Beauty is defined by the Collins dictionary as the beauty of a thing. This definition is highly subjective and depends largely on the observer. Beauty is commonly defined as a mental attribute of things that makes these things enjoyable to see. These things include sunsets, landscapes, beautiful humans and other works of art. Beauty, along with other aesthetic sense, is the most important topic of aesthetics, among the many branches of philosophy.
The branches of aesthetic study are the natural sciences, the history of aesthetic beauty, and psychology. The natural sciences deal mostly with how we see the world around us. We have noticed the beauty in nature ever since we could see. We notice animals hunting and living in their natural habitat and marvel at the beauty of flowers and plants. We notice the differences between human culture and the beauty depicted in arts and architecture.
Aesthetic theories are a part of our everyday lives. We cannot escape the beauty of nature and thus turn to art and architecture for inspiration, thus influencing our fashion choices, music, cinema, and other leisure activities. Aesthetics has influenced our cultural and political activities. Some say that beauty can be measured with the quality of a nation’s art and literature, while some say that beauty is subjective.
The history of aesthetic beauty has been deeply affected by how the beholder perceives the object. According to some theories, beauty is the product of an aesthetic experience, which is an emotional response that is directed toward the object or its description. Some theories say that beauty has to do with what the beholder sees, hear, smells or touches. Others believe that beauty exists independent of personal experiences.
Artistic theories also say that beauty has to do with the object’s ability to produce an aesthetic experience. When a work of art fails to satisfy an aesthetic need of a beholder, it is considered ugly or ridiculous. Beauty has to do with what the beholder perceives, hears, smells, and touches. We all differ on what beauty means to us. In essence, beauty comes in various forms that depend on our own individual experiences.
Philosophy of aesthetics has its roots in ancient philosophies such as Stoicism, Parmenides, and Aquinas. The great philosophers were famous for their strong belief in the value of beauty and their desire for a philosophy of aesthetics to guide the masses in making aesthetic decisions. In the modern era, the study of aesthetics evolved into modern aesthetics.