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Does beauty exist?


24 Jul 2014 12:08PM
Does beayty exist or is it sometrhing that only exists in our imagination.
I guess what i'm getting at is beauty something that exists outside of the mind, is it objective or subjective.
I would be glad of anybody's views on this.

Danny

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tpfkapm 3 146 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2014 12:38PM
Spike Milligans view was

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...... Get it out with optrex!
sherlob e2
8 2.4k 126 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2014 1:00PM
Danny,

Your question is deeply philosophical and consequently quite complex with no clear answer only personal opinions and beliefs. E.g. implied within are two much broader questions - does anything exist outside of the mind? And, how can we know if something exists?

In philosophy theories of 'being' are called ontological theories. Here you indicate 2 possible ontological options - that beauty exists as an objective reality (an ontological perspective known as realism), or that beauty is subjective - a constructed reality existing only within our minds (an ontological perspective known as subjectivism).

Similarly, philosophical theories of 'knowing' are called epistemological theories. Objectivism is one such theory that claims that it is possible for us to know objective 'truths' about the world around us. Such a theory assumes a realist ontological position. Similarly there is a counter stance - that of constructivism: a theory that claims that as individuals we construct meaning within our consciousness, and that as such 'truth' is subjective.

You may be thinking - ok, what a load of old bull. However, it is worth noting that some philosophers maintain that philosophy isn't limited to a dry debate about how the world works, but rather to how we live it. Here I come to my main point: that it doesn't matter what beauty may be. Rather what matters is what you believe beauty to be - and as a consequence what you will do with this belief. For me - I believe beauty is a construction of my consciousness, but that it is based on 'things' that are real (a constructivist epistemology based on a realist ontology).

More to the point - how do you think beauty exists? And what will you do with this belief?
TanyaH e2
11 615 58 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2014 1:06PM
It's an odd question, but definitely one that makes you examine your own thoughts on it ...

Does beauty exist outside of our minds? I think so, yes. I personally think that everything and everyone is beautiful in some way or another ... although I think some things are more beautiful than others - e.g. I think the beauty of a natural scene trumps the beauty of a baby aardvark any day of the week Grin I'm sure the mother aardvark thinks her pup/child is beautiful (same could be said for humans, if you want to look at it that way ...).

So I suppose that although beauty exists all around us, in myriad different ways, our perception and acceptance of it has to become subjective, based on our own thoughts, belief systems, state of mind, likes/dislikes etc.

Is beauty objective? Yes, also. For years, we've been told that 'this' configuration or 'that' configuration of facial features are the 'most' beautiful or handsome ... so maybe there's an accepted 'norm' for beauty that we all somehow unconsciously agree on ... although, again, it becomes subjective by its very nature. Most women would say that Brad Pitt is a handsome man - and he is, but personally I always preferred Donald Sutherland when he played Oddball in Kelly's Heroes ... Could he be described as 'handsome'? Probably not, if I'm honest. But is he charismatic and looks like damn good fun? Oh yes Grin And, for me, that makes him more than 'just' his facial features.

Probably Brad Pitt vs Donald Sutherland is not the best example in the world, but it's actually a really hard concept to quantify and justify!!
TanyaH e2
11 615 58 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2014 1:08PM
Nuts ... having just read Sherlob's entry above mine (I took too long to think ...) my 'Brad Pitt vs Donald Sutherland' stance seems a bit lame now Grin
SlowSong e2
6 4.6k 29 England
24 Jul 2014 1:18PM
It depends on who/what you are and who/what you're preferences are.
sherlob e2
8 2.4k 126 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2014 1:23PM
Nah Tanya - although what do you do with your knowledge of beauty given your description?
Lynx08 e2
6 1.2k England
24 Jul 2014 1:58PM
Surely then, given the above views, beauty can't exist. If it can't be defined in some way and we all agree on one definition how can it be?

Brad Pitt, Donald Sutherland leave me unimpressed but Sean Connery, now there's beauty!!
TanyaH e2
11 615 58 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2014 2:16PM

Quote:Nah Tanya - although what do you do with your knowledge of beauty given your description?


I enjoy it ... wherever I find it ... whatever it is ... for however long it's there ... and for whatever reason I find it beautiful. It could be the shape of a cloud; a snowflake before it melts; the particular hue of sunlight; the passing face of a stranger; or the laughter lines around my beloved's eyes when he's happy Smile


Quote:Brad Pitt, Donald Sutherland leave me unimpressed but Sean Connery, now there's beauty!!


Grin ... which just goes to prove that beauty does exist, but that it's subjective to the person viewing it Grin Grin Grin
24 Jul 2014 2:19PM
It does exist but i'ts different in different cultures. It depends on the canons of beauty in certain country.
TanyaH e2
11 615 58 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2014 2:37PM
Couldn't agree more, rollek89 Grin (Also, welcome to the site Grin Been a member for 5 minutes, literally, and you're interacting already ... cool!! Grin Grin Grin)
sherlob e2
8 2.4k 126 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2014 2:37PM

Quote:I enjoy it ... wherever I find it ... whatever it is ... for however long it's there ... and for whatever reason I find it beautiful. It could be the shape of a cloud; a snowflake before it melts; the particular hue of sunlight; the passing face of a stranger; or the laughter lines around my beloved's eyes when he's happy


Then surely you are living your philosophy. May it forever bring you happiness.
TanyaH e2
11 615 58 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2014 2:40PM
Aw, that's so sweet!!! Thank you Grin (I think that as well as being an optimistic cynic, I'm probably a bit soppy underneath too - but don't tell anyone I said that ... Smile)
JackAllTog e2
5 3.7k 58 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2014 4:42PM
I don't think it exists as an absolute entity in its own right. I think its always subjective and I'm glad that is so as the we can all find beauty ourselves - i think that is the artistic side of photography - that we learn to see beauty in subjects - things or people.

A green and pleasant landscape is more beautiful than a giant landfill, unless perhaps you are a seagull. It all a matter of perspective, need or desire.

In people there are mathematical formulas to describe beauty in terms of face structure etc. and programs like Portrait Professional 'adjust' faces toward these perfect mathematical models - unless of course you are from another culture that's learned different metrics about beauty - subjective again.

Beauty is whatever we have been taught to admire as beautiful and whilst some colour combinations etc seem more relaxing on the eye even that is not beauty.


So to echo the first reply its in the eye of the beholder.

And in my view its often the role of the photographer to either present the beauty you see to your audience, or even find beauty your audience will appreciate.
redsnappa 12 1.9k United Kingdom
24 Jul 2014 7:38PM

Quote:I don't think it exists as an absolute entity in its own right
Very true.

Beauty is merely a collection of characteristic deemed attractive by the society we live that when applied to certain people, animals, and other living or inanimate objects.

From the day we are able to communicate we are constantly reminded what type people, animals and other things are deemed beautiful. also, depending on the culture in which one lives these collections of characteristics which make a person, a place, animals beautiful will very often differ.

The passage of time can change what a particular society deems beautiful foe example in western Europe Larger more rotund "Rubenesque" woman was considered very beautiful. Now in modern times it western European culture has now dictated to us that the very slim woman is now beautiful.

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