As others have noted, the question you are asking is most famously addressed in philosophy by Kant's Critique of Judgment. Unfortunately, Kant's system is somewhat idiolectic and not amenable to brief, clear summaries. Phillip Klocking's answer, while accurate, has not only indicated as much, but--if I may be excused for saying so--demonstrated it as well.
Aesthetics refers in the Greek to sensation and feeling, and was often contrasted unfavorably with "reasoning" or logic. Its status shifted when the British Empiricists argued that all true knowledge was derived from the senses and only manipulated by logic, as if by a calculator. This left the validity of reasoned judgments and moral judgments open to skepticism. Weren't they just based in the senses, and thus purely contingent?
Kant was especially concerned about the "relativity" of morals. He attempts to show that our "judgments" are not randomly based in passing sensations. Our sensations and experiences are only comprehensible because they already have a rational structure a priori. This structure is not arbitrary, because it is necessary for all "rational beings" and "rational judgments." This inner structure of concepts organizes all of our sensations and judgments in an essentially "universal" way...at least as far as human beings go.
As you can guess, this places "aesthetics" in a different light. Prior to Kant, artistic judgments were considered a matter of "taste" and possibly "breeding." It was no more important to philosophy or reason than which food one prefers. No one would logically argue about which food is "better" or "truer." It's just a contingent matter of taste based on passing sensations and personal experience.
But Kant noted that we do indeed tend to argue that a painting, novel, or symphony is "superior" to pulp. That a beautiful old forest is "better" than a functional parking lot. (Kant was, in fact, more concerned with beauty in nature than art, and it is easier to see his arguments in this way. Not unlike E. O. Wilson's "biophilia.") When we make such aesthetic judgments, we do expect others to agree, as if to an argument. They seem deeper and closer to our innate "reasoning" than simple matters of taste.
Kant developed the idea of aesthetic judgment as a sort of pure "conceptualizing," in the loose sense, without content, a feeling of "purposefulness" minus any specified "purpose." It was not simply the casual impact of the senses determining a subjective judgment. It was an act of "inner causation," the pure exercise of our very powers of judgment.
Needless to say, all the gory Kantian details are missing in my crude synopsis. But I hope this gives you some direction. Kant was the first to reintroduce aesthetics into modern philosophy, and his Critique of Judgment is where your answer begins. In more recent philosophy, "linguistic structure" or "sociobiology" or "cognitive sciences" may pursue something similar, if less coherent, in their attempts to relate sensations to universal attributes of "mind," or rational judgment.