Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Jan 2008 22:57 UTC, submitted by irbis
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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

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