What is Aesthetics?
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy that deals with study of beauty as a whole and how people perceive things or objects. It is also involved in critiquing design and art.
The word “aesthetics” is derived from “aisthanomai” or “aisthetikos”, a Greek word which means “perception by the senses”. When used in today’s modern English, aesthetics may have different meanings as it is based on people’s perceptions. If something appeals to the senses of one person, it may not be so for the others. Generally though, aesthetics refers to people’s evaluation or critique of an object by the use of their senses.
The study of aesthetics can be traced back from the time of great philosophers such as Plato. During his time, Plato’s idea of aesthetics referred to beauty that is near perfect. If something is “near perfect”, it was said to be “aesthetically” pleasing. Another philosopher, Immanuel Kant, believed that beauty does not reside in an object itself, but rather in the way people define or perceive it. Various other philosophers also tried to define what really is beautiful. For them, beauty has to have design, magnitude, uniformity, variety, simplicity, and intricacy.
In today’s modern society, aesthetics is used in the design of houses, buildings, and even entire cities. In business, aesthetics provides maximum benefit to companies through advertising and marketing successes. Campaigns that are perceived beautiful were a hit to the people. Products endorsed by beautiful celebrities become successful. But many still do not consider some of today’s artistic expressions as “aesthetic”. Art forms that contain sexual content are said to be immoral and does not conform to the traditional basis of aesthetics.
But all throughout the years, aesthetics is viewed as based on people’s perceptions. Objects do not have innate beauty in themselves, but rather they become beautiful if people find them as such.