Perception of Beauty

Topics: Aesthetics, Beauty, Human Pages: 2 (709 words) Published: June 17, 2012
“Beauty is truth, truth is beauty.”- John Keats,
What is Beauty?
The term ‘beauty’ is used in multiple contexts. These can be divided into ‘inner beauty’, describing a goodness of personality, and ‘outer beauty’, concerned with aesthetic appearance. On the surface, disfigurement affects outer beauty, but it has been found that changes in appearance can cause anxiety, depression, grief, and a lowered self-esteem. These strongly affect a person’s disposition. Thus, defects in outer beauty can indirectly alter inner beauty.

How do human beings decide who is attractive and who is not? Society is full of messages telling us what is beautiful, but what are those definitions based on? Do we consciously decide whom we are attracted to? The issue of beauty and how we define it has been studied for centuries. Scholars from all fields of study have searched for the "formula" for beauty. Darwin in his book “The Descent of Man” wrote, "It is certainly not true that there is in the mind of man any universal standard of beauty with respect to the human body. It is however, possible that certain tastes in the course of time become inherited, though I have no evidence in favor of this belief." Beauty is an idea. Everybody's idea of beauty is unique. Beauty is a function of culture also. When ideas about beauty make powerful impacts, they can become beauty ideals. What is ideal beauty? We see it everywhere, from paintings, to magazines to TV. Douglas Yu of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, agrees. "It's true by definition. Beauty is always judged by the receiver," he says. At the same time, he says in an email "there is inter-observer concordance, a measure of objectivity," so that individual perceptions of beauty, factoring in other characteristics such as personality and intelligence, can often be aggregated to form a consensus opinion.

Judgment of Beauty
According to Kant, the judgment of beauty is different from cognitive or moral judgment because...

References: Journal of Young Investigators    Undergraduate, Peer-Reviewed Science Journal
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