The Objective and the Social Aspects of Beauty: Comments on the Aesthetics of Chu Kuang-Ch'ien and Ts'ai I

Contemporary Chinese Thought 6 (2):54-68 (1974)
After reading the essays of Mr. Ts'ai and Mr. Chu, I have a few immature opinions. Generally speaking, I feel that in dealing with the errors of their opponents, both Ts'ai I in his criticism of Huang Yüeh-mien and Chu Kuang-ch'ien in his criticism of Ts'ai I are quite accurate and convincing. However, in presenting their own arguments of what is right, both of them are on shaky ground and in error. That is because in one way or another, consciously or unconsciously, they either deny the objective aspect of the existence of beauty or deny the social aspect of the existence of beauty . All of them consider the objective and the social aspects of beauty as being either this or that, as mutually exclusive and irreconcilable opposites. They think that if we acknowledge the social aspect of beauty, we then have to deny the objective aspect, the fact that the existence of beauty does not depend on the subjective conditions of a person ; or if we acknowledge the objective aspect, we have to deny the social aspect, the fact that the existence of beauty depends on the social life of human beings. But in fact it is not like that. On the one hand, beauty cannot be separated from human society; on the other hand, it can have an objective existence which is independent of man's subjective consciousness. It is this question that I shall discuss
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DOI 10.2753/CSP1097-1467060254
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