What is beauty? The term beauty, as used in philosophy, is a subjective concept. Regardless of the discipline, it is a concept that is always subject to disagreement. Hume and Kant both proposed different ways of defining beauty. While some may agree with the rationale of these two philosophers, there is much controversy about what constitutes beauty. The reason for this is not always clear, and some experts say that it is subjective, and that the best way to measure beauty is to use subjective measures, not objective criteria.
The classical conception of beauty relies on a distinction between the object’s shape and its proportions. According to this view, beauty is a product of human intellection and practical activity. To determine what is beautiful, one must know what it is being used for, and assess whether it suited for that use. In other words, beauty can be reproduced, but the object itself must be aesthetically pleasing. The idea of beauty is that it should make us happy.
Despite the inherent flaws of beauty, the term remains important. Throughout history, its meaning has changed, and the concept has been scrutinized and questioned. In the 1980s, the feminist philosophy of beauty brought renewed interest to the subject. However, these criticisms are largely ignored. In the 1980s, beauty became a political issue. The social justice movement of the time highlighted this problem. Hence, the term beauty came to be defined as a cultural construct that is not in the interests of one individual.
The political and social entanglements of beauty have put classical theories into question. Beauty has become central to capitalism and politics, and it is often associated with oppression and injustice. The austere formalism of the classical conception is rendered meaningless when the construction process is exploitative and oppressive. These political and social entanglements have weakened the status of beauty and made it less acceptable. It is therefore no surprise that beauty has become a political and economic issue.
The experience of beauty does not reside exclusively within the brain of the experiencer, but connects observers to objects and communities of appreciation. Although the experience of beauty is subjective, its underlying process provides pleasure to the senses. The idea that art is a matter of taste and not of popularity is a fundamentally unsustainable idea. If the concept of beauty remains in place, the art world will be a constant conflict between individual tastes and the popular consensus.
A broader definition of beauty has been proposed by several philosophers. A more direct approach is used by the ancient hedonist Aristippus of Cyrene. According to Socrates, the definition of beauty is what is good for use, not what is pretty. The idea of beauty is not limited to physical attributes; it includes the way people treat others. It can be a human or an object. The object of beauty may be an everyday object or a fictional character.