Beauty is often defined as the emotional feeling of pleasure associated with objects that make these objects enjoyable to perceive. These objects can be natural objects like beaches, sunsets, rocks, or works of art. Beauty, along with personal taste and art, is probably the most important topic of aesthetics, among the largest branches of science. For aesthetic purposes, beauty has sometimes been associated with other psychological concepts such as social learning, wherein beauty is perceived as the basis for the acceptance of certain societal practices or norms.
The term beauty has various meanings, depending on the culture, time and place where it is used. In the modern age, beauty is often associated with the judgments of others regarding how they see a given activity or situation as beautiful. It is not uncommon to find beauty parlor advertisements that present women with the images of highly attractive models. Advertisers realize that most people have a pre-existing concept of beauty, whether it is related to physical appearance or cultural norms. Beauty is therefore not a one-time experience, but rather a constant state of mind for many people.
According to British philosopher Michael Levey, beauty is “the evaluation of a work of art in its own surroundings as an integral part of the culture that created it”. According to this definition, beauty is subjective and depends on the culture and social conditions in which a given activity takes place. Beauty therefore is subjective, although it may be based on objective criteria such as how a work of art fits with the existing aesthetic tradition. Beauty therefore is dependent on the human condition, and not on any given external standard. Beauty therefore is not independent from, and in fact is dependent upon, culture. Beauty therefore is not merely a subjective construct, but an integral part of culture itself.
According to Levey’s definition, beauty is subjective because beauty depends on the human culture in which an activity takes place. Beauty therefore is dependent on the human condition, and not on any given external standard. Beauty therefore is not independent from, and in fact is dependent upon, culture. However, according to some recent philosophers such as Paulinusena, beauty is determined by the human perception of beauty, which is conditioned by three elements – the body, the mind, and the environment. Beauty thus is dependent on three elements.
According to some philosophers, beauty is also determined by the human imagination. The object of the imagination is not necessarily a physical object. For instance, the beautiful picture of a woman may be generated by the imagination before the woman sees it. Beauty therefore is subjective, and dependent upon the human imagination. A beautiful painting may be generated by the imagination, conditioned by the woman’s perception of beauty.
According to some philosophers, beauty is also determined by the human consciousness. In the mind of a human being, there are two types of beauty: one is purely objective, and the other is subjective, dependent upon the human idea of beauty. Beauty therefore is dependent on the human idea of beauty, and not necessarily on the physical aspect of beauty. For example, the term beauty, used by some philosophers, refers to the beauty of a rose, whereas, for some others, the rose is an object. Beauty therefore is dependent on the idea of beauty.