Real Objective Beauty

British Journal of Aesthetics 56 (4):367-381 (2016)
Christopher Mole
University of British Columbia
Once we have distinguished between beauty and aesthetic value, we are faced with the question of whether beauty is a thing of value in itself. A number of theorists have suggested that the answer might be no. They have thought that the pursuit of beauty is just the indulgence of one particular taste: a taste that has, for contingent historical reasons, been privileged. This paper attempts to resist a line of thought that leads to that conclusion. It does so by arguing that there really are objective facts about beauty. To do this, the paper draws distinctions between objectivity and subjectivity, and between realism and anti-realism. It argues that, regarding attributions of beauty, we should be realists and objectivists. This is shown to be compatible with taking the semantic content of such attributions to vary between contexts. This form of context sensitivity is able to account of those features of beauty-attributions that have been taken as evidence for its subjectivity.
Keywords Beauty  Contextualism  Objectivity/Subjectivity  Realism/Anti-realism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/aesthj/ayw053
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,905
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Is Beauty a Pure Perfection?Raphael Bexten - 2010 - Sammelpunkt. Elektronisch Archivierte Theorie.
Beauty.Roger Scruton - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
Kant on Recognizing Beauty.Katalin Makkai - 2010 - European Journal of Philosophy 18 (3):385-413.
Beauty.Nick Zangwill - 2003 - In Jerrold Levinson (ed.), Oxford Companion to Aesthetics. Oxford University Press.
The Meaning of Beauty.A. H. B. Allen - 1955 - Philosophy 30 (113):112 - 130.
The Return of Beauty?Wolfgang Welsch - 2004 - Filozofski Vestnik 25 (2).
Reflections on a Sofa Bed: Functional Beauty and Looking Fit. De Clercq - 2013 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 47 (2):35-48.
What is Beauty and Wherein Does Beauty Lie?Hung I.-Jan - 1974 - Contemporary Chinese Thought 6 (2):69-84.
Boring Beauty and Universal Morality: Kant on the Ideal of Beauty.Rachel Zuckert - 2005 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 48 (2):107 – 130.
Towards a Unified Theory of Beauty.Jennifer A. McMahon - 1999 - Literature & Aesthetics 9:7-27.
Physical Beauty: Only Skin Deep?Medard T. Hilhorst - 2002 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 5 (1):11-21.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
42 ( #153,628 of 2,293,842 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #54,812 of 2,293,842 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature