Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Jan 2008 22:57 UTC, submitted by irbis
Opera Software "Tabs. Mouse gestures. User-agent switcher. Dedicated transfer window. Pop-up blocking and javascript abuse filtering. Integrated search box. Page zoom. Session saver. Chew on those features. We'll be coming back to them."
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gary.c
Member since:
2007-07-30

I disagree. I believe there is an objective component.


You realize, I hope, that your statement here ("I believe...") makes explicit the subjective nature of your viewpoint. That illustrates the problem of looking for something objective underlying aesthetic judgements, I think. No matter what "intrinsic component" is found, I suspect it will only be "objective" within a certain social context or world view or philosophy/religion, etc.

I think its actually quite an important question i.e. whether or not things like beauty or aeshetics are intrinsically so or at least have an intrinsic component which makes them beautiful.


An interesting question, but my inclination is to think aesthetic judgements depend on criteria that are valued by a culture or an individual, etc.

Maybe the closer an aspect of appreciation gets to being objective, the less it involves aethetics per se and the more it is related to function (and so quantifiable, such as when involving ergonometric factors, in the area of computer GUIs, for instance).

An individual may not be conscious of the "presets" brought to an aesthetic judgement, but arguments throughout history about what makes a woman beautiful, a man handsome, a painting great, a song good, or (these days) whether a computer interface sucks or not tend to suggest the criteria are not constant though time or shared universally at any given time.

Of course it can be maintained that the "intrisic component" of aesthetics is actually objective and its lack of recognition as such is a failing of societies and individuals, but maintaining this position in itself is a subjective act. So the argument goes beyond aesthetics and focuses on the nature of objectivity. Personally, it seems to me pretty much all examples of objectivity are only objective within a context that specifies rules, such as in mathematics.

There is a little book called "The abolition of man" by C.S. Lewis which you may find interesting.


Thanks, I'll have a look sometime.

Reply Parent Score: 1

andrewg Member since:
2005-07-06

You realize, I hope, that your statement here ("I believe...") makes explicit the subjective nature of your viewpoint. .


My acknowledgement that I may be wrong does not change the fact I believe beauty is not subjective, at least in part. It just means that being human I am limited and realise I could be wrong about my belief.

The conclusions one draws about things like beauty or aesthetics will always goes back to one's central reference point and the nature of that reference point. Try as we might it is impossible for any human to do without that central reference point although many try. I believe that things like beauty flow from that central reference point. So for some calling something beautiful is an irrational almost meaningless statement. For others they can look at calligraphy produced by a master and perceive its innate beauty and look at my cursive and know that its ugly.

Reply Parent Score: 2

gary.c Member since:
2007-07-30

My acknowledgement that I may be wrong does not change the fact I believe beauty is not subjective, at least in part. It just means that being human I am limited and realise I could be wrong about my belief.


Yes, but in this case I think offering the disclaimer that you could be wrong is more than just acknowledging your humanness (which of course applies to all of us). In this case you are providing an example of the very subjectivity that you want to argue against, I think. (Or at least I'm interpreting it that way, which might strike you as unfair.) I'm seeing you as an individual pointing to the possibility of an objective basis for beauty; the very fact that the contention is coming from one individual among many with various ideas on the subject undermines the argument for objectivity.

The conclusions one draws about things like beauty or aesthetics will always goes back to one's central reference point and the nature of that reference point. Try as we might it is impossible for any human to do without that central reference point although many try.


Sorry but I don't see any basis for this idea. A "central reference point" is only central within a people or other group with shared values, as far as I can tell. They aren't necessarily universal. For a particular individual, yes, there might be a central reference point or at least some basis for his/her aesthetic sense, but there's no particular reason to believe that that reference point (yours, say) is the same as the one for someone born hundreds or thousands of years ago in another culture (or even the same as mine).

I believe that things like beauty flow from that central reference point. So for some calling something beautiful is an irrational almost meaningless statement. For others they can look at calligraphy produced by a master and perceive its innate beauty and look at my cursive and know that its ugly.


This example, to me, illustrates the relative nature of the concept of beauty more than it does any objective nature. Calligraphy is expert if it conforms to a prescribed form. The form differs from one culture to another (consider western calligraphy and Chinese and Japanese calligraphy). You might then say it's not the form that must be universal, but how close one comes to emulating the ideal form that is the measure of aesthetic greatness. But then there are movements in art that are deliberate rejections of previous notions of form, and these too are considered works of beauty, at least by some.

There's a lot to take into consideration before coming to simple conclusions about aesthetics, and in my opinion it all fits easier in a theory that allows for multiple, subjective fundamental concepts. Anything pointed to as "objective" or "universal" can be recognized as either having those qualities only within a particular culture and thus not universal at all, or else recognized as not so much a matter of aesthetics as pragmatism, such as qualities related to basic human needs.

Edited 2008-02-04 01:32 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1