Monday, 12 October 2015

Do we have a “God-given” sense of beauty?

The Aesthetic Argument argues how that we, and the world, are designed because of our sense of beauty. This means that we have a facility of appreciating beauty and this is present for all cultures. So wherever you live in the world we all look for beauty and enjoy it. It is not necessary for survival or development therefore it’s not needed for natural selection. Tennant was quoted saying ‘From an intelligibility point of view, beauty seems to be superfluous and to have little survival value’. Therefore meaning it isn’t important and needed. However it is in us to look for it throughout life.
People who believe in the Aesthetic Argument use the sense of beauty to attempt to refute evolution by saying  that there’s no survival advantage which would allow us to pass the trait down among our offspring. Our sense of beauty is not a result of evolution and natural selection; the only way we can have a sense of beauty is if God has given it to us.

However, materialists argue that  the sense of beauty could have been a product of evolution and natural selection. Not in the sense of hiding or hunting, but in the sense of mate selection. Materialists believe that the original reason for humans to create art or music is to attract the opposite gender. The sense of beauty could have  also been passed down due to the females sexually selecting artists/musicians, believing they’re smart and talented and that their children will be smart and talented. They also argue that during primitive times, primates/early forms of humans used colour and shapes to help them recognise and find food. This old trait could influence us in appreciating paintings and pictures.

Mill and Schopenhauer both argue that  the world isn’t really that beautiful anyway. Schopenhauer says “Console yourself by remembering that the world doesn’t deserve your affection”, saying how the world isn’t beautiful at all, rendering the aesthetic argument redundant. Mill however goes more detail about how the world isn’t beautiful and even questions the Deity’s morals/powers. Mill states that, because the world is filled with so much suffering, the world isn’t beautiful and argues against traditional Christianity by saying God is either not good or how God is limited in some way.

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