Ideality of beauty


  • Simona Chiodo



The cornerstones of the Western notion of beauty, from ancient philosophy to the aesthetics of the last three decades, seem to say that it has quite a stable core. The article argues that this core consists in the most surprising power which beauty appears to have: the power of fulfilling even our imagination, that is, the power of making us undergo the aesthetic experience of a satisfactory relationship between the reality we observe and the ideality we imagine, and, through its example, the power of making us work on the development of our reality. If this is true, then the reason why beauty has been, is, and will possibly be exceedingly important is that, by making us undergo the aesthetic experience of recognizing something ideal into something real, it can be the clearest symbol of our possibility, and even hope, of working on an ideal human measure of both our identity and our relationship with nature and the realm of artifacts.

Riferimenti bibliografici

ARMSTRONG, John, The secret power of beauty, Allen Lane, London 2004.

BEECH, Dave (ed. by), Beauty, MIT Press, London-Whitechapel-Cambridge 2009.

BODEI, Remo, Le forme del bello, Il Mulino, Bologna 1995.

BURKE, Edmund, A philosophical inquiry into the origin of our ideas of the sublime and beautiful, Harper & Brothers, New York 1856.

CARLSON, Allen, PARSONS, Glenn., Functional beauty, Oxford University Press, Oxford-New York 2008.

CHANGEUX, Jean-Pierre, Du vrai, du beau, du bien, Odile Jacob, Paris 2008.

CHENG, François, Cinq méditations sur la beauté, Albin Michel, Paris 2006.

DANTO, Arthur, The abuse of beauty: aesthetics and the concept of art, Open Court, Chicago 2003.

ECO, Umberto (ed. by), Storia della bellezza, Bompiani, Milano 2004.

GARDNER, Howard, Truth, beauty, and goodness reframed, Baror, Armonk 2011.

GRIFFIN, John, On the origin of beauty: ecophilosophy in the light of traditional wisdom, World Wisom, Bloomington 2011.

GUYER, Paul, Values of beauty: historical essays in aesthetics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge-New York 2005.

HELLER, Agnes, The concept of the beautiful, Lexington Books, Lanham 2012.

HICKEY, Dave, The invisible dragon: four essays on beauty, Art Issues Press, Los Angeles 1993.

JULLIEN, François, Cette étrange idée du beau, Grasset, Paris 2010.

KANT, Immanuel, Critique of the power of judgment, tr. by P. Guyer, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2000.

KIRWAN, James, Real beauty, Manchester University Press, Manchester 1999.

LANE, John, Timeless beauty: in the arts and every­day life, Green, Totnes 2003.

MCMAHON, Jennifer A., Aesthetics and material beauty: aesthetics naturalized, Routledge, London-New York 2007.

MÉDAM, Alain, Un désir de beauté, Liber, Montréal 2012.

MENNINGHAUS, Winfried, Das Versprechen der Schonheit, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Mein 2003.

MOTHERSILL, Mary, Beauty restored, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1984, Adams-Bannister-Cox, New York 1991.

NEHAMAS, Alexander, Only a promise of happiness: the place of beauty in a world of art, Princeton University Press, Princeton 2007.

PLATO, Phaedrus, ed. by H. Yunis, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge-New York 2011.

PRETTEJOHN, Elizabeth, Beauty and art 1750-2000, Oxford University Press, Oxford-New York 2005.

REISNER, Yael, Architecture and beauty: conversations with architects about a troubled relationship, Wiley, Chichester 2010.

ROTHENBERG, David, Survival of the beautiful: art, science, and evoluti­on, Bloomsbury Press, New York 2011.

SARTWELL, Crispin, Six names of beauty, Routledge, New York 2004.

SCARRY, Elaine, On beauty and being just, Princeton University Press, Princeton 1999.

SCRUTON, Roger, Beauty, Oxford University Press, Oxford-New York 2009, Beauty: a very short introduction, Oxford University Press, Oxford-New York 2011.

STEINER, Wendy, Venus in exile: the rejection of beauty in twentieth-century art, Free Press, New York 2001.

VERCELLONE, Federico, Oltre la bellezza, Il Mulino, Bologna 2008.

WILLIAMS, Terry Tempest, Finding bea­uty in a broken world, Pantheon Books, New York 2008.

ZANGWILL, Nick, The metaphysics of beauty, Cornell University Press, Ithaca 2001.

ZEMACH, Eddy, Real beauty, Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park 1997.