What is Beauty? An Introduction to the Philosophy of Beauty

Beauty is often defined as a subjective quality of things that makes these things pleasurable to see. These things include sunsets, landscapes, beautiful humans and creative works of art. Beauty, along with individual beauty and aesthetic taste, is perhaps the most important theme of aesthetics, among the most important branches of psychology. The word “beauty” is also used in connection with emotional states, such as love and romance, which tend to be related more to the cognitive aspect of our psychological make-up.


Beauty is subjective; it is affected by what is seen as beautiful, and what is seen as not beautiful. However, there are some things that are universally accepted as being aesthetically pleasing, regardless of culture, time, individuals or even opinions: Aesthetic taste is an aesthetic quality, and an aesthetic quality can be compared to a judgment or opinion. The object of aesthetic appeal is therefore the sum of all the opinions that are combined into an object of beauty.

For Aristotle, aesthetics is divided into three main branches: natural aesthetics, human aesthetics and aesthetic metaphysics. According to Aristotle, aesthetic qualities are universal while natural qualities are those that are found in nature only. Human aesthetics deals more with personal tastes, whereas natural aesthetics and aesthetic metaphysics deal more with the definition of the forms of excellence existing in the real world. In essences, however, both human beauty and aesthetic beauty are simply the qualities of the human form.