The Instigator
Boa
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
Cogito-ergo-sum
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Is beauty objective?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/22/2010 Category: Arts
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,036 times Debate No: 14112
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

Boa

Pro

Hi, my opponent!
I hope you'll accept my challenge:D

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Topic : Is beauty objective?
Definition :
1. Beauty : a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure (Wikipedia)
2. objective : fact, truth
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Many people would say that beauty is in the eye of beholders.
However I do not agree with them.
Beauty, for sure, is objective.
Beauty, regardless of the beholder or the location of it, is beautiful itself.

Before begin, I would like to introduce an idea of Plato, a renowned Greek philospher, which was called 'theory of Forms'.
He argued that there are two different worlds; apparent one and unseen one.
The former has been constantly changed while the latter has never changed.
He claimed that the unchanging world is called 'truth'.

Everything in our world has its own truth.
And 'beauty' is not an exception.
In other words, beauty is innate, and absolute, so objective.

Now you would ask, why do people have different feelings about an object's beauty?
Well, if so, then one would have failed to see the absolute beauty.
Beauty is obejctive, but perception of it is subjective.
For example, if A and B see a same thing and while A says " it's beautiful" B says "it's not beautiful", then one person has failed to see the beauty.

Kandinsky has once said;
Every art work is a son of the period, but also a mother of our feelings.

What does this quote mean?
'son of the period' indicates 'subjectiveness of perception of an art work',
and 'mother of our feelings' means 'objectiveness of beauty'.
Cogito-ergo-sum

Con

Thanks to my opponent for this debate.

Definitions:
I agree with my opponents definition of beauty, however, I would add that the word 'unchallengeable' be added to 'objective'. I can't see my opponent disagreeing with this point as he is arguing for an unchangeable standard set outside of our 'material world' which as he states later on, some people can see, some people can't.

I shall begin by asking Quo Warranto?

This leads me onto a point made by Aristotle [1] in which we can see in his Posterior Analytics [2] a series of questions utilised to prove a proof of something.

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All demonstration must be founded on principles already known. The principles on which it is founded must either themselves be demonstrable, or be so-called first principles, which cannot be demonstrated, nor need to be, being evident in themselves (or "nota per se" in scholastic jargon).
We cannot demonstrate things in a circular way, supporting the conclusion by the premises, and the premises by the conclusion. Nor can there be an infinite number of middle terms between the first principle and the conclusion.
In all demonstration, the first principles, the conclusion, and all the intermediate propositions, must be necessary, general and eternal truths. Of things that happen by chance, or contingently, or which can change, or of individual things, there is no demonstration.
Some demonstrations prove only that the things are a certain way, rather than why they are so. The latter are the most perfect.
The first figure of the syllogistic is best adapted to demonstration, because it affords conclusions universally affirmative. This figure is commonly used by mathematicians.
The demonstration of an affirmative proposition is preferable to that of a negative; the demonstration of a universal to that of a particular; and direct demonstration to a reductio ad absurdum.
The principles are more certain than the conclusion.
There cannot be both opinion and knowledge of the same thing at the same time.

The second book Aristotle starts with a remarkable statement, the kinds of things determine the kinds of questions, which are four:
1 Whether the relation of a property (attribute) with a thing is a true fact.
2 What is the reason of this connection.
3 Whether a thing exists.
4 What is the nature and meaning of the thing.
--------[2]

In the above we can see how Aristotle points to Quiddity in order to get to the truth of something. Now we continually see Aristotle and Plato clash over philosophical issues of noesis where we see Aristotle have conflicting views over this duopolistic view Plato held over the material world and the world of objective truths.

What is missing from Pros initial argument is his stance of who is the regulator, arbitrator, evaluator of initially what beauty is as a definable and quantifiable position and, if there is no person in this position then Pros point of saying -
'Well, if so, then one would have failed to see the absolute beauty.'
Gives rise to a direct contradiction to the below statement by Aristotle -
'Some demonstrations prove only that the things are a certain way, rather than why they are so. The latter are the most perfect.'
Pro offers no plan-B, just simply that if you can't see the world of objectives and its majesty then you have failed, not that the person who says 'it's beautiful' it as Aristotle states committing some self-fulfilling stance of achievement.
There is a contradiction made by Pro - Pro proffers that 'Beauty if objective, but perception of it is subjective', leads to the notion that if you see something 'beautiful' and think it is 'beautiful' then you are not viewing it subjectively, you are achieving an objective stance and are therefore unchallengeable, as mentioned before - who is the regulator?

I will wrap up and make an anticipation of a point that my opponent will raise by quoting from Keats 'Ode to a Grecian Urn' [3] in the hope to prove Beauty as being synonymous with truth, again, I ask, who is the invigilator of this distinction, is it sublime? Otherworldly?

[1] - http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] - http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] - http://englishhistory.net...
Debate Round No. 1
Boa

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate!
Nevertheless he was misunderstanding some of my words and I would like to correct them.
So, I will first clarify his misunderstandings and then state my another claims.

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1. definition of 'objective'
At first round, I defined 'objective' as 'truth' and 'fact'. Then he said he would add the meaning of 'unchallengeable'. While reading, I wondered 'why is my opponent adding the meaning that I have just taken for granted and saying that he cannot understand me?' 'Objective' is 'truth' which is a 'unchallengeable fact'. If something is 'objective', it means that the thing is only based on facts, not influenced by an individual's mind. Yes. Beauty, as a fact, is unchallengeable. But some people can fail in seeing the beauty because it is abstract. And the facts can be abstract as well as material. For instance, is murder a right thing to do? No. The sentence 'murder is bad' is a fact. Then, can we see this fact with our own eyes just like tables or pencils? No. Moral facts are abstract but objective. So is beauty.
(Moral facts are same as moral principles that have been mentioned in Aristotle's syllogism of ethics [1]
Aristotle made moral judgement on the basis of moral principles and fact judgements which were considered as precise facts)

2. There is a contradiction made by Pro - Pro proffers that 'Beauty if objective, but perception of it is subjective', leads to the notion that if you see something 'beautiful' and think it is 'beautiful' then you are not viewing it subjectively.
In this statement, I used the word 'subjective' as the meaning of constantly changing by diffent people's different minds. To borrow Plato's words, 'objective' is the unseen, and never-changing world;the absolute beauty, and 'subjective' is the apparent, and changing world;various perceptions of beauty. I meant that the perception of beauty can vary by using the word 'subjective', and my opponent has misunderstood this real intend.

---------------------

Now, in order to abide by Aristotle's Posterior Analytics, I will prove my claim by stating the reason of why it is so, rather than proving only that the things are a certain way.



My opponent said I don't have plan B, and kept asking; then how can we know what is the absolute beauty? who is the regulator? Again, because beauty is abstract just like moral facts, we cannot see it directly. Instead, there is a critical indicator of the absolute beauty; 'universality'.

Every time my father says that my brother is the most handsome boy in the world, my mother and I ask him did he consider the objective criteria. Because we know Brad Pitt and Won-bin(Korean actor) are far more handsome. If I ask billions of people of who is more handsome, Brad Pitt or my brother(sorry, bro), way much people would vote for Brad Pitt. For another example, most people will vote for professional landscape paintings over my poor doodles. This is superioirty of beauty. This is the universality of beauty. If beauty is subjective, there must not be superiority nor inferiority of anything related with beauty existing. Also, if beauty is subjective, it would be unable to explain the reason why many art works which have been considered as a heritage of mankind such as Mona Lisa and the Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci were able to receive a lot of love and attention from many people transcending era and location since medieval time. This proves that beauty is permanent and universal, so absolute and objective.

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[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
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I did my best and now I am looking forward to reading my opponent's explanation of the universality of beauty.
Merry Christmas!
Cogito-ergo-sum

Con

Cogito-ergo-sum forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Boa

Pro

As this is the last round, I am going to wrap up the whole thing me and my opponent have argued about the topic.

On the first round, I explained why beauty is objective on the basis of Plato's 'Theory of Forms'. Then my opponent tried to rebut my points by stating that I had broken the rules of Aristotle's Posterior Analytics. However, I want to ask him back; did you abide by the rules? I couldn't find any of his explanation of why beauty is subjective. He just pointed out my problems, or so-called problems, never giving his own points. He merely shifted the burden of proof to my side. So, why is beauty subjective?

On the second round, I gave a further explanation of my claim. And I asked my opponent of how he can explain the 'universality of beauty'. Unfortunately as he was not able to post on the previous round, I am looking forward to seeing his respond in this round.

Once again, I hope my opponent will give his own thoughts and explanations of why beauty is subjective, and that about universality of beauty.

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Sice this was my first debate, my claims would have been bit awkward.
But it was truly an interesting debate for me.
Thank you so much, my opponent, and Happy new year :p
Cogito-ergo-sum

Con

Apologies for my absence during this debate, Christmas busyness and such.

Rebuttals.

Round 2.
1 - Pro is making contradictions once more. If something is beautiful then ipso facto everyone looking at it should concede that it is beautiful - 'But some people can fail in seeing the beauty because it is abstract.' doesn't run in accordance with 'For instance, is murder a right thing to do? No. The sentence 'murder is bad' is a fact.' - what about the murderer who takes pride in the murders they have committed? The murderer or people investigating the murder can see via the modus operandi a level of attained beauty via their actions. Murder is an abstract concept many of us can not consider or ruminate.

2 - Pro is moving the goal posts on this quite a bit and we may both be guilty of misconstruing the others point. If I have misunderstood, then I apologise but, what I was saying was that if - Objective beauty exists in the unseen, and based off you saying - 'For example, if A and B see a same thing and while A says " it's beautiful" B says "it's not beautiful", then one person has failed to see the beauty.' - here you are saying one person has outright failed to see beauty. Not that each person has a level of subjectivity in their preferences, but that one person has failed to capitalise on seeing beauty for what it is. By this point I meant to infer that if you see beauty subjectively and it is about seeing it or not seeing it, then if you do see it you are running parallel to objective beauty because as you say, only one person is right and the other person is wrong.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Aristotle's Posterior Analytics
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You quote the question 'Who is the regulator?' - well? Still waiting on an answer to this. Why should I believe Plato's idea of a dual world?
I asked it in round one to no avail, I will mention it once more - Quo warranto?

Using a personal anecdote to prove a point does not make that point valid and in terms of arguing over objective things, making this into a reductio ad absurdum. Why have you ruled out the possibility that a collective subjective can occur? Because a lot of people have found the Mona Lisa to be beautiful doesn't mean that everyone does, and you are arguing that because a majority of people have, this proves something. It proves nothing as no world poll of 'Do you find this painting beautiful?' has never occurred and will never occur, nor would it yield the result 'Yes' thusly proving this article is objectively beautiful.

I don't have to explain the universality of beauty since that is not what I am arguing for. I am arguing that beauty is purely subjective in riposte to your points of it being so.

Round 3.

'On the first round, I explained why beauty is objective on the basis of Plato's 'Theory of Forms'.' - that would have been true if it was your first point, except it wasn't -
'Many people would say that beauty is in the eye of beholders.
However I do not agree with them.
Beauty, for sure, is objective.
Beauty, regardless of the beholder or the location of it, is beautiful itself.

Before begin, I would like to introduce an idea of Plato, a renowned Greek philosopher, which was called 'theory of Forms'.' - Before you began you had already begun. You're not arguing using Plato as a starting point (as mentioned, why trust Plato in the matter? As he is not an objective regulator, just a self proclaimed one) you're giving us your subjective preference on the truth of others claims as they appear to you.

I do believe I stuck to APA. I am saying I believe everything to be a matter of personal taste and opinion. Your anecdote indicated this by affirming your father thinks his son is more handsome than Brad Pitt. Who cares if he is or isn't? It's a point about paternal bias in terms of measuring one things physical appearance against another things visage - it's a non sequitur.

I don' think there is anything else to say except to concur with my opponent, an interesting debate. Happy New Year.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Boa 5 years ago
Boa
Welcome back!
Posted by Cogito-ergo-sum 5 years ago
Cogito-ergo-sum
Apologies, Christmas busyness and such. Continue with your posts as planned and I will get my round 3 post as soon as possible.
Posted by Boa 5 years ago
Boa
Only 6 hours left!
I hope you'll post your argument in time..
Posted by Cogito-ergo-sum 5 years ago
Cogito-ergo-sum
I'll have my post for you asap.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Cobo 5 years ago
Cobo
BoaCogito-ergo-sumTied
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Total points awarded:30