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On the importance of beauty and taste

Paris, Panos ORCID: 2022. On the importance of beauty and taste. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements 92 , pp. 229-252. 10.1017/S1358246122000285

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We’ve all heard people say ‘Beauty is only skin-deep’, or ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’: our culture promulgates a conception of beauty as subjective, superficial, and independent of other values like moral goodness or knowledge and understanding. Yet our taste in beauty affects many aspects of our lives, sometimes playing a decisive––and often detrimental––role in areas as wide-ranging as our identity and self-esteem, our morally salient decisions, and our relationship to the environment. This presents us with a choice: we can either ignore the facts––leaving our conception of beauty unchanged and allowing our taste to influence much in our lives while either not acknowledging such influence, or perhaps seeking to reprimand it; or we can take the power of beauty seriously and seek to harmonise our taste with our values. I argue for the latter option, and propose a way of bringing beauty and taste in line with what matters to us using the notion of functional beauty. Adopting this strategy, I suggest, can have a powerful––and positive––impact on our self-esteem and wellbeing, our relationship to others, as well as our attitudes towards the environment.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 1358-2461
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 July 2022
Date of Acceptance: 27 June 2022
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2023 16:20

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