An acclaimed philosopher argues that living life to the fullest requires seeing life through the lens of beauty Say you and your friend often go hiking. One day, they propose that you go skydiving instead. You're wavering, and they deliver a rousing speech. They tell you, Come on, you only live once! You relent. Why? In This Beauty, philosopher Nick Riggle investigates the things we say to inspire each other and ourselves: seize the day, treat yourself, you only (...) live once. Riggle calls them existential imperatives, and they present a conundrum. They are at best vague, at worst stupid. And yet these exhortations can't help but be profound. Drawing on insights from aesthetics and from his experiences as a professional skater, academic, and new father, Riggle argues that these phrases shock us out of our routines and key us into the beauty of life. Insightful and deeply humane, This Beauty offers a personal and searching inquiry into the mystery of life's beauty. (shrink)
This collection contributes to the understanding of the idea of development from Africa-based perspectives. African(ist) thinkers investigate the notion of beauty as a source for alternative approaches to pressing global issues such as poverty, inequality, and climate change.
This book is a collection of pragmatist inquiries into the epistemology of artistic creation and evaluation of artworks. It offers a new concept of aesthetics and beauty of artworks. Aesthetics is the mode of artistic representation of reality, and artworks are beautiful when proven aesthetic true representations of reality.
Examines the birth of art-as-beauty in Western art and the concomitant birth of the idea of art itself. Also discusses the death of art-as-beauty from Manet onward and certain implications for aesthetics (the philosophy of art). Includes relevant reproductions. (The essay is a longer version of my paper "The Birth and Death of Beauty in Western Art" also listed on PhilPapers.).
From the Renaissance onwards, the Western tradition singled out the term beauty for a unique and highly prestigious role. As Christian belief began its gradual decline, Renaissance art invented a rival transcendence in the form of an exalted world of nobility, harmony and beauty – the world exemplified by the works of painters such as Raphael, Titian and Poussin. Beauty in this sense quickly became the ruling ideal of Western art, subsequently underpinning the explanations of the nature (...) and function of art (the aesthetics) developed by Enlightenment thinkers such as Hume and Kant – explanations that continue to be influential among contemporary philosophers of art. Today, however, there are fundamental questions to be asked: Is beauty still the ruling ideal of art? If not, what becomes of traditional, post-Enlightenment aesthetics which continues to shape much modern thinking about art? (shrink)
In the foreword to Beauty Matters, Eleanor Heartney tells us that the concept of beauty, especially physical beauty, embraces ambiguous, sometimes conflicting elements. The cover picture, a poster photograph of the Kitchen Table series by Carrie Mae Weems, along with the insightful reading of it in Peg Zeglin Brand’s introduction to the book, gives testimony to the wider social, economic, and political implications of beautification practices that are discussed in the book’s essays.
In the scope of Medieval Metaphysics, «beauty» has been pondered as an ambiguous concept: either attributed to God, or to the World. The aim of this article is to clarify the meaning of this ambiguity within the philosophy of the Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. If, therefore, the concept of «beauty» is primarily withdrawn from its sensible and mundane feature in order to be appropriated to the divine nature, it is secondly apposed to creation itself so that it may designate (...) the visible manifestation of transcendent beauty and vital call to theological pursuit.No contexto da Metafísica Medieval, a «beleza» foi pensada como um conceito ambíguo: ora atribuído a Deus, ora atribuído ao Mundo. O propósito deste artigo é clarificar o sentido desta ambiguidade no âmbito da filosofia do Pseudo-Dionísio Areopagita. Se, portanto, o conceito de «beleza» é, em primeiro lugar, despojado do seu carácter sensível e mundano, para ser apropriado à natureza divina, ele é, num segundo momento, aposto à própria criação, de forma a designar a manifestação visível da beleza transcendente e o chamamento vital para a perscrutação teológica. (shrink)
Beauty was once the main or even exclusive topic of aesthetics. Now, two hundred years after Karl Rosenkranz’s Aesthetics of Ugliness and a formidable development of fine arts in which many atmospheres beyond the edge of beauty were produced, it may be time again to ask the fundamental question of what the beautiful is like. But putting this question we notice that since the 18th century our aesthetical experience has deeply changed, so that the concept of traditional (...) class='Hi'>beauty must be changed itself. (shrink)
When I first started to think about the neural basis of aesthetic experiences in the late 1990s, little was written on the topic. Unlike other domains of psychology, such as attention, or perception, or memory, aesthetics had not gained purchase in cognitive neuroscience. In fact, aesthetics was barely visible in psychology itself despite being rooted in Fechner's writings over a hundred years earlier. In 1999, papers by Zeki (1999) and Ramachandran and Hirstein (1999) were initial forays into scientific aesthetics by (...) established neuroscientists. While undeniably important as initial markers for the field, their papers were but a first step. They were speculative and did not offer a framework for a systematic research program. Scholars in the humanities latched on to these initial papers, in ways that were detrimental to the field. For the most part, they ignored subsequent careful experimental work done by neuroscientists, as if neuroaesthetics began and ended in 1999 (Chatterjee, 2011). Missing in early discussions was a basic question: what would a framework that could guide experimental progress in the neuroscience of aesthetics entail? (shrink)
The Greek notion of beauty encompasses not only nature and artifice, but also the Good. This paper explains the connection by interpreting Plato in a way that allows his theory to be developed beyond the confines of his philosophy. It is argued that we could read his theory of beauty as based on fineness of appearance. This arises when a sensory particular transcends itself and suggests the presence of its sustaining Form, or when sophrosynē in human agency discloses (...) the Good’s power to transform the sensible world. In both cases, there is a pleasure in how certain phenomena or agents manifest the influence of the Forms at the sensory level. Beauty centres on an Ideal relation. By critically revising Plato’s position and taking it beyond the context of exegetical debate, a generally viable explanation of the grounds of Ideal beauty is formulated. This clarifies how such beauty is based on both the fundamental conditions of knowledge, as such, and our existence as free beings. Ideal beauty is shown, also, to be an aesthetic concept with enduring importance. (shrink)
Beauty has captured human interest since before Plato, but how, why, and to whom does beauty matter in today's world? Whose standard of beauty motivates African Americans to straighten their hair? What inspires beauty queens to measure up as flawless objects for the male gaze? Why does a French performance artist use cosmetic surgery to remake her face into a composite of the master painters' version of beauty? How does beauty culture perceive the disabled (...) body? Is the constant effort to remain young and thin, often at considerable economic and emotional expense, ethically justifiable? Provocative essays by an international group of scholars discuss beauty in aesthetics, the arts, the tools of fashion, the materials of decoration, and the big business of beautification—beauty matters—to reveal the ways gender, race, and sexual orientation have informed the concept of beauty and driven us to become more beautiful. Here, Kant rubs shoulders with Calvin Klein. Beauty Matters draws from visual art, dance, cultural history, and literary and feminist theory to explore the values and politics of beauty. Various philosophical perspectives on ethics and aesthetics emerge from this penetrating book to determine and reveal that beauty is never disinterested. Foreward by Eleanor Heartney; Introduction by Peg Brand. Authors include Marcia M. Eaton, Noel Carroll, Paul C. Taylor, Arthur C. Danto, Kathleen M. Higgins, Susan Bordo, Dawn Perlmutter, Eva Kit Wah Man, Anita Silvers, Hilary Robinson, Kaori Chino, Sally Banes, and Peg Brand's essay "Bound to Beauty: An Interview with Orlan." (available here). (shrink)
This survey chapter focuses on two questions concerning the nature of beauty. First, can “beauty” be defined, and if so, how? Second, what is the relation between beauty and the mind; for example, between being beautiful and being judged beautiful, or between being beautiful and being the object of pleasure?
Literary beauty was once understood as intertwining sensations and ideas, and thus as providing subjective and objective reasons for literary appreciation. However, as theory and philosophy developed, the inevitable claims and counterclaims led to the view that subjective experience was not a reliable guide to literary merit. Literary theory then replaced aesthetics as did philosophy’s focus on literary truth. Along with the demise of the relevance of sensations, literary form also took a back seat. This suggested to some that (...) either literature communicated truth like any other literal form of communication or it was a mere diversion: a springboard to harmless reverie or daydreaming. Neither response satisfactorily captured what was distinctive about literature: the love readers can have for literary texts and the edification or insight claimed of works within each culture’s respective catalogue of classics. However, a concept of literary beauty has again become viable due to developments in theories of pleasure and imagination. If the defining aspect of literature is the imaginative engagement it occasions, and if this imagining is constrained by plausibility and endorsed as effective relative to our goals, ideals, and interests, then literature is not reduced to either mere fact or wish fulfillment. An account of literary beauty is available which defines literature accordingly and explains how subjective and objective reasons for appreciation intertwine to evoke pleasure and insight. (shrink)
The chapter challenges hyperbolic claims about the centrality of appreciation of beauty to Buddhism. Within the texts, attitudes are more mixed, except for a form of 'inner beauty' - the beauty found in the expression of virtues or wisdom in forms of bodily comportment. Inner beauty is a stable presence throughout Buddhist history, practices, and art.
This paper attacks an account of Kant's controversial distinction between "free" and "dependent" beauty. I present three problems—The Lorland problem, The Crawford Problem, and the problem of intrinsic relation—that are shown to be a consequence of various interpretations of Kant's distinction. Next, I reconstruct Robert Wicks' well-known account of dependent beauty as "the appreciation of teleological style" and point out a key equivocation in the statement of Wicks' account: the judgment of dependent beauty can be thought to (...) consist in comparing any two objects' teleological styles either in respect of how or in respect of how well each realizes a common purpose. I argue that this equivocation forces Wicks into a dilemma: either he must assert the impossibility of ugliness or he must assert that the judgment of dependent beauty is reducible to the judgment of perfection. Either way, he denies important theoretic desiderata. (shrink)
This paper pursues the philosophical significance of a relatively unexplored point of Platonic aesthetics: the social dimension of beauty. The social dimension of beauty resides in its conceptual connection to shame and honour. This dimension of beauty is fundamental to the aesthetic education of the Republic, as becoming virtuous for Plato presupposes a desire to appear and to be admired as beautiful. The ethical significance of beauty, shame, and honour redound to an ethically rich notion of (...) appearing before others which corresponds to a public conception of virtue. I suggest how this dimension of beauty in Plato – particularly the emphasis on beautification – proves fruitful for reconsidering the scope and the nature of aesthetic experience. (shrink)
Emphasizing the human body in all of its forms, Beauty Unlimited expands the boundaries of what is meant by beauty both geographically and aesthetically. Peg Zeglin Brand and an international group of contributors interrogate the body and the meaning of physical beauty in this multidisciplinary volume. This striking and provocative book explores the history of bodily beautification; the physicality of socially or culturally determined choices of beautification; the interplay of gender, race, class, age, sexuality, and ethnicity within (...) and on the body; and the aesthetic meaning of the concept of beauty in an increasingly globalized world. Foreward by Carolyn Korsmeyer. Authors include Noel Carroll, Gregory Velazco Y Trianosky, Monique Roelofs, Whitney Davis, Eleanor Heartney, Diana Tietjens Meyers, Phoebe M. Farris, Mary Devereaux, Jo Ellen Jacobs, Karina L. Cespedes-Cortes and Paul C. Taylor, Fedwa Malti-Douglas, Stephen Davies, Jane Duran, Valerie Sullivan Fuchs, Keith Lehrer, Allen Douglas, Cynthia Freeland, Eva Kit Wah Man, Mary Bittner Wiseman, and Peg Brand's essay, "ORLAN Revisited: Disembodied Virtual Hybrid Beauty.". (shrink)
To what extent does dance contribute to an ideal of beauty that can enrich human quality of life? To what extent are standards of beauty predicated on an ideal human body that has no disability? In this chapter, we show how conceptions of proportionality, perfection, and ethereality from the Ancient Greeks through the 19th century can still be seen today in some kinds of dance, particularly in ballet. Disability studies and disability-inclusive dance companies, however, have started to change (...) this. The disabled person can be beautiful, we will show, in dance and in life, under a disability aesthetics that follows Edmund Burke (1730-1797) and that suggests an alternative standard of beauty, which we call “beauty-in-experience,” where beauty is perceived in the qualitative experience of abled and disabled dancers moving together in dance. (shrink)
Analyses of the Sleeping Beauty Problem are polarised between those advocating the “1/2 view” and those endorsing the “1/3 view”. The disagreement concerns the evidential relevance of self-locating information. Unlike halfers, thirders regard self-locating information as evidentially relevant in the Sleeping Beauty Problem. In the present study, we systematically manipulate the kind of information available in different formulations of the Sleeping Beauty Problem. Our findings indicate that patterns of judgment on different formulations of the Sleeping Beauty (...) Problem do not fit either the “1/2 view” or the “1/3 view.” Human reasoners tend to acknowledge self-locating evidence as relevant, but discount its weight significantly. Accordingly, self-locating information may trigger more cautious judgments of confirmation than familiar kinds of statistical evidence. We also discuss how these results can advance the debate by providing a more nuanced and empirically grounded account or explication of the evidential impact of self-locating information. (shrink)
Beauty and the End of Art shows how a resurgence of interest in beauty and a sense of ending in Western art are challenging us to rethink art, beauty and their relationship. By arguing that Wittgenstein's later work and contemporary theory of perception offer just what we need for a unified approach to art and beauty, Sonia Sedivy provides new answers to these contemporary challenges. These new accounts also provide support for the Wittgensteinian realism and theory (...) of perception that make them possible. -/- Wittgenstein's subtle form of realism explains artworks in terms of norm governed practices that have their own varied constitutive norms and values. Wittgensteinian realism also suggests that diverse beauties become available and compelling in different cultural eras and bring a shared 'higher-order' value into view. With this framework in place, Sedivy argues that perception is a form of engagement with the world that draws on our conceptual capacities. This approach explains how perceptual experience and the perceptible presence of the world are of value, helping to account for the diversity of beauties that are available in different historical contexts and why the many faces of beauty allow us to experience the value of the world's perceptible presence. -/- Carefully examining contemporary debates about art, aesthetics and perception, Beauty and the End of Art presents an original approach. Insights from such diverse thinkers as Immanuel Kant, Hans-Georg Gadamer and Arthur Danto, Alexander Nehamas, Elaine Scarry and Dave Hickey are woven together to reveal how they make good sense if we bring contemporary theory of perception and Wittgensteinian realism into the conversation. (shrink)
About a decade ago, Adam Elga introduced philosophers to an intriguing puzzle. In it, Sleeping Beauty, a perfectly rational agent, undergoes an experiment in which she becomes ignorant of what time it is. This situation is puzzling for two reasons: First, because there are two equally plausible views about how she will change her degree of belief given her situation and, second, because the traditional rules for updating degrees of belief don't seem to apply to this case. In this (...) dissertation, my goals are to settle the debate concerning this puzzle and to offer a new rule for updating some types of degrees of belief. Regarding the puzzle, I will defend a view called "the Lesser view," a view largely favorable to the Thirders' position in the traditional debate on the puzzle. Regarding the general rule for updating, I will present and defend a rule called "Shifted Jeffrey Conditionalization." My discussions of the above view and rule will complement each other: On the one hand, I defend the Lesser view by making use of Shifted Jeffrey Conditionalization. On the other hand, I test Shifted Jeffrey Conditionalization by applying it to various credal transitions in the Sleeping Beauty problem and revise that rule in accordance with the results of the test application. In the end, I will present and defend an updating rule called "General Shifted Jeffrey Conditionalization," which I suspect is the general rule for updating one's degrees of belief in so-called tensed propositions. (shrink)
There is a deep problem with beauty. Beauty is commonly equated with sexual attractiveness. Yet there is also the beauty of art, which arouses an aesthetic response of disinterested contemplation. As Roger Scruton writes in his recent book, Beauty : “In the realm of art beauty is an object of contemplation, not desire.” Are there, then, two kinds of beauty? By looking back at the classical Greek conception of beauty, we may see how (...) it gave rise to the modern dilemma, and some possible ways of resolving it. (shrink)
Paired masks described as beautiful and grotesque express complementary values in several southern Nigerian art traditions. Beautiful masks represent humans, often women, and serve as metaphors for things associated with civilization and culture. Grotesque masks represent animals or men, and tend to be linked with notions of masculinity and nature. Analysis of masks falling into these categories provides us with a set of formal criteria for this imagery. Mask types that fall into this continuum are used by the Okpella, a (...) northern Edo people living north of Benin City in southern Nigeria: a female character commemorating specific women of status and described as beautiful, a more ambiguous character that serves as the festival herald and messenger of the Dead Fathers described as grotesque, and a third masquerade that combines elements of both the beautiful and grotesque is described as fascinating. Why and how these forms communicate to their Okpella audience is the focus of this paper. It is based on qualitative research on the history and meaning of these masks carried out among the Okpella, survey research on aesthetic preference in which 400 individuals were interviewed, and with a panel study in which 100 participants from the original sample were re-interviewed. Key words: beautiful, grotesque, Africa, okpella, masquerade, aesthetics. Resumen Las máscaras emparejadas descritas como ‘bellas’ y ‘grotescas’ expresan valores complementarios en varias tradiciones artísticas del sur de Nigeria. Las máscaras bellas representan a los humanos, frecuentemente mujeres, y se emplean como metáforas de aspectos asociados con la civilización y la cultura. Las máscaras grotescas representan animales u hombres, y suelen vincularse con nociones de masculinidad y de naturaleza. El análisis de las máscaras que entran en estas dos categorías proporciona un conjunto de criterios formales para comprender este imaginario. El grupo étnico Edo del norte que vive al norte de Ciudad de Benín en el sur de Nigeria, los okpella, usan máscaras de este tipo. Existe un personaje femenino descrito como bello, un personaje más ambiguo descrito como grotesco y un tercero que combina elementos del bello y del grotesco y que se describe como fascinante. En este artículo nos interesamos en qué y cómo comunican estas formas con los okpella. Nuestro trabajo se apoya sobre una investigación cualitativa realizada entre los okpella, una encuesta sobre preferencia estética en la cual se entrevistó a 400 personas y un estudio en el cual se volvió a entrevistar a 100 personas de la muestra anterior. Palabras clave: belleza, grotesco, África, okpella, mascarada, estética. (shrink)
The notion of beauty has been and continues to be one of the main concerns of aesthetics and art theory. Traditionally, the centrality of beauty in the experience of art was widely accepted and beauty was considered one of the key values in aesthetics. In recent debate, however, the significance of the notion of beauty has been discussed controversially. Especially in the second half of the twentieth century, the role of beauty was strongly challenged both (...) by artists and in philosophy and theory of art. Beauty was no longer a central value, but just one aesthetic feature among many others. In recent years, however, the notion of beauty has been re-evaluated, some even speak of a “comeback of beauty”. Against this background it is one of the main tasks and challenges of contemporary aesthetics to develop a more profound understanding of the nature of beauty, its different forms and dimensions, and its place in art theory and practice – and in human life. In the contributions to this volume, leading scholars in the field explore the significance of the notion of beauty, its key aspects, and its relevance in various aesthetic disciplines. The questions addressed in the volume can be summarized in the following three headings: What is beauty? What is beautiful? How does the value of beauty relate to other aesthetical values? The volume contains a selection of invited contributions, including: María José Alcaraz León, Hanne Appelqvist, Allen Carlson, Noël Carroll, Stephen Davies, Richard Eldridge, John Gibson, Peter Lamarque, Catrin Misselhorn, Otto Neumaier, Elisabeth Schellekens, Maria Elisabeth Reicher-Marek, Sonia Sedivy, Davide dal Sasso, and Lisa Kathrin Schmalzried -/- . (shrink)
The first part of the following text does make the map of an answer to the question of knowing if and how it is possible to speak of beautiful art in the context of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment. There is an appeal to the conditions of the freedom of the imagination, to an interpretation of representation as exemplification and to a reference to aesthetic purposes and constraints. This way it will be made evident it is possible (...) to think the judgment by means of which one declares a work of art a beautiful one as a pure judgment of taste and the artistic beauty as free beauty. Starting from a reflection on what it does mean to speak of aesthetic purposes and constraints, it will be put at stake, in the second part of the text, the univocity of meaning of the notion of taste in Kant’s third Critique. Perhaps in the case of the pure judgment of taste by means of which one declares a work of art a beautiful one it is mandatory to appeal not only to taste as aesthetic power of judgment, but to another taste: a corpus which is narrowly connected with the mechanical, compulsory and academic side of beautiful art. (shrink)
Th. W. Adorno’s aesthetics represents a comprehensive reflection on a number of important topics in aesthetic research. Among them is the issue of the aesthetic experience generated by the beauty of nature. In the perspective of Adorno’s theory, the experience of natural beauty is described as a quality that forms in an immanent relation to the historical and social reality of humans. In the first place, one can observe the fundamental dependence of natural beauty on the degree (...) of social domination of nature. By failing to reflect on this social mediation, the experience of natural beauty appears to be immediate and creates the deceptive fantasy of the primordial form of nature. At the same time, however, Adorno uncovers a positive potential in the experience of natural beauty – it lies in the ability to transcend a power-based subjectivity that reduces reality to the substrate of the domination. By means of the transcendence of subjectivity, the experience of natural beauty opens up the possibility to perceive and approach reality in the unreduced fullness of its qualities while also anticipating a reconciliation of man with nature in an allegorical way. The aim of my study is to describe the sketched aspects of the experience of natural beauty. (shrink)
Romantic lovers notoriously overestimate the physical attractiveness of their own partners. This phenomenon is typically described as a kind of delusion or 'madness', and ascribed to the irrationality of love. I argue, on the contrary, that it does not involve distortion, error, or irrationality, but rather is an intelligible result of the particular kind of relationship that romantic love involves. In my explanation, I emphasize the critical role of the imagination in lovers' perception of beauty.
The Sleeping Beauty problem is presented in a formalized framework which summarizes the underlying probability structure. The two rival solutions proposed by Elga and Lewis differ by a single parameter concerning her prior probability. They can be supported by considering, respectively, that Sleeping Beauty is “fuzzy-minded” and “blank-minded”, the first interpretation being more natural than the second. The traditional absent -minded driver problem is reinterpreted in this framework and sustains Elga’s solution.
Beauty is evil, a surreptitious diversion of earthly delights planted by the devil, according to the third century theologian-philosopher Tertullian. Beauty is a manifestation of the divine on earth, according to another third century philosopher, Plotinus. Could these two really be talking about the same thing? That beauty evokes an experience of pleasure is probably the only point on which all participants in the continuing debate on beauty agree. But what kinds of pleasure one considers relevant (...) to an experience of beauty, is the crux of the problem of beauty. In ancient, medieval and eighteenth century philosophy, the problem of beauty was framed by the larger concern of what constituted a good life. The question regarding the nature of beauty was answered with a view to its role in achieving the good life for those who cultivated its apprehension. In the twentieth century, philosophers framed the problem of beauty as a problem for conceptual analysis. The questions asked were: Is beauty subjective or objective? Are there properties in the object that count towards beauty in all cases; that are sufficient or necessary for an object to be judged beautiful? What kind of pleasure is the pleasure we experience of beauty? I will examine how these questions can be seen to have been answered by earlier philosophical traditions and then I will use these questions as a guide to developing an explanatory theory of beauty based on contemporary theories of perception. (shrink)
Theories of beauty are often divided into the objective and the subjective. I am doubtful whether a rigid distinction between the two can be maintained. It is difficult for an objective theory to assert that the impression of beauty is received quite passively, without any reaction or co-operation on the part of the subject, which is likely to be similar in the various cases.
Kant uses the concept of the symbol to show the complicated relationship between the autonomy of beauty and its systematic function as a transition from nature to freedom, which are the two most important topics in the third Critique. Beauty’s symbolism of morality lies in the analog between aesthetic reflection and moral disposition; concretely, it lies in the purity or disinterestedness and self-legislation as negative and positive freedom in both subjective states of mind. In this scenario, beauty’s (...) symbolism does not refer to aesthetic ideas that either involve intelligent interests (in the beauty of nature) or presuppose an end (in the beauty of art); it also cannot be grounded in the supersensible substrate, which is an elevated and metaphysical principle of the judgment of taste given in the Dialectic but not the original principle of subjective purposiveness in the Analytic. With this formal relationship, beauty and morality accelerate each other in the empirical-anthological sense—but they are also not a sufficient or necessary condition for each other. Furthermore, through symbolism, taste looks toward the intelligible and serves as a transition from nature to freedom from the transcendental perspective. (shrink)
In the Timaeus Plato describes the world as the ‘most beautiful’ of generated things. Perhaps indeed this is the first systematic description of the beauty of the world. It is, at any rate, one of the most influential statements of the theme. The Stoics were deeply convinced by it and later, in the third century A.D., at a time when contempt and hate for the world were propagated by Gnostic movements, Plotinus, interpreting the Timaeus, would write magnificent passages on (...) the beauty and value of the world. But what does Plato mean by the ‘beauty’ of the world? What makes the world beautiful? In this paper these questions are approached first by a brief discussion of the distinction which Plato appears to make in the Timaeus between beauty and the good. In one passage ‘measure’ seems to relate to this distinction. It is suitable then to look at a section of another late work of Plato, the Philebus, where the themes of beauty, goodness and measure may be compared in more detail. The theme of measure then takes us back to the Timaeus, in order to examine the role played by measure, in particular mathematical measure, in constituting the beauty of the world. I discuss in detail the way in which mathematical structures make for the beauty of soul and body in the living whole that is the world. (shrink)
This is an 18,500 word bibliography of philosophical scholarship on Beauty which was published online in the Oxford Bibliographies Online. The entry includes an Introduction of 800 words, 21 x 400-word sub-themes and 168 annotated references. INTRODUCTION Philosophical interest in beauty began with the earliest recorded philosophers. Beauty was deemed to be an essential ingredient in a good life and so what it was, where it was to be found and how it was to be included in (...) a life were prime considerations. The way beauty has been conceived has been influenced by an author’s other philosophical commitments, metaphysical, epistemological and ethical and such commitments reflect the historical and cultural position of the author. For example, beauty is a manifestation of the divine on earth to which we respond with love and adoration; beauty is a harmony of the soul which we achieve through cultivating feeling in a rational and tempered way; beauty is an idea raised in us by certain objective features of the world; beauty is a sentiment which can nonetheless be cultivated to be appropriate to its object; beauty is the object of a judgment by which we exercise the social, comparative and inter-subjective elements of cognition and so on. Such views on beauty not only reveal underlying philosophical commitments but also reflect positive contributions to understanding the nature of value and the relation of mind and world. One way to distinguish between beauty theories is according to the conception of the human being that they assume or imply, for example, where they fall on the continuum from determinism to free will, ungrounded notions of compatibilism notwithstanding. For example, theories at the latter end might carve out a sense of genuine innovation and creativity in human endeavours while at the other end of the spectrum authors may conceive of beauty as an environmental trigger for consumption, procreation or preservation in the interests of the individual. Treating beauty experiences as in some respect intentional, characterises beauty theory prior to the twentieth century and since, mainly in historically inspired writing on beauty. On the other hand, treating beauty as affect or sensation has always had its representatives and is most visible today in evolutionary inspired accounts of beauty (though not all evolutionary accounts fit this classification). Beauty theory falls under some combination of metaphysics, epistemology, meta-ethics, aesthetics and psychology. While in the twentieth century beauty was more likely to be conceived as an evaluative concept for art, recent philosophical interest in beauty can again be seen to exercise arguments pertaining to metaphysics, epistemology, meta-ethics, philosophy of meaning and language in addition to philosophy of art and environmental aesthetics. (shrink)
In Beauty and Revolution in Science, James McAllister advances a rationalistic picture of science in which scientific progress is explained in terms of aesthetic evaluations of scientific theories. Here I present a new model of aesthetic evaluations by revising McAllister’s core idea of the aesthetic induction. I point out that the aesthetic induction suffers from anomalies and theoretical inconsistencies and propose a model free from such problems. The new model is based, on the one hand, on McAllister’s original model (...) and on further developments by Theo Kuipers in his “Beauty, a Road to the Truth?”. On the other hand, it is based on empirical findings about affection and emotion, and a naturalistic aesthetic theory. The new model is thus a naturalistic model with a wider explanatory range and much more internal consistency that McAllister’s. (shrink)
Beauty challenges conventional approaches to the subject through an interdisciplinary approach that forges connections between the arts, sciences and mathematics. Classical, conventional aspects of beauty are addressed in subtle, unexpected ways: symmetry in mathematics, attraction in the animal world and beauty in the cosmos. This collection arises from the Darwin College Lecture Series of 2011 and includes essays from eight distinguished scholars, all of whom are held in esteem not only for their research but also for their (...) ability to communicate their subject to popular audiences. Each essay is entertaining, accessible and thought-provoking and is accompanied by images illustrating beauty in practice. Contributors include the artist José Hernández, Nobel Prize Laureate Frank Wilczek, Lord May of Oxford and Jeanne Altmann. (shrink)