View Poll Results: What is beauty?

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  • Subjective

    17 25.00%
  • Objective

    22 32.35%
  • Both/neither subjective and/nor objective

    27 39.71%
  • No idea

    2 2.94%
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Thread: Is Beauty Really Subjective?

  1. #1
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    Is Beauty Really Subjective?

    The other thread made me wonder what you think of this but I didn't want to take it off-topic so here's a new one. Do you think beauty is subjective i.e. in the eye of the beholder, or is it objective?

    For example, I don't think many folks would say Charlize Theron is ugly.



    Nor would many folks say the hunchback of Notre-Dame is beautiful.



    Yet, on the other hand, some racialist folks find African/Asian women ugly while African and Asian men find them beautiful, or even other white men.

    What do you think, maybe a bit of both? :

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    I really think there needs to be a word for inbetween subjective and objective.
    Obviously there is some tendency toward finding something more aesthetically appealing than something else, and to some degree its fixed in biology for obvious reasons (the biggest being health). At the same time there is a great deal of flexibility in perceptions of beauty and some ability to purposefully alter it (for good or ill) as well as a wide range of different opinions and standards which cannot be objectively selected between. Standards of beauty have objective utility according to specific goals - but beauty is a thing which almost justifies itself regardless of utility - and the selection of goals is not objective but inherently based in preference.
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    Subjective-Objective is a false polarity. Experience is subjective, and subjectivity takes part in establishing objectivity. Objectivity wouldn't be possible without subjectivity, and in one sense subjectivity is more real, while in another sense objectivity is more real and harder to deny.

    If we accept empirical evidence and statistics, we can say that most people think that some people and things are beautiful, while others are ugly. But that's not objectivity regarding beauty itself, but about what most people think is beautiful.

    If we discard those methods, we can still argue that beauty is objective, like some Greek philosophers who actually argued that architectoral beauty follows a mathematical ideal. Similarly we could argue that muffin-tops are ugly, while appropriating your wear to your figure is beautiful:


    Muffin-top looks really awkward.


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    No I think it is (mostly) objective.

    There are numerous studies, e.g. which correlate physical attraction to symmetry of physical (face & body) characteristics.

    Also, what was that thread in Skadi? Oh yeah.

    "Does progressiveness equal attractiveness?"

    To a large extent, I vote yes. It's very rare to see beauty in primitive characteristics.

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    Is beauty subjective or objective?
    In a philosophical discussion I'd clearly say subjective because there are a whole lot of people with completely different notions of beauty but in a smalltalk conversation I'd say objective since there are traits seen as beautiful but a very big part of the human population.
    Ceterum censeo Iudaeam esse delendam.

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    i assume we are talking about beauty in general, not simply attractiveness, as physical attractiveness does not only deal with aesthetic considerations but also more paractical things such as health and fitness (i.e. the hunchback may or may not be ugly, but he will never be seens as physically attractive because he is sick and thus seen as dangerous, revolting and undesirable by healthy individuals)

    i would say beauty is entirely subjective, as there is no way of determining how beautiful someone/thing is absolutely. even if 99% of the population designates something is beautiful, the other 1% may disagree and the majority would have absolutely no way of convincing these people otherwise. there is no way to objectively demostrate beauty...

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    Beauty is inherent, thus, it's objective. Saying it's something "subjective" is clealy a confusion of the concept, because our judgement of beauty is evolved through evolution, after all, we are all assessors of it.

    It's in a manner like companies assess risks, different asscessors, given the same object (for example, how risky a merger is), may give out different opinions about how risky it is, but this does not mean the risk itself is subjective. It does not change by any person's opinion.

    In an ideal situation, a poorer assessor of beauty will be punished by his misjudgement genetically, since he is more likely than better assessors to have average or bad-looking offsprings, thus, he is disadvantaged. The better assessors' genes will gain a genetic advantage, so their genes will be more widespread. In real life the process is more complicated, given the complexity of the genetics, and the complex nature of natural & sexual selection.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Griffon View Post
    Beauty is inherent, thus, it's objective. Saying it's something "subjective" is clealy a confusion of the concept, because our judgement of beauty is evolved through evolution, after all, we are all assessors of it.

    It's in a manner like companies assess risks, different asscessors, given the same object (for example, how risky a merger is), may give out different opinions about how risky it is, but this does not mean the risk itself is subjective. It does not change by any person's opinion.

    In an ideal situation, a poorer assessor of beauty will be punished by his misjudgement genetically, since he is more likely than better assessors to have average or bad-looking offsprings, thus, he is disadvantaged. The better assessors' genes will gain a genetic advantage, so their genes will be more widespread. In real life the process is more complicated, given the complexity of the genetics, and the complex nature of natural & sexual selection.
    Uhm no. You are talking about sexual attraction and are not even correct with that since people live in different environments favoring different traits for survival. Beauty is more than sexual attractiveness and you cannot really say that everybody has to like the same type of painting because of alleged genetical reasons.
    Ceterum censeo Iudaeam esse delendam.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Janus View Post
    you cannot really say that everybody has to like the same type of painting because of alleged genetical reasons.
    I didn't mean that. Everyone likes the mate with whom he can spread his OWN genes most successfully.

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    It's genetic if you ask me, we are each born with a genetic template that tells us what a healthy viable, human should look like. The most beautiful humans are the ones that seem most human like.

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