Beauty is in the eye of the evolved being. No need for any transcendental origins or explanations. This approach also accounts for why different animals find different things beautiful. To flies and dung beetles, dung is likely beautiful. To bees and other pollinating insects, flowers are no doubt beautiful. . . . The theory can also account for both universal and parochial standards of beauty. Some aspects of beauty are subject to some degree of cultural modification; others less so. The whole thing is just wonderfully parsimonious, even beautifully so!
[Two examples of questions that are self-contradictory, or apparently self-contradictory, are the questions, ‘Is the thought that no thoughts are true, itself true?’ and ‘Is the proof that all proofs are irrational, itself a proof?’ Whether the following question is of a similar type is not easy to say: ‘Is the theory that all manifestations of beauty can be explained in terms of Darwinian evolution completely explicable itself in terms of Darwinian evolution?’ We might begin by asking whether the person who says that the evolutionary explanation of beauty is elegantly simple (or beautifully parsimonious) has momentarily stepped outside the belief (if only unconsciously) that his aesthetic appreciation of the evolutionary theory of beauty is itself an example of beauty being in the eye of the beholder. In other words, has he momentarily lost sight of the . . . implication? . . . that the beauty of the evolutionary theory of beauty is subjective and, indeed, arbitrary, since evolution presumably could have unfolded differently and produced some other theory of beauty? Perhaps this question, when generalized, leads back to discussions about how intangible things, such as theories, exist in the sort of world where matter/energy is the bedrock of reality.]
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