An Introduction to Aesthetics – Beauty

What is beauty? How does beauty differ from beauty? Beauty is commonly defined as the attributes of specific objects that make those objects enjoyable to see. Such objects may include sunsets, landscapes, beautiful humans and artistic works of art. Beauty, along with personal taste and aesthetic sense, is currently the most significant area of aesthetics, among all the different branches of modern philosophy. The word ‘beauty’ was first used in English in 1733 by writer Thomas Hobbes to define beauty.


According to some philosophers, beauty is the subjective aspect of a rational subject. Other philosophers disagree and define beauty as the inherent properties of things that can be perceived only by the human mind. Aesthetic experience is directly associated to the human eye and its perception of beauty. Aesthetics studies the aesthetic experience of the beholder and not the ability to discern beauty in objects. Aesthetic experiences are the grounds for all aesthetic theories, for the beauty of objects can only be perceived by the individual who appreciates beauty.

In aesthetic terms, beauty is determined by the proportionate distribution of beauty and ugliness in an object. A beautiful object is one which satisfies some aesthetic demand of the beholder. The distribution of beauty in an object is also an aesthetic demand. Beauty exists in nature at any point in time; and is therefore not dependent on the time and place in which it is perceived. Beauty exists for the beholder, not the object. Therefore, beauty exists in all reality irrespective of whether the object is seen or not.