Instigator / Con

Is Beauty a Objective or Subjective element?


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Contender / Pro

Pro will argue that beauty is subjective and con will argue that beauty is objective.

The use of beauty in this debate constitutes not only human beauty but nature, architecture, poetry, literature, and abstract ideas. Below is a link to a poster that will better explain the different things that hold beauty.

Subjectivists believes that beauty is not universal and changes from individual to individual.

Objectivists believes that everything has beauty and is not something that man can manipulate.

Round 1
Below is a list of famous objectivist philosophers with their respective argument of what beauty is.

The objectivists argue that although beauty is not best served in human physicality, it still exists as a manifestation unlike the subjectivists who denounce all beauty as a mere illusion. Plato, the father of western philosophy stated that "Forms are beautiful, the perfect being is beautiful, and among these forms, the form of good is the most beautiful.”(HZT4U 1) Beauty in humanity is morality and it is a part of human nature and culture. It should not be tossed away as a primitive virtue, on the basis that beauty only instills animal-like need to attract mates. After all beauty is what gives the men the bravery to fight for their homeland and beauty gives pleasure to its onlooker. The objectivists argue that humans are dependent on beauty in order for society to develop and grow with a proper cultural identity. 

Essentially, Harvard University professor of philosophy Richard Moran summarized Aristotle’s understanding of beauty. Aristotle believes that beauty originates from nature and the arts try to imitate the pure and natural beauty that the world offers for free.  Aristotle believed that the human mind when thinking, corrupts the true nature of beauty because beauty is simple. And overthinking the idea of beauty and taste will only cause chronic confusion in the individual.

George Hegel
On the other hand, George Hegel, a well known Western Philosopher who is famous for his revolutionary works on Aryanism believed that everything has beauty to some degree. If an object did not have beauty then that object is non-existent. In his view, God is what tuned humanity's perception of beauty so that one can understand and appreciate the beauty around us.

The mistaken difference between taste and beauty
Beauty is a strict element and it explains why a boring concrete walls is not as pleasant as the vast mountainscapes of Scandinavia or the tropical paradise of the Pacific. But man has free will and he is able to individually rank the beautiful things of this world, this is called taste. Man can favor some beauties over others which explains men's tendency to favor some women better then others while disregarding other women. Although all women have a unique beautiful features, man is what creates hierarchy not nature. In a absolute sense, God is beauty and he is the very essence of what beauty comes from. 

The importance of beauty on society

During the postmodern era, the industrial world has the popular belief that beauty is a physical quality and a characteristic in the external world. Unlike popular thought from objectivist philosophers, man puts a much more emphasis on beauty for the sake of not love but for lust and their egotistic culture. Industrial societies have been embracing this doctrine called materialism and what follows is the decline of tradition and national identity. Materialism discredits the existence of the soul and God and puts full faith in physical properties, turning the sacred man into a savage.

Furthermore, the obliteration of divine virtues is what caused the social and philosophical concept, hyper reality, a term coined by Jean Baudrillard, an expert in postmodern and poststructuralist theory. Hyper reality is caused when the individual is bombarded with simulations of reality. By putting absurd amounts of makeup and plastic surgery, it creates a simulation of reality in both the individual and the environment. The individual will have a distorted view of reality as they will see their current self that is created from unnatural means a part of reality. The environment then will also have a false view of reality on the individual because the environment will regard the individual’s beauty real but in reality it is invalid. They replace their loss of cultural identity with materialism and hedonism.  If the embracement of tradition is the key that is lacking then all that must be done to solve the problem is to embrace traditional values. To be able to understand and appreciate beauty as a universal and constant element of all objects will humble man and save our morally degenerate society.

“Chasing Beauty: Aesthetics, Society and Science: The Theory of Beauty.”HZT4U. Accessed on 18 September, 2022.

Moran, Richard. “Kant, Proust, and the Appeal of Beauty.” Critical Inquiry, vol. 38, no. 2, Winter 2012, pp. 298–329. EBSCOhost,

"Plato’s Aesthetics.”Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 22 June, 2022.

ZIMMERER, JARED. “Beauty, Order, and the Moral Imagination: The Aesthetics of Russell Kirk.” Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought & Culture, vol. 24, no. 4, Fall 2021, pp. 88–115. EBSCOhost,
Thank you, Con for your argument. 

Just to clarify, some things for voters I will provide clarification of certain words for voters/viewers, to base their votes/opinions on.

Con did provide explanations for what subjective and objective mean, but I will provide a clear-cut definition, and one that I think Con will agree with.

"(of a person or their judgment) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts: Contrasted with subjective."
Oxford Dictionary.

"based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions: Contrasted with objective."
Oxford Dictionary.

Beauty is something that not all of us can't exactly agree on. If beauty were to be subjective, then that would assume that someone's feelings, or opinions would not be considered, when calling something, or someone beautiful. Now there are many types of beauty, like physical beauty and emotional beauty and many people have similar views on what they call beautiful in a man, or in a woman, but they are not all exactly the same. If they were to be all exactly the same, then all men would be after one particular woman, and all women would be after one particular man. If they were the same, then there would be billions of people without love. Every person is distinctively different in some way, yet almost everyone has legitimately been called beautiful by their husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend. 

David Hume:
"On the contrary, a thousand different sentiments, excited by the same object, are all right: Because no sentiment represents what is really in the object. It only marks a certain conformity or relation between the object and the organs or faculties of the mind; and if that conformity did not really exist, the sentiment could never possibly have being. Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty. One person may even perceive deformity, where another is sensible of beauty; and every individual ought to acquiesce in his own sentiment, without pretending to regulate those of others. To seek the real beauty, or real deformity, is as fruitless an enquiry, as to pretend to ascertain the real sweet or real bitter."

Immanuel Kant:
"Kant believes he can show that aesthetic judgment is not fundamentally different from ordinary theoretical cognition of nature, and he believes he can show that aesthetic judgment has a deep similarity to moral judgment. For these two reasons, Kant claims he can demonstrate that the physical and moral universes – and the philosophies and forms of thought that present them – are not only compatible, but unified."

In a absolute sense, God is beauty and he is the very essence of what beauty comes from. 
 This is true. Given that Pro agrees that a God does indeed exist, but this doesn't mean that beauty has to be objective. God gave us free will (to choose) and in doing so, gave us all of his beautiful creation to live and thrive in. I would say that beauty is whatever gives man the pleasure in the senses of beauty. I know it is a sort of circular definition, but it is difficult to define true beauty without excluding something that someone else might find truly beautiful. If beauty is truly to be objective, then there must be some sort of a clear-cut definition, yes? Otherwise, it would be what others perceive beauty to be. Now of course God is beauty, and God specifically created all things good, there has to be a line where we draw from sinful, lust or immoral beauty, but again it is difficult to determine what others perceive as beautiful.  

Where do we truly draw the line of objective? 

 To be able to understand and appreciate beauty as a universal and constant element of all objects will humble man and save our morally degenerate society.
So, should we be worried about understanding beauty, rather than admiring it? Of course, there is sinful, lust and immoral beauty, but true good, God given beauty exists, for the purpose to show Gods love for us. So, the real question is, should we seek to understand beauty and cage it into specified areas? Because from what I understand God's beauty is beyond comprehension, so we can't cage it into what we perceive it to be. 

If God is to be beauty, and we can't fully comprehend God's beauty, then who are we to object it to certain areas?

Round 2
Thank you Con for making this debate, though I am rather confused why you never made a counter argument. 

Con forfeited, vote Pro.