Brainiac Beauty: Philosophers and Beauty—What Some Philosophers Have to Say About Beauty That Is Relevant to Empirical Aesthetics (Or Possibly Just Interesting)

  • Rhett DiessnerEmail author


The first great philosophical work on Beauty, in the Western Canon, is Plato’s Symposium wherein he charts the stages of loving beauty: stage one, we fall in love with one particular beautiful body; stage two we love all beautiful bodies; stage three, the human soul (psyche) is more beautiful than the human body; stage four, a love of social order; stage five, loving knowledge and wisdom; and final stage six, loving the divine Beauty itself. Aristotle defines all of the human virtues as being beautiful, and that the telos (the purpose) of the virtues is to manifest moral beauty. Kant and Schopenhauer emphasized disinterest, having no goal concerning the object of beauty other than to appreciate it. Iris Murdoch focused on the ability for natural and artistic beauty to help us unself and become better human beings. Unity-in-diversity is shown as the most common definition for beauty by philosophers. Beauty experiences have both subjective and objective aspects. The feeling of beauty happens inside us, but there is something real about the beauty stimulus. It is the dialectic, the relationship, between the inner and the outer that creates an experience of beauty.

Supplementary material


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lewis-Clark State CollegeLewistonUSA

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