Beauty is frequently defined as a subjective feature of things which makes these things pleasurable to see. These things include sunsets, landscapes, humans and beautiful works of art. Beauty, along with beauty, is the most significant part of aesthetics, one of, if not the major branches of modern philosophy. philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Leo Tolstoy defined aesthetics as a way of determining value by comparing different examples. In addition, many philosophers regard beauty to be subjective, something that differs from person to person and can only be understood through the eyes of the beholder.
However, when we speak of beauty in our daily lives, we do so typically in relation to human beauty. Beauty has been especially important to philosophers of the early modern era, because the definition of beauty was first related to man’s animal instincts. According to the idealist conception, beauty is that which satisfies the desire of the appetite. Beauty then is the desire expressed by the most appropriate or most striking form.
Idealism concerning beauty has long since been rejected by the more rationalistic aspects of the early modern era. Descartes’s and Malebranche’s ideas of personal and natural goodness were based on a more scientific understanding of the physical world. By contrast, the more emotional aspect of aesthetic desire, which the naturalists called sensuality, was embraced by the romantics. After the seventeenth century, the growing importance of aesthetic beauty made it a dominant force in European philosophy.
Most aesthetic values are based on personal tastes. However, an aesthetic appreciation of beauty remains popular for many people. An important component of beauty philosophy is the quest for a universal aesthetic standard. The search for the perfect aesthetic quality has been an important preoccupation since the Renaissance, though the quest for the ideal beauty is also present in religious and spiritual movements.
Beauty, like truth, can only be seen; it cannot be judged. For the purpose of this article, however, we will speak of the basic beauty facts. The beauty of a face is determined by its symmetry; conversely, the beauty of a work of art is judged by the extent to which it resembles a perfect face. Another basic beauty fact is that beauty exists in the mind of the beholder and not in objects. Beauty is therefore subjective.
Beauty is therefore a subjective idea, just as beauty facts are subjective. An aesthetic appreciation of beauty, therefore, depends largely on an aesthetic appreciation of the object of beauty. An object may be beautiful because of some aesthetic quality, but if an object lacks an aesthetic quality, it would not be beauty.