Talk:Aesthetic relativism

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Merge proposal[edit]

The two approaches are conceptually different and, although there is some overlap in terms of the initial discussion, this would not be an easy merge to achieve. Simply putting the two on the same page would be intellectually inappropriate. It would actually require a complete rewriting of both elements for the two to blend together effectively. I was always slightly unhappy about the semiotics/aesthetics page. It was one of my earliest efforts here and it could be significantly improved. As it stands, aesthetic relativism is superficial and editorialises. So, whatever happens, both should be revised. For my part, I am not prepared to put in the work to rewrite both into one. I oppose and will resist simply cutting and pasting both on to the same page. Thus, I will wait and see. If the mood is against merger (which is my view), I will revise the semiotics page. I owe it to the Wiki to improve it. David91 12:26, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Understood, and will follow your lead. I hope that we will move towards genuine synthesis sooner rather than later given that aesthetic relativism presents as the broader, encompassing concept, and conceptual differences are not readily apparent. It would useful to know more about this. Declare 06:51, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, we can agree to disagree on whether the two articles are capable of being synthesised. Unless anyone else pitches in within the next few days, I will rewrite the Semiotics article which always was problematical given that the original was simply a paraphrase of the book rather than a stand-alone piece and, then being inexperienced in the Wiki ways, I failed to completely rewrite it. David91 08:27, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Hi! I wrote most of the Aesthetic Relativism section. I agree it's superficial--it was just an initial stab at the issue. I concede there's probably a bit of editorialising there as well. David, I agree that the two articles should not be merged but if you want to have a go at deepening the Aesthetic Relativism article and making it more objective, go ahead. Among other lacunae, it needs filling in on the psychological side re the research on facial attractiveness (it's either based in Stirling University or St. Andrews in Scotland--I need to do a Google on this--and there's more going on in the US). Also, I'm pretty sure that the reference to Kant needs clarification. My (superficial) interpretation is that Kant said that there's no recipe for beauty, but we know it when we see it and it's something we all should agree on, even if we don't. If that's a correct interpretation, then the facial attractiveness research suggests that Kant was right on universality at least. Thanks! Paul, 19 March 2006

Sorry, Paul, I did not mean to be overly critical of your work. As to the Semiotics piece, I will build time into my schedule to rewrite it next week. I wil now assume that the merge proposal is withdrawn? David91 11:42, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

The merge proposal is... aesthetically relativist[edit]

Silly idea, to merge into Aesthetic relativism an article outlining an idea that, in critical minds, ought to support aesthetic fundamentalism. If beauty carries some meaning or reflects some values, then some beauty ideals can be judged as ill, inferior, authoritatively not beautiful, just like their meaning or value combination can be deemed incongruous or wrong structured—authoritatively so, not relatively. Whereas, if I anticipate it well what an idea under such a name as aesthetic relativism might be about, no beauty ideal can be deemed ill under that idea. The two too often will lead to contradictory conclusions and diagnoses, so only an aesthetically relativist mind could arrive at such an ugly idea. Against.
6birc, 18:25, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

  • Ok....Can we please now have a fraction of the effort put into decrying how very silly the merge proposal is (this was helpful, thanks) put into explaining and differentiating these two apparently utterly distinct concepts. Only when there's time to enlighten us simple, dumbass, uncritical laypeople, of course. Declare 08:47, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Renewing the call to distinguish the two articles as a complete response to the merge proposal. The lead of both read the same. No haughty or snide ad hominems pls. Declare 08:36, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
Aesthetic relativism separate topic from Semiotics of Ideal Beauty, which appears specific to Kim Hall's book. Therefore, I removed the merge tag.


This article reads mostly like an attack on relativism. A complete rewrite is probably in order. But if I get a chance I'll try to make it a bit more balanced. (I'm not a partisan of either camp on the issue, BTW; the extreme relativist and absolutist positions are IMNSHO equally ridiculous.) Tkinias 10:45, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

good mainstream-media source on changing beauty ideals [1] (BBC). Tkinias 10:50, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

---The first sentence of the very last paragraph is the worst 'offender', IMO. Second sentence could use tweaking too - and, ironically, the very suggestion that it's only the "educated" and "informed" people who have consensus directly implies that the "uneducated" and "uninformed" do not agree with them, which would mean two (at least) standards of beauty and thus a case of aesthetic relativism, hehe. The article could use a general clean-up too. If I might make a suggestion, might be nice to try to divy up the various pro and con points into two neat 'arguments for' and 'arguments against' sections as has been done for lots of other articles. Doctor Atomic 03:58, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

What does Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions have to do with Aesthetic relativism? If we reduce these topics to various sub-categories of Relativism, what we are eventually looking at is "Subjectivity." This topic could be a stand-alone article without all of the referencing of other types of relativism. AuthorizeditorA 20:39, 2 March 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by AuthorizeditorA (talkcontribs)

Original Research[edit]

Have deleted the following:

Recent experiments in psychology seem to contradict aesthetic relativism. In studies of facial attractiveness there seems to be wide cross-cultural agreement as to what constitutes beauty in the human face. Whether this is down to symmetry or averageness is a matter of disagreement. Studies with infants, presumably too young to have been socialised, have shown that they consistently prefer the kinds of faces which adults judge to be "attractive" (Van Duuren, Kendell-Scott, & Stark, 2003; Langlois, Ritter, Roggman, & Vaughn, 1991; Samuels, Butterworth, Roberts, Grauper, & Hole, 1994; Samuels & Ewy, 1985; Slater, Bremner, Johnson, Sherwood, Hayes, & Brown, 2000) The judgement of beauty may be hard-wired in human beings, possibly fulfilling an evolutionary role.

The unattributed "seem to" is a dead giveaway that this is original research. And the logic of the "contradiction" is false: Even if "wide cross-culture agreement" means "total unanimity" (and a fiver says it doesn't) then just because everyone happens to hold a certain opinion, it doesn't follow that everyone must hold a certain opinion, or that anyone who doesn't hold that opinion is "wrong". And as for it fulfulling an evolutionary role - algoirthymic evolutionary processes are, by definition, the most contingent, relativistic operands in nature: if it works, it'll fly. There's no "objective reality" propping this up. And who says aesthetics has to be functional anyway?

Here's the question: I say Reubenesque fatsos are the most beautiful. You say Twiggyesque rake-like ones are. I say you're wrong. And so it goes on. We're bored: we need to settle the argument and move on. On what basis do we do that? Against what criteria? How, in other words, can you falsify the adage "there's no accounting for taste"? ElectricRay 23:01, 6 October 2006 (UTC)


This article seems informative but appears to be like an essay probably because it lacks enough citations! Trixie05 (talk) 09:10, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

It's like an essay because it tries to argue persuasively for contested points, rather than discussing them even-handedly. What's worse, the arguments it adduces are completely terrible, and actually descended at one point (until I went through with a razor just now) to the author calling feminists a bunch of jealous uggos. Not even joking. TiC (talk) 19:41, 2 March 2015 (UTC)