Beautiful people, beautiful things

British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (3):247-260 (2008)
Abstract
This paper sympathetically examines the neglected virtue-centric idea that the primary location of beauty is in bodily expressions of human virtues, so that things like buildings are beautiful only because of an appropriate relationship they have to beautiful people. After a brief history of the idea as articulated by, for example, Kant, it is then distinguished from accounts of beauty with which it might be confused, such as the view that something is beautiful only if it helps to instil virtue. In the central part of the paper, the attractions of virtue-centrism are articulated. These primarily consist in its explanatory power. It is argued, too, that virtue-centrism steers attractively between a rigidly conservative attitude towards beauty and an anything goes one. The final sections respond to some likely objections, the last of which provides an opportunity for correcting an impression that my formulation of the virtue-centrist idea might have given. CiteULike    Connotea    Del.icio.us    What's this?
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