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I think beautiful is very subjiective

  1. May 3, 2003 #1
    what is "beautiful"?
    i think beautiful is very subjiective
    had beautiful have any rule or reason??
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2003 #2
    Re: beautiful

    Beautiful is just another word and, therefore, it is only useful if people can agree on what it means. Sure, it can have subjective meaning as well, but the whole point of words and language is to encourage people to think and act alike, to pull together towards common goals. All the touchy-feely artists with their "I've got to be free to express my individuality" are only tolerated by society if they produce what people want. That's what beauty is.
  4. May 3, 2003 #3


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    Greetings !

    In general, I think stuff like emotions are
    ussualy subjective but we can't express them
    without words, which in turn mustn't be accepted
    as objective generalizations - just means
    of communication of objective sensations.

    Nevertheless, we do have certain general
    "in built" biological tendencies - instincts.
    They can indicate to us some general forms
    of beauty - like when it comes to the opposite
    sex or great natural open spaces which
    are often grasped as signs of freedom and
    harmony with the Earth that we and all our
    ancestors became used and adapted to.

    I like wili's part about artists...

    Live long and prosper.
  5. May 3, 2003 #4
    I think that people have come to agree on the feeling of beauty more than what is beautiful. When someone says "That is beautiful", you have a basic idea of how they feel, but you may very much disagree with that person's appraisal of beautiful.
  6. May 3, 2003 #5
    Exactly. 'Beauty' is unpredictable. But the 'concept of beauty' itself is universally-understood (via individual experience of the concept).
    So it can be said that 'beauty' is universally understood, but that its reach is individually diverse.
    At this point, I'd like to ask how physical-processes alone can account for such a diversity of experience concerning a universally-understood concept.
    When I listen to music, for example, I can find beauty in a tune which irritates others, or which most people may have varying degrees of indifference towards. Yet the same 'external data' enters our ears (which all work upon the same principle), via the same physical-processes (when listening to that same tune).
    So; if physical-processes are consistent, how can we attribute the individual-experience of 'beauty' to physical processes alone?
  7. May 3, 2003 #6

    Tom Mattson

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    That's an easy one: Everyone's brain is different.

    Your genes and your environment are responsible for the way your head is "wired up" (surely you've read that many times in the 18 months you've been here). Nobody has your genes, and nobody has experienced the exact same stimuli as you.
  8. May 3, 2003 #7
    Well; everyone has a different mass of brain. But the composition of that brain is fundamentally singular, because our brains have the same cells and the same regions-of-cells, all doing a similar job via similar physical-processes. In effect, the differences in mass amongst our human-brains is no more significant to the quality of human-thought, than is having a factory - built upon twice the scale of another factory, to build a product that is twice as large. The quality of the product is not affected if both factories use the same materials. Only the volume of the product can be affected by a larger system which does the same job as an identical system. Only the volume of thoughts can be affected. But the quality of thoughts has no bearing on the mass, as such.
    Yes. I've had that assertion drummed into me on numerous occaisions. But not once has it ever been proved - by philosophy or science - that this is in fact the case.
    Am I correct in believing that 2 men - with identical DNA codes - would not have identical beliefs? If so, then DNA has got nothing to do with individual belief. Can you acknowledge that?
    And if the brain is looking at light which has produced an image which we shall acknowledge as 'the Moon', for example, then how can you say that I have received ~different~ stimulae to you?
    We have to acknowledge that our brains all have a similar idea of what they are looking at. Therefore, our brains have experienced a singular stimulae.
  9. May 3, 2003 #8
    Re: beautiful

    I saw some time ago a scientific documentary on how people judge people's faces, and what they call beautifull.
    It showed up that all faces that were judged "beautifull" follow certain patterns (relative position of nose, mouth, eyes and shape of the face). The simularity in judgements people have, even from diffferent cultures and ethnic backgrounds was striking.

    Something like "beauty" which seems to us at first instance something completely subjective, was shown in this case to follow some mathematical regularities that are too convincing to be just called coincidental. It seems the way we judge the beauty of a human face has been programmed in (genetically).
  10. May 3, 2003 #9
    I would say it's what we've been conditioned to believe that determines what we believe is beautiful, even if that means having conditioned ourselves to believe that it's so (as our tastes vary from time to time).
  11. May 3, 2003 #10
    Re: Re: beautiful

    Well, yeah. Bilateral symmetry and the fibinotche (sp?) series are commonly thought attractive in a person's features and are linked to healthy genes. Likewise, virtually all the greatest classical paintings and music investigated thus far are apparently based on fractal dragons. However, some people don't like classical art or music or whatever.
  12. May 3, 2003 #11
    Re: Re: beautiful

    If this is the case, then why is there such a vast difference between the races and the way everybody looks in general?
  13. May 3, 2003 #12
    Re: beautiful

    "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" -Keats

    if one agrees with our dear friend keats then there are 2 possibilities:

    1) if we define truth as being universal and objective then it follows that the concept of beauty, but also what is deemed beautiful will be universal and objective. i personally don't believe in any such universal Truth, this stems from my atheism partly but also the philosophies of many great intellectuals like Godel.

    2) Truth is subjective, therefore beauty must be also. Take the example of religious/spiritual truth, through one's personal belief system one can find truth, and this truth is beauty. But if what is true is beautiful then can what is beautiful always be true?
  14. May 3, 2003 #13
    Re: Re: Re: beautiful

    Yeah. Why isn't everyone beautifull then?

    Maybe because God didn't create us, so we are inperfect beings?

    But... there is hope! If in the long run beautifull people will have more descendants as the ugly people, the human race will in the long run become more beautifull.

    This is already showing off, because the primitive humans looked for sure less beautifull (in my mind, not in theirs, supposedly!) then the present day people.
    Last edited: May 3, 2003
  15. May 3, 2003 #14
    Re: Re: Re: Re: beautiful

    it is generally believed that god made man to be an image of himself, and images are imperfect as Plato theorised (i am atheist, this is just my opinion on the belief system of christianity)

    this is based on the assumption that beautiful people attract more sexual partners then ugly people, this has however been disproved, a recent study showed that people weren't more physically attracted to more beautiful people, but to people of their beauty 'level'. so ugly people will keep having babies with ugly people, beautiful people with other beautiful people and the inbetweens with other inbetweens.
  16. May 3, 2003 #15
    Re: beautiful

    Beauty is undefined. Everyone has a different impression of beauty, because there are so many different ways to look at something.
  17. May 3, 2003 #16
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: beautiful

    I didn't assume that was the case, I only stated what would happen if that was the case. Nevertheless, when considering the first Home Sapiens that arised, and the present day humans, don't you think on the (subjective) scale of beauty something progressed?
  18. May 3, 2003 #17
    Re: Re: beautiful

    A surprising result found in a research was that the way people judge the beauty of a face, can be described in objective terms!

    Maybe you just "think" that your concept of "beauty" is subjective, while it shows up in research that you nevertheless have objective criteria for your judgement.
  19. May 3, 2003 #18
    This would suggest that it's more a matter of conditioning then which, is pretty much what I believe. Or is it? ... I guess it's possible to believe someone else is beautiful but, if for some reason you don't match up to their criteria (all depends on how picky they are), then you will very likely have to settle for less.

    Of course I'm not sure what that really means, because it doesn't make them any better human beings, although they do tend to walk about with higher opinions of themselves of themselves -- reflected by "self esteem" if you will.
  20. May 3, 2003 #19
    Re: Re: Re: beautiful

    so then its relative, then?

    My criteria for beauty includes abstract qualities (hence, I like picasso), impressionistic qualities, and depth (in the sense that the artist depicted an obvious emotion in great detail).

    Most people don't share these creteria, so therefore beauty is subjective.
  21. May 3, 2003 #20
    And LG whips out the boxcutter...

    But the similarities only go so far. Neurologists have studied very much the differences brain composition correlates with differences in behavior. What you call minor differences make up the differences in human personalities. If you're looking for larger difference, you can look at those, too. The basic structure of a reptilian brain is much different from a human brain, and so are their thoughts. I don't know what you mean by "fundamentally singular".

    Despire my general disdain for analogies, I have one that I find apt. What you said is like saying that because all computers have basically the same kinds of parts and basic, overall, general structure that they have the same quality of computing.

    The false nature of this analogy is why I like to stay away from analogies. These are not analagous scenarios. A larger brain is not structurally identical to a smaller one. And no one said that thoughts and intelligence only depend on the size of the brain.
    And, the larger item in your factory would have qualitative differences (but qualiative is quantitative, but that's another issue) because the larger one would be weaker, given that it has the same proportions.
    And intelligence is a matter of quantity. You have different quantities of different quantities moving around.
  22. May 4, 2003 #21
    My point becomes clearer when comparing human bodies:- Each of us is a unique size. But open-up those bodies and they're all built upon a singular blueprint and work upon the same principles. So, other than the size of our bodies, there's nothing significantly-different between any healthy human of the same gender. Our bodies are fundamentally singular, both in their design, and how they work.
    And this is the point I was trying to get across about our brains.
    I think you're confusing quality of computing with quantity of computing. All computers are designed to do the same things. From my understanding of computers, making an upgrade only allows you to increase the capacity of your computer, and its speed.
    The road-network of the UK is different to the road-network of the USA. They are structurally different. But both networks are designed to do the same job: they take you from one region to the next, allowing different regions of the country to interact with one another.
    It's obvious that the atoms/molecules in each brain are not structurally identical. But the job they do, is. And how they do this job, is.
    What's that got to do with the idea of 'beauty'? Each individual has a different idea of what is 'beautiful'. Most would say that a statue has the same beauty, no matter what size it is. Others would prefer the 'delicateness' of the smaller statue. And some would be blown away by the magnitude of an extremely-large statue. But if we take 'volume' out of the equation, the product is basically the same.
    We aren't talking about 'intelligence'. Intelligence is a measure of what the mind knows, and of its capacity to know. Clearly, the size of the brain is important in such matters.
    But when it comes to deciding what is and what isn't 'beautiful', the size of the brain is irrelevant.
  23. May 4, 2003 #22


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    This is wrong. Each person has an unique genetic blueprint, created by random mixing on conception, as well as an unique mental blueprint, created on-the-fly from experiences and an environmental blueprint, shaped by the surroundings it grew in. The principles on the workings of our bodies can vary greatly, such as the changes in the mind of autistic people, antigen development in different blood groups and perception in colour-blind people. These are greatly significant differences - natural variation is a genetic principle. The size itself is not divisible as a significant change, as part of that too is contained as part of the "blueprint". There exists an average, but the existence of the concept of health is evidence of such great changes. Quantity is a quality, just another property of the body. The 1 extra proton between hydrogen a helium is tiny, but that has a significant effect on the function and properties of the atoms.

    Nope, you missed the point. Small changes in systems can have a significant impact on how they operate. Computers exist as multifunctional tools, like the brain, and display quality according to how you judge it. The quality of graphics on a Gforce 4 is better than an onboard chip. That's quality. Quality is subjective judgement, and irrelevant without a set of critera which you judge on. So size is a quality - if you find it a relavent factor. And software, which is analogous to the experiences stored in the brain, also has a wide difference.

    That is an incorrect analogy. What you are saying here is instead that the road network in the UK takes you to the same places as the road network in the USA. Which is blatantly false. While the neurones in the brain do the same function of creating pathways for electrical impulses, their layout is different, and so they lead to different places/actions.
    The job they do is different, because we each live in a different environment. The way they do the jobs are also different, because we are different.

    You are groping near the answer. Why does different people consider a statue of different sizes as of different quality? Because we each make different judgement calls. Impulses arrive from different parts of the brain along different roads, bringing different desires. Quantity is a factor in quality, that varies in influence. The qualitative difference that quantity makes is dependent on the observer. You can't justify ignoring volume, as you can't justify ignoring colour, texture, shape and all the other perceptual inputs we have.

    Says who? Approaching from another direction, you can see that the individual atoms do not just expand, but there are more atoms. Hence, the structure of the brain must neccessary be changed by increasing it's size. Is a single carbon atom the same as a diamond?
  24. May 4, 2003 #23
    But at the end of the day, we all have brains which have the same regions and manners-of-networks, which all 'work' upon the same principles.
    Having a different genetic-blueprint does not alter the above fact. Whatever our blueprint is, our brains can be mapped - exactly like a machine - to reveal a singular 'mechanism'.
    For example, no 2 cars of the same-make are exactly the same because all cars have parts that obviously have a different mass and arrangement of their atoms. But such cars produce similar yields. You don't find, for example, that one Fiat-Brava moves across tarmacked-road at velocities within a specific range, whilst another car of the same design doesn't traverse across roads, but does fly through the air.
    In reference to the concept of 'beauty', this is significant. I.e., all brains should cross roads, rather than fly. Or in other words, all people should attribute the concept (property) of 'beauty' to similar things.
  25. May 5, 2003 #24
    Re: Re: Re: Re: beautiful

    These differences are not linked up to differences in experience within the mind, but has to do with knowledge and life experience.
    The mind also has to learn how to judge art and find beauty in it.
  26. May 5, 2003 #25

    Tom Mattson

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    Dead wrong. Everyone's brain has a different architecture, and this is due to the differences in the stimuli we receive.

    You made up every word of that, and it is complete BS. Please refrain from posting your crackpot theories on how the brain works.

    Dead wrong. Plenty of scientific work has been done to show this. I personally have never taken a course in it, but I have seen a PBS documentary on it, and there is plenty of evidence that environmental factors influence brain development. DT Strain gave an excellent account of this subject in your thread The Origins of Reason in PF v2.0, which you evidently ignored.

    No, you are not correct in believing that. I just told you that we are a product of both our genes and environment.

    Of course not. I just told you that brain development is due to a conjunction of two things.

    This is so obvious that I can't believe you have to ask it. I can say that you have experienced different stimuli than I have because of, among other things, the difference in physical orientation of our sensory organs. Your sensory organs--and no one else's--follow the path in spacetime that they do. Thus, the inputs are different for everyone.

    Dead wrong, and this too is blatantly obvious. You did not grow up in my house. My parents did not touch and talk to you as an infant. You did not play with my toys, read my books, watch my TV shows, or listen to my records. You did not date my girlfriends, hang out with my buddies, or go to my schools.

    Therefore, you and I have not experienced the same stimuli at all.
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