Is there a universal standard for beauty?

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hue-man
 
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2009 03:27 pm
@Pangloss,
Pangloss;89646 wrote:
Why not, if the idea of 'beauty' clearly varies from person to person, culture to culture, time period to time period, etc? That there is some absolute measure of 'beauty' is a claim that needs to be proven, because relative beauty that exists 'in the eye of the beholder' is quite apparent.

In western culture, for example, 150 years ago, women were seen to be more 'beautiful' if they were somewhat plump (well-fed but not fat) and pale in skin tone. Now, what is 'beautiful' for a woman in our culture is to be tanned and skinny. Of course there are a host of other things involved when determining if another person is 'beautiful' or attractive or not, including evolved psychological responses, facial expressions, tone of voice, social status etc...

It's also interesting that we talk of 'beauty' when referring to pleasurable sights and sounds, such as a painting or musical performance. But the other senses somehow do not convey 'beauty'...people typically do not say that a touch, smell, or taste is beautiful. What is it about sights and sounds that can be beautiful? Is beauty even something that can be logically determined, or do we just 'sense' beauty immediately when it hits us...because in my experience, it is the latter.


I think he's saying that you shouldn't assume that just because people have varying opinions of what is or isn't beautiful that means that beauty is relative. Sure people have varying opinions of beauty, and those opinions are shaped by culture, and culture is shaped by isolation. But maybe there is a standard for beauty that is universal regardless of culture, such as facial symmetry and balance.

People also have varying opinions on the nature of reality, but that doesn't mean that nature is relative.
 
Belial phil
 
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2009 03:33 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;89652 wrote:
I don't know what you mean by "beliefs", but a lot of people believe that ETA's don't exist, and a lot of believe they do.
In the second place, you are begging the question, by assuming that it is not a fact that Beethoven's last quartets are beautiful. To say something is a fact is to say that it is true. And it is certainly true that the last quartets are beautiful. And most musical experts agree with me.


I mean belief in aliens and God is relative. But God being, in fact, real and aliens being, in fact, real are not, even if we don't know whether or not they are, in fact, real.

They may be beautiful, or they may not be.
That's why I'm asking what you're defining beauty as.
I've been thinking of beauty as something pleasurable to the senses, usually the sense of sight but possibly that if hearing and maybe even smell, touch, and taste.
 
Octal
 
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2009 09:01 pm
@Leonard,
If there is an objective beauty (which there isn't) it would have to exist in something outside of normal reality, because when we see a painting of a familiar object, we can infer beauty from the concept behind the painting (for example, a baby could be beautiful because the thought of innocence or new life, not because it is aesthetically pleasing). Thus objective beauty must be found in abstract art, something outside of normal existence, something that can just entrance the eye (psychedelics + psychedelic art is an example).

I guess from a Darwinian standpoint the opposite sex must be objectively attractive, for how else would we reproduce? But it might be that the thought of sex is what is pleasing, not the opposite sex, thus relating us back to the concept example.

Just ideas.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2009 09:11 pm
@Octal,
Octal;89770 wrote:
I
But it might be that the thought of sex is what is pleasing, not the opposite sex, thus relating us back to the concept example.
Just ideas.
I personally find that hard to believe.
 
Octal
 
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2009 10:00 pm
@Caroline,
Caroline;89772 wrote:
I personally find that hard to believe.

And unless you give some sort of rational as to why it is hard to believe your statement has just as much authority as mine.

Also note the "might" in the original statement, thus making it so that I wasn't declaring a truth, just some random thought I had.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2009 11:38 pm
@Belial phil,
Belial;89673 wrote:
I mean belief in aliens and God is relative. But God being, in fact, real and aliens being, in fact, real are not, even if we don't know whether or not they are, in fact, real.

They may be beautiful, or they may not be.
That's why I'm asking what you're defining beauty as.
I've been thinking of beauty as something pleasurable to the senses, usually the sense of sight but possibly that if hearing and maybe even smell, touch, and taste.



Well, of course belief is relative. Different individuals, and different cultures, vary in beliefs. But I didn't think we were talking about what is believed, but what is true regardless of what is believed. The fact that different societies have differing beliefs about the nature of disease is one thing. But that doesn't mean that the nature of disease in different in different societies. When we call something "beautiful" we are praising it for having certain characteristics or features that ought to give pleasure to those who apprehend it, when those people understand and appreciate what they are apprehending. So, that people do not feel pleasure when they apprehend the object of beauty just means that they are unable to appreciate the object given their present state of knowledge or sensibility.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 08:31 am
@Octal,
Octal;89770 wrote:
If there is an objective beauty (which there isn't) it would have to exist in something outside of normal reality, because when we see a painting of a familiar object, we can infer beauty from the concept behind the painting (for example, a baby could be beautiful because the thought of innocence or new life, not because it is aesthetically pleasing). Thus objective beauty must be found in abstract art, something outside of normal existence, something that can just entrance the eye (psychedelics + psychedelic art is an example).

I guess from a Darwinian standpoint the opposite sex must be objectively attractive, for how else would we reproduce? But it might be that the thought of sex is what is pleasing, not the opposite sex, thus relating us back to the concept example.

Just ideas.


The question isn't whether or not beauty is an objective phenomenon that is representative of reality. Beauty is an aesthetic notion; it is an opinion of goodness. Goodness and badness are not objective features of reality.

The question is whether or not there is a universal standard of beauty (facial symmetry) that all human adhere to due to evolutionary psychology?
 
richrf
 
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 08:39 am
@hue-man,
hue-man;89823 wrote:
The question is whether or not there is a universal standard of beauty (facial symmetry) that all human adhere to due to evolutionary psychology?


I don't think so. Let's face it, we are a consumer driven society and their are people who like to make money by fixing up people:

1) Teeth
2) Breasts
3) Eyes
4) Lips
5) Legs
6) Butt
7) Ears
8) Height

etc.

So, they fund some study that makes women think that they need to have some elective surgery or some sort. It is a giant business! There are all kinds of studies on this market, how to increase and penetrate this market. It is a great source of income.

Rich
 
hue-man
 
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 09:11 am
@richrf,
richrf;89824 wrote:
I don't think so. Let's face it, we are a consumer driven society and their are people who like to make money by fixing up people:

1) Teeth
2) Breasts
3) Eyes
4) Lips
5) Legs
6) Butt
7) Ears
8) Height

etc.

So, they fund some study that makes women think that they need to have some elective surgery or some sort. It is a giant business! There are all kinds of studies on this market, how to increase and penetrate this market. It is a great source of income.

Rich


OK, richrf, seriously, your proposition is a conspiracy theory. There's no evidence to claim that the studies that have been done on opinions of beauty are linked to the plastic surgery industry.

I have no ties to the plastic surgery industry, and I agree that people with symmetrical and ethnically balanced features are most attractive to me, and most people I ask agree as well. It doesn't mean that you should go and have plastic surgery if one eye is slightly smaller than the other.
 
richrf
 
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 09:18 am
@hue-man,
hue-man;89823 wrote:
OK, richrf, seriously, your proposition is a conspiracy theory. There's no evidence to claim that the studies that have been done on opinions of beauty are linked to the plastic surgery industry.

I have no ties to the plastic surgery industry, and I agree that people with symmetrical and ethnically balanced features are most attractive to me, and most people I ask agree as well. It doesn't mean that you should go and have plastic surgery if one eye is slightly smaller than the other.


Well, I have been around the block a few times, and I know when to put on my cynical hat.

I remember the days before deodorants. When everyone smelled fine and then all of a sudden there is a barrage of commercials on TV suggesting that there are these nasty smells caused by bacteria that have to be dealt with!

And then, there was a time when maybe one out of a thousands kids would have orthodontics (braces). Once tooth-decay began to become less of a problem, all of a sudden every kid needed braces and there was all kinds of dental insurance to pay for the braces.

The rest is history: breasts, eyes, cheeks, ears, legs, butts, height. You name it and they can fix it. So, now we have a scientific study that says women are more appealing if they are symmetrical. Great. :perplexed:

Next up is men are more appealing if .... Whoops, more email ads!

Rich
 
hue-man
 
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 09:59 am
@richrf,
richrf;89832 wrote:
Well, I have been around the block a few times, and I know when to put on my cynical hat.

I remember the days before deodorants. When everyone smelled fine and then all of a sudden there is a barrage of commercials on TV suggesting that there are these nasty smells caused by bacteria that have to be dealt with!

And then, there was a time when maybe one out of a thousands kids would have orthodontics (braces). Once tooth-decay began to become less of a problem, all of a sudden every kid needed braces and there was all kinds of dental insurance to pay for the braces.

The rest is history: breasts, eyes, cheeks, ears, legs, butts, height. You name it and they can fix it. So, now we have a scientific study that says women are more appealing if they are symmetrical. Great. :perplexed:

Next up is men are more appealing if .... Whoops, more email ads!

Rich


Wow . . . you're arguing against deodorant now?! This sounds like a personal problem.

The study doesn't just say that women are found to be more beautiful if their features are symmetrical, it says men as well. Why are you making this into a female thing? You're taking this study way too personally.

Science of Sex Appeal: The Beauty of Symmetry : Video : Discovery Channel Channel
 
richrf
 
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 10:54 am
@hue-man,
hue-man;89833 wrote:
Wow . . . you're arguing against deodorant now?! This sounds like a personal problem.

The study doesn't just say that women are found to be more beautiful if their features are symmetrical, it says men as well. Why are you making this into a female thing? You're taking this study way too personally.

Science of Sex Appeal: The Beauty of Symmetry : Video : Discovery Channel Channel


Is all about beauty in symmetry? I think this is beautiful, but I am sure there are differences in opinion.

http://www.theantiquesforum.com/forum/forum-images/Cubism.jpg

Cynicism in this world of scientific studies that are designed to sell products and services, is something good to hang on to. No one and no thing is symmetrical and yet I find beauty in everything.

Two hands, two feet, two eyes, two ears, - two heads?, one brain, one heart, two kidneys, one stomach? There is symmetry and asymmetry - it all depends upon what you are looking at.

Rich
 
Belial phil
 
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 11:21 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;89783 wrote:
Well, of course belief is relative. Different individuals, and different cultures, vary in beliefs. But I didn't think we were talking about what is believed, but what is true regardless of what is believed. The fact that different societies have differing beliefs about the nature of disease is one thing. But that doesn't mean that the nature of disease in different in different societies. When we call something "beautiful" we are praising it for having certain characteristics or features that ought to give pleasure to those who apprehend it, when those people understand and appreciate what they are apprehending. So, that people do not feel pleasure when they apprehend the object of beauty just means that they are unable to appreciate the object given their present state of knowledge or sensibility.


So you're saying pleasure is objective?
I have to disagree.
I think what is pleasurable is relative, subjective, an opinion rather than a fact.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 11:40 am
@richrf,
richrf;89832 wrote:
Well, I have been around the block a few times, and I know when to put on my cynical hat.

I remember the days before deodorants. When everyone smelled fine and then all of a sudden there is a barrage of commercials on TV suggesting that there are these nasty smells caused by bacteria that have to be dealt with!

And then, there was a time when maybe one out of a thousands kids would have orthodontics (braces). Once tooth-decay began to become less of a problem, all of a sudden every kid needed braces and there was all kinds of dental insurance to pay for the braces.

The rest is history: breasts, eyes, cheeks, ears, legs, butts, height. You name it and they can fix it. So, now we have a scientific study that says women are more appealing if they are symmetrical. Great. :perplexed:

Next up is men are more appealing if .... Whoops, more email ads!

Rich


But all that is anecdotal evidence. "For instance is not an argument".
 
richrf
 
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 12:21 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;89848 wrote:
But all that is anecdotal evidence. "For instance is not an argument".


The vast amount of things in this world are never studied (maybe 99.95) and those that are studied always produce contradictory evidence. At some point, someone has to stop, feel, think, and make their own judgments about things. When I hear about a study about people being attracted to symmetry, I immediately thing plastic surgery. Otherwise, what is the point of the study?

As I have pointed out, the whole universe is asymmetrical. There is more matter than anti-matter. We would not exist without asymmetry. And some of the most beautiful things I have witness are asymmetrical:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3611/3645744461_4e754d9347.jpg

Now, I ask myself, why all of a sudden symmetrical beauty is in when asymmetrical haircuts are the rage?

http://www.kaboodle.com/hi/img/c/0/0/6a/a/AAAADJtKKsQAAAAAAGqhxw.jpg

Rich
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2009 12:49 pm
@hue-man,
Why is it that we can't ever really have much of a discussion of beauty before the inevitable 'boobs' and 'pleasure' comes in? I love 'em as much as the next guy, but... it's a bit embarrassing. :p
 
Belial phil
 
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 12:39 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil;89856 wrote:
Why is it that we can't ever really have much of a discussion of beauty before the inevitable 'boobs' and 'pleasure' comes in? I love 'em as much as the next guy, but... it's a bit embarrassing. :p


We weren't referring to sexual pleasure. At least I wasn't, anyway.
There's more to pleasure than sexuality.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 12:50 pm
@Octal,
Octal;89776 wrote:
And unless you give some sort of rational as to why it is hard to believe your statement has just as much authority as mine.

Also note the "might" in the original statement, thus making it so that I wasn't declaring a truth, just some random thought I had.
What you don't find the opposite sex attractive?
 
Belial phil
 
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 01:08 pm
@Caroline,
Caroline;90016 wrote:
What you don't find the opposite sex attractive?


You do realize that there are people who are not heterosexual or bisexual, right?
Not that Octal necessarily fits into that category.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 05:34 pm
@hue-man,
Yeah, I was talking personally. You know what ever flaots your boat, I wasn't really talking about my sexual preferences but lust I guess.
 
 

 
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