What Is Beauty?

We all have different definitions of beauty. For some people, beauty is the pleasing appearance of things that make those things enjoyable to see. For other people, beauty is something that exists independent of humans and is independent of anything that they could care less about such as appearance. Such persons would include animals and plants. The others would include us, ourselves.


According to my definition beauty is anything that is satisfying to the human eye. This could be anywhere on the human body or in any form. For my definition beauty could also be physical aspects of a person like hair, eyes, skin, teeth, a nose that fits, a voice that carries, a slim build, attractiveness, sexual appeal, affection and intelligence. All of these features could be part of beauty and for me beauty is nothing but satisfying. However, this is not the definition of beauty by other philosophers of beauty. Such philosophers include Aristotle, Leo Tolstoy and Immanuel Kant.

According to these philosophers beauty is primarily an internal state of a person which has no relationship to the outside world. It is a matter of personal preference which arises from our own brain activity. According to them, attractiveness arises from a process called natural selection. Natural selection means that our brains are wired up in a way that causes us to prefer certain features over others. In fact, our brains are so wired up that there is only a limited amount of variation within us that can be considered as attractive.

Beauty according to some philosophers of beauty is not only a matter of physical appearance. There is an argument which they say suggests that beauty is a matter of subjective opinion. For example, some critics say that beauty is determined by the acceptance of beauty standards by other people. According to them, beauty is based on the perception of what is important to other people. They further said that it is subjective and it varies with different individuals.

Therefore, beauty is not a matter of natural selection as it is seen by critics and by some other philosophers of beauty. Rather, it is a matter of personal preference that arises from the activity of the brain which determines one’s personality. The reason why some people find certain features attractive and others not attractive could be because their brain areas have different activity patterns. Their emotional response to the features also differs. For instance, some people are very attracted to breasts while others are not attracted to them at all.

Interestingly, the term beauty actually comes from the Greek word ‘gift’. According to theologists, beauty is defined as the proportionate distribution of the quantity of goodness or beauty in human bodies. Another opinion about beauty is that it is something that appears to exist in all human bodies. Therefore, all human bodies possess some or the other degree of beauty. The existing theories about the nature and the origin of beauty in human bodies are however, not very much proven.