Do examples of objective beauty exist? Or is all beauty subjective? My personal belief is that beauty is a subjective concept. Even if most (or even all) people agree that some particular thing X is beautiful, it does not make X objectively beautiful. But I am very interested in what philosophers have said about this.

  • +1 for sure if this isn't a duplicate
    – andrós
    Commented Jun 12 at 2:21
  • An earlier answer on objective art — actually 2 answers
    – Rushi
    Commented Jun 12 at 4:05

1 Answer 1


Beauty (sensu amplissimo) is, from a biological standpoint, that which gets selected. A looking glass reveals to us what has been chosen, which is reflection symmetry/bilateral symmetry. Scientific studies have found a correlation between symmetry and perception of beauty. So mathematical symmetry (specifically reflection symmetry) may be the objectivity in the subjectivity of pulchrum (beauty).

Symmetry vs. Asymmetry

However ... symmetry may only be necessary, but not sufficient i.e. there's more to nfr (beauty) than just symmetry.


Some members disagree with my take on beauty and this I suppose is the heart of the matter in re sundaram, which is the subjectivity surrounding the issue. For the record, subjectivity isn't inferior to objectivity, although it does lead to (nonterminating) controversy.

It's also possible that those who believe symmetry is a feature of beauty have completely missed the point. To that I say perhaps this - symmetry - is simply a loose correlation.

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    I think there is quite a bit more, as you say. This review paper, for instance, suggests that symmetry isn't as important as we thought and suggests that "[we] have traditionally attempted to appreciate [...] beauty in terms of symmetry, [...] it may be that symmetry is not as important as previously thought, and perhaps beauty is related to proportions or ratios of the facial aesthetic units rather than to symmetry"
    – terdon
    Commented Jun 12 at 11:12
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    If I look at a beautiful person from the side, there's no symmetry, yet they're still beautiful. Commented Jun 12 at 11:59
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    @Terdon, I too came across a similar scientific article. It would be interesting to see what kinda ratios have the mark of beauty.
    – Hudjefa
    Commented Jun 12 at 23:43
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    There are non-symmetric beautiful people - symmetry isn't necessary. Symmetry often leads to blandness. Beautiful trees are rarely symmetric, for example, most people seem to prefer trees with a bit of "character". Commented Jun 20 at 12:07
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    "Beauty is, from a biological standpoint, that which gets selected". Cheap cucumbers are not beautiful, and if so, objective beauty would be obvious and trivial (e.g. the list of top-selling vegetables). Beauty is what produces emotional attraction. Emotions cannot be scientifically measured, ergo, beauty cannot be objective. Measuring how many people applaud in the Miss World contest is not a scientific measure of emotional attraction (e.g. Eurovision winners are selected following a political agenda rather than musical beauty).
    – RodolfoAP
    Commented Jun 21 at 6:16

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