Beauty According To Plato





Beauty According To Plato

The nature of beauty has been an intriguing and long-term discussion in Western philosophy having found a permanent position in the greater field of philosophical aesthetics. Beauty has conventionally been included alongside vital values such as decency, truth, and fairness. In certain circles, beauty is closely interchangeable with other impressive qualities such as perfection and contentment. Discussing the universality of beauty across different cultures is a relatively old challenge. It is clear that beauty metrics are sharply diverse across cultural contexts, and consequently, one could conclude that universal aspects of beauty are non-existent. Cultural definitions of beauty are as diverse as the different tribes and geographical groups spread across the world. However, these are mainly unimportant, when contrasted to evolutionarily pertinent metrics. Creating cross-cultural comparisons of beauty and then debating that this means that beauty lacks any universal standards is a very weak logic. It would be erroneous to argue that since Chinese and Americans are sharply different morphologically, they must come from different species.

In the argument on choosing between inner and outer beauty, it is generally difficult to make a decision about either. Outer beauty is easier to identify although it largely depends on the specific culture, individual preferences as well as other factors. For the purposes of this discussion and consequent arguments, outer beauty will be the focus mainly because it has much more variety and impact (Friedlander 23). Inner beauty is far more difficult to determine and identify in a human being. Outer beauty is what people see and what they relate with immediately. Beauty is fashioned by a biased decision in which each individual establishes at the instance whether something is good-looking or not. Only the person making the evaluation determines the level of beauty of an object and only at the time, the appraisal is being made. Beauty originates not from the object being examined or from some exterior form, but relies on observation itself, and therefore, is devoid of the description that could make it an appropriate object for scientific study.

The pertinent question is whether the appreciation of beauty is universal across different cultures. When portrayed in this manner, it is difficult to argue against such a claim. Certainly, diverse cultures may assume that different aspects are good-looking. This is especially true of human beings and foodstuff, the most common examples addressed in most theories. There is a possibility that the Chinese prefer petite figures and find objectionable canned game meat while Norwegians consider this a disgusting feature. Placing aside what the implications of such inclinations might say about the beauty of the human figure and foodstuff, the issue then becomes whether, in spite of culture, every human being develops an attitude of impartial pleasure toward certain things.

However, people also concentrate on the aesthetic discernment by focusing on the inner beauty and making their personal judgments. Plato encouraged people to overlook the physical features and concentrate on the inner beauty. This brings light to the profundity of an individual that includes the psychological aspects. These factors include their personality: someone that has intellect, charm, and integrity demonstrates true inner beauty (Warry 21). A person possessing true inner beauty will definitely have outer beauty as well, regardless of the way one appears to the public. In such a case, does an individual’s perception or attitude actually change? It really does not. Instead, the only thing that altered was the depth in beauty, and not as an outstanding entity. Currently, humans use their intellect and body as well as their souls to incite and depict beauty.

Obviously, Plato is accurate to identify that authentic beautiful is not similar to an object or individual that is aesthetically beautiful. In the end, beauty can be superficial. Beauty cannot be defined as a physically beautiful object when it emerges in ugly things. In addition, if it was a beautiful object, then it would be the only beautiful thing, and this is hardly ever the case. If the Beautiful is not an actually beautiful thing, neither is it a thing that makes objects beautiful when it is included. Plato’s subsequent portrayal of what beauty is not comprises of the instances of the practical and beneficial (Hofstadter and Kuhns 78). The question is it appropriate to claim that the practical rather than everything else is beautiful. In this manner, almost all things could be beautiful provided they were useful—any living thing, any instrument, appliance, or device, most of the subjects and professions or traditions are all beautiful if they are show their utility. Plato aptly acknowledges a beauty school of thought in which the beautiful is an exterior form. Consequently, it is from this form that beautiful things acquire their quality. While there are numerous indicators of the Beautiful, not even one on its own singly or combined with others can explain the concept of Beautiful. The indicators that illustrate beauty’s presence are not adequate for a thing to be beautiful excluding the fact that they are suitably well organized.


Works Cited

Friedlander, Paul. Plato: An Introduction. Princeton University Press, 2015.

Hofstadter, Albert, and Richard Kuhns. Philosophies of art and beauty: Selected readings in aesthetics from Plato to Heidegger. University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Warry, John Gibson. Greek Aesthetic Theory (RLE: Plato). Routledge, 2013.



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