What role do you think mathematics plays in beauty and aesthetics?

In summary, the conversation discusses the subjectivity of beauty and aesthetics, and the influence of mathematics on our perception of them. While some argue that the golden ratio and symmetry play a role in attractiveness, others believe that beauty is more closely related to health and self-consistency. There have been attempts to define beauty in mathematical terms, but it remains a complex and subjective concept. It is suggested that our brains are built on pattern-recognition, which may explain the connection between mathematics and aesthetics.
  • #1
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Do you think that beauty and aesthetics are subjective or objective things?

I read an article about the Golden Ratio and how it influences beauty and aesthetics. Certain people have better looks because of the mathematical proportions within their face that makes it easier for our minds to process.

But there's also a cultural side to it. Certain physical features are considered more beautiful in different parts of the world. Beauty/aesthetics are often subjective.

So what do you think? To what extent does mathematics influence our perception of beauty?

I'm writing a paper on this for school and have a good idea of what I'm going to write. I just want to get some input on what people think because it's really interesting =)
 
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  • #2
The golden ratio is overhyped, and most of the of the information you've probably read about relationships between it and the proportions of the body are basically urban legends (passed around the internet with no reputable source). Second; unless you're arguing that something can be beautiful without anyone around to find it beautiful, beauty is not objective (objective means "mind independent").

The golden ratio/attractiveness thing is not evidence for objective beauty, it's just evidence for a trait selected for by evolution.
 
  • #3
Yeah, if you think about it, men always found women beautiful, hence they mated with them. Even when they looked like Neanderthals and Australopithecus, and apes. You can't find a golden ratio in all those different faces, it's just number mysticism.

Usually beauty is quite closely related to health, or sexual health. Outside of the opposite sex it seems to be related to self consistency and purity, but I couldn't add any more than that.
 
  • #4
i find things with symmetry beautiful, and there is some experimental evidence to suppose people with more symmetrical features are regarded as better looking. symmetry doesn't necessarily mean uniformity, as anyone who's ever seen a piece of quartz can tell you.

certainly the properties of auditory harmony and dissonance have a mathematical basis, frequencies that are in simple small integer ratios to each other sound more pleasing than frquencies that have no such simple ratio, and vibration sources with such ratios as more prominent harmonics, tend to be regarded as more pleasing (often, aging of a musical instrument dampens the higher harmonics, "mellowing" the sound, by emphasizing the lower frequency harmonics, with smaller ratios to the fundamental tone).

there have been attempts to describe beauty in mathematical terms, such as the formula: beauty = order/complexity. these haven't been entirely successful, as there appear to be aesthetic qualities that defy easy objectification.

i think our brains are built on pattern-recognition, and that some of the same mental processes occur when we do mathematics, and respond aesthetically. it's not so much that mathematics is a big factor of art, so much as we organize both through similar filters: compare/contrast, hypothetical extension, reduction and canonical forms.
 
  • #5


I believe that mathematics plays a significant role in beauty and aesthetics. The Golden Ratio is a mathematical concept that has been linked to beauty and aesthetics for centuries. It is believed that objects or faces that adhere to the Golden Ratio are more pleasing and attractive to the human eye. This mathematical principle is also seen in nature, such as the spiral patterns in seashells and the arrangement of petals in flowers, which are often considered beautiful.

However, it is important to note that while mathematics may contribute to our perception of beauty, it is not the sole determining factor. As mentioned, cultural norms and personal preferences also play a role in what we consider beautiful. For instance, in some cultures, fuller figures are seen as attractive, while in others, a slim figure is preferred.

In terms of whether beauty and aesthetics are subjective or objective, I believe it is a combination of both. There are certain universal aspects of beauty that can be attributed to mathematical principles, but personal experiences and cultural influences also shape our perception of beauty. Therefore, it can be said that beauty and aesthetics are both subjective and objective in nature.

In your paper, I suggest exploring the idea of how mathematics can be used to enhance or manipulate beauty, such as in cosmetic procedures or in art and design. This can further demonstrate the influence of mathematics in our perception of beauty and aesthetics.

Overall, the relationship between mathematics and beauty/aesthetics is a fascinating and complex topic that warrants further exploration and discussion. I look forward to reading your paper and hearing your insights on this subject.
 

1. What is the relationship between mathematics and beauty?

Mathematics and beauty have a strong connection, as mathematics can help us understand and quantify the patterns, symmetry, and proportions that are often associated with beauty. In fact, many artists and designers use mathematical concepts, such as the golden ratio, to create aesthetically pleasing compositions.

2. How does mathematics contribute to aesthetics?

Mathematics plays a crucial role in aesthetics by providing a framework for understanding and analyzing beauty. By applying mathematical principles, we can break down complex designs and patterns into smaller, more manageable components, and better appreciate their underlying beauty.

3. Can mathematics explain all aspects of beauty and aesthetics?

No, while mathematics can help us understand and appreciate certain aspects of beauty, it cannot fully explain or define beauty. Beauty is a subjective concept, and not all aspects of it can be quantified or analyzed using mathematical principles.

4. Are there any examples of how mathematics has influenced aesthetics in art or design?

Yes, there are many examples of how mathematics has influenced aesthetics in art and design. For instance, the use of geometric shapes and patterns in Islamic art, or the application of the golden ratio in Renaissance paintings, are both influenced by mathematical concepts.

5. How has technology and advancements in mathematics impacted the field of aesthetics?

Technology and advancements in mathematics have greatly impacted the field of aesthetics by allowing for more precise and complex designs to be created. For example, computer-aided design (CAD) software uses mathematical algorithms to generate intricate designs, and fractal geometry has been used to create stunning digital art.

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