we experience becomes us.

The "science" of esthetics is interesting. There are some universal principles as it applies to art. They go beyond intrinsic beauty. That they are universal speaks to common humanity. How they are expressed varies but this list is a good start.


"different sources might list slightly different versions of the “Principles of Design,” but the core fundamentals are essentially the same."


I would add rarity to the list because a world of flowers would make flowers numbing. Over saturation of the senses is numbing.

Because beauty is universally appreciated across cultures it must have some basis in instinct but that only takes you so far. Instincts tell you what to look for but it's the shared experience of life that makes beauty universal. What is beautiful to one species would not be to another. In this sense beauty is not objective but a property of the subject. Of course over time the nature of the object has impressed on our DNA the way we experience life. To understand this principle consider that the nature of the sun is reflected in the "design" of the eye.

This topic is worthy of volumes of discussion.

This comment is really interesting, my point was about "objective" and "subjective" as they are usually meant, but actually your definitions are more rigorous and they lead to different conclusions than mine. My only doubt is, if the concept of beauty is different among different species, we suppose other beings to have a sense of beauty (and probably that's true, I am not a scientist but birds for example try to catch females with coulored wings ecc) so, in a way, this makes beauty objective, because also other species would look for something that is "naturally beautiful", looking for harmony, balance and so on. There are some proportions in nature that are objective traits, independent from the subject, and I think that they are, like harmony, common traits of "objective beauty". And maybe, every species has his ways to recognize these traits, but I also believe that every species has is limits so it's impossible to perfectly tell the "rules" of beauty. So, beauty is objective but is perceived in different ways (among species and sometimes even among humans and maybe animals) because of our natural limits in recognizing it perfectly.


I'm trying to consider cultural influences. I would say they are just refinements but as I said the environment changes us in some "objective" ways.


It is objective in the sense that we are wired to view somethings as beautiful. No one taught us that sunsets are beautiful.

I totally agree with this


Everything is its own way....

A lot of things are, but in my opinion not everything, can you find any beauty in sadism for example? In pedophilia?

@giorgia Only if it is repented of and leads the offender to acknowledge their evil and seek restoration and forgiveness. Then, they will learn true love.

@dmatic yes, I agree that it could lead to learn true love, but when this doesn't happen then there is no beauty in it.

@giorgia It will happen


I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say, but I hate the sun, and I'm glad when it's gone.
What is beauty or beautiful? I think it's beautiful after I save a bee from drowning, and practically give him mouth to mouth to resuscitate him, and after he's much better, he flies around me as much to say, thank you.
Or when I save a butterfly that had nearly drowned, being so hot here, everything looks for water, and after saving the butterfly's life and it's dried out it flys up and sits on my shoulder, as if saying thank you to.
Why do I say, like saying thank you, well, I've noticed when I open the door for the kitty cat, it always says, thank you in it's language.
As for the birds that come and have a snack, as I believe we can all share our food with others, those very birds leave me a gift on the door mat, like a small stone, or a little twig, or even a bottle top.
To me, that's what's beautiful, what would also be beautiful is if people would notice more of what's happening around them instead of always worrying about what Governments plant in their psyche, to make sure we don't realise what's really going on.
I wish you well.


Well put. Some HUMAN beauty may be subjective.

Yes of course there is space to personal tastes, but I think that usually it works among people that are at "the same/similar level" of beauty, I think that among Ugly Betty and Jennifer Lopez, everyone would prefer the second.

@giorgia Yes, limits but I remember Barbara Streisand before surgery. Some liked, some didn't.
But definitely garbage strewn in parks would be agreed.

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